The road to recovery

Published 1:21 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chad and Maja Iverson relax on their deck Tuesday afternoon near Rose Creek. Maja is recovering from a severe head injury. A benefit for her will be held this Sunday in Austin. Matt Peterson/ — Matt Peterson/

Benefit scheduled for injured Rose Creek woman

Tuesday — a peaceful one with her chickens and geese milling around the backyard — was better than most of Maja Iverson’s days during the past two months. Still, it was far from perfect or the way things used to be.

Maja, 26, of Rose Creek, was struck in the head by a stray .22 caliber bullet during an accident at her home on June 1. The following two months, to say the least, have been hellish.

“I’ve been better,” Maja said, with an obvious sense of sarcasm. Most in her position would hardly retain that trait. Perhaps home, her chickens, her favorite spot on the patio offered some solace.

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For 56 days, Maja lay in St. Marys hospital in Rochester. The first few of them were grim, as Maja was in a coma. Her husband, Chad Iverson, was uncertain. He spent every day at the hospital, slept there and only came home several times.

“They gave her a 20 percent chance of surviving the surgery,” Chad said about doctors’ predictions.

Doctors also predicted her left side would be plegic, she would have no memory and minimal senses, even blindness. “She had all these things that were piled up against her,” Chad said.

Those outlooks have changed. There was a day when Maja completely turned a corner, Chad said. The light switch turned on.

Maja is regaining her motor skills, remembers things and speaks as clearly as anyone. Doctors said she might not be able to walk. With help, she can now do that, too. In a year, she may be able to walk by herself.

“I think it’s going better than I thought it would,” Maja said about her recovery.

On the other end of the spectrum, there has been no shortage of support. Maja is fully aware of that.

“It’s amazing that so many people care and are willing to help out,” she said.

Even people who don’t know the Iversons have offered their condolences.

“We were just getting bombarded with phone calls and text messages; at that time, I just shut my phone off,” Chad said, and added “I would just like to tell everyone, friends and family, people we don’t even know, just thanks for everything you’ve done.”

Maja’s relatives and friends started a Caring Bridge web page — almost immediately after the accident. And for nearly a month, a committee of family and friends of Maja and Chad have organized a much-needed benefit for the couple as medical bills have reached nearly three-quarters of a million dollars. Maja who now goes through therapy several times a week, has another surgery awaiting, as well.

“Everything is getting overwhelming as far as cost,” Chad said.

The benefit — scheduled for 1 to 9 p.m. this Sunday, Aug. 19 at the Holiday Inn Ballroom — may alleviate some of those costs. For Maja, it may also pacify some of the situation. She won’t be surrounded by curtains and doctors or the noise of machines — just the sound of good music, the voices of friends and family and the comfort of a good time.

“I’m just looking forward to seeing everyone that supported us through this,” Maja said.