Army veteran Lee Hernandez, 47, suffers from a debilitating stroke condition that has been deemed terminal after three brain surgeries were unable to pinpoint the cause. All his doctors can do to help is make him more comfortable in hospice care. But Hernandez does have one dying wish: to hear from you.
His wife, Ernestine, learned that text messages and phone calls make her husband, who spent 18 years in the Army and did a tour in Iraq, light up.
Lee, who is being cared for at a hospital in New Braunfels, Texas, asked his wife to hold onto his phone “in case someone calls,” but after his phone was silent for two hours, he said “I guess no one wants to talk to me.”
Hearing that, Ernestine new she had to act.
“It broke my heart,” Ernestine told AZCentral. His “speech is not very well, so many people didn’t take much interest or want to talk to him.”
So she reached out to Caregivers of Wounded Warriors, an advocacy group for caregivers, and the Arizona Veterans Forum posted his wish to Facebook, along with his phone number.
“A lot of people call to pray with him,” Ernestine said. “It really uplifts him.”
Though the strokes have left him blind, Lee brightens up when Ernestine reads messages and cards to him.
Ernestine wants people to continue to call or text Lee. She said that it’s best to reach out between 2 and 6 p.m. Central Time. The number is (210) 632-6778.
Though he is in a lot of pain most days, Lee tries to answer the phone each time it rings.
Lee has been dealing with the strokes for five years, but has beaten the odds so far, according to Ernestine. Though she said he hit “rock bottom” a year ago, “his strong will keeps him going.”
“The experience is very painful, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Ernestine said.