They hoped for a miracle, and they may just have gotten it.
The family of the man hit by a wheel at the Fonda Speedway says he is improving.
Just four days ago, they gathered at Albany Medical Center to say goodbye to David Buanno, 69, and take him off life support. His neck had been broken when a wheel flew off a car and struck him, and it appeared he wouldn’t make it.
But when relatives walked into the intensive care unit Monday, they were shocked to find him conscious and talking coherently. Peter Buanno said his brother had a one-word answer when they explained doctors saw no way to help him and that he was going to die.
Around his breathing tube, David Buanno said, “Bullshit.”
On Wednesday night, they authorized spinal surgery. Doctors warned it would take three hours or more.
“He came out after two hours. He was like jumping for joy,” Peter Buanno said. “He was so happy at how well it had gone.”
Now, he said, doctors have offered a much better prognosis.
While David Buanno is still paralyzed, they believe he will be able to breathe on his own. He can already move his shoulders, and as swelling recedes, he could get more movement back.
“They’re saying it’s much better than they had thought,” Peter Buanno said. “He already said a few words today.”
And he’s made it clear he plans to fight for life.
“He’s as stubborn as I don’t know what,” Buanno said.
He added that his brother was in good shape, particularly for a man who will turn 70 in December. Just before the accident, he spent days helping Peter bale hay.
“He’s tough as an ox,” Buanno said.
There’s still a tough road ahead. Because David Buanno was positioned on one side for the surgery, one of his lungs collapsed.
“So that was a setback,” Peter Buanno said. “And there will probably be more.”
He said he’s been touched by the hopes and prayers of the stock-car racing community.
“Keep praying,” he said. “It seemed to have worked so far.”