LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – Sally Strelecki has overcome long odds after a tragedy in a Centennial apartment at the beginning of the month. She has somehow survived.
“I have to give her a tremendous amount of credit for doing what she did to get to the stage that she’s at now. It was not an easy or simple path by any means,” said Nick Osano.
Osano was with Strelecki when a gunshot from what police say was a domestic incident next door came through the wall, striking the 27-year-old in the head on Oct. 2.
Survival was questionable.
“These types of things statistically don’t happen. And you know my faith in her, her ability, her spirit, really went a long way in keeping myself afloat as well.”
Osano has been Strelecki’s boyfriend for more than a half dozen years. More than a week ago, the family was having discussions about ending life support. But Strelecki has pulled through. Slowly. As doctors felt they could peel back the life-saving measures, Strelecki seemed to progress. Then last week, Strelecki regained consciousness.
“When she first woke up the very first thing that she told the nurses was that she wanted to see Niyah. To me, that really filled me with a lot of joy just knowing 1) that she remembered her, 2) that that spirit of Sally is still within her.”
Osano has remained hopeful about her ability to overcome significant medical issues.
“I was faced with, you know, some incredibly hard decisions over the period of this, as we all were as a family. The one thing that really brought me a little bit of peace was the fact that I kind of put myself in her shoes. If this was me would she … ever consider giving up?”
The reality is, her medical situation remains very serious and there may be difficult times ahead.
“And that’s something that we’re preparing for as well,” Osano said. “There aren’t a whole lot of people out there that sustain this type of injury and walk away without a scratch, and by no means is that what we’re expecting.”
Strelecki’s mother Kay Graham is also thankful for the recovery, yet wary of the prognosis.
“I mean, it’s a gunshot wound to the head. … I’ve been told she’s blind.”
There’s a possibility of regaining some of the vision someday, but it is by no means certain. Strelecki’s mother was amazed that her daughter was able to communicate during a visit on Friday.
“I fell back in and hit the monitor. It was such a shock, (I) almost fell to the ground. She was saying a sentence or two.”
In a whispering voice she talked with her mother.
“I mean, going back to Oct. 2, when she was shot, till last Friday hearing her say, ‘Mom I love you, I miss you,’ telling her sisters the same, it just blows you away that she could be telling us that. But she’s got a long way, a long, long way to go.”
Strelecki also told her mother she wanted to get out of the hospital.
Still to be established will be her abilities cognitively, as well as physically.
“I think the most surprising thing this point is the fact that her mental capabilities are pretty much surpassing the physical capabilities,” said Osano. “You know, being in bed for three weeks and have the atrophy happen.”
But he says each day is a step forward. Osano returned to work for the first time Monday.
“I kind of just try to keep taking my steps forward, you know approaching new day fresh, just like Sally is.”
He remains thankful for all the help that day and since.
“The 911 operator gave me very clear instructions as to how I could help, and in that time that’s all I can think about.”
Soon first responders arrived.
“The first responders from the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office, the paramedics the fire department that were first on scene that did everything they needed to do to give her the opportunity to be here today. … I just have to extend from the deepest my heart gratitude towards the hospital staff that have been working with her, caring for her.
“They have been so deeply invested into her well-being that I have all the faith in the world in them and just am forever grateful to who they are, and what they’ve done for us.”