GILBERT, Ariz. -- Shelli Middleton can't stop looking at her 15-year-old son, Cody. The reason? She's just so happy to have him home and on the mend.
Last month Cody complained of feeling feverish and having a sore throat. A few days after he was diagnosed with mononucleosis, Cody started feeling much worse and was found to be suffering from viral encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain. Within days, the quarterback of the junior-varsity football team at Gilbert High School had slipped into a coma.
Middleton and her three other sons kept constant vigil at Cody's hospital bed, fearing the worst but praying for the best. And they weren't alone.
Jared Baker, one of Cody's football coaches, came to the hospital every day and teammates, friends and even complete strangers began praying for the teen and his family.
Those prayers, Middleton says, were answered.
Last week, Cody opened his eyes for the first time since falling into the coma's darkness. After that, he was able to squeeze his mom's hand, laugh and begin talking again.
Middleton says it was indeed a miracle brought on by the prayers of so many big-hearted people As he now plans on returning to school part time as early as next Monday, Cody agrees.
"It was all the prayers and support," he said. "Now I want to get back to being myself again, get strong, start lifting weights."
"But I'm going to baby him for a while and keep him on a short leash," mom quickly added.
"Maybe for a day or two." laughed the tough teen who is thankful to a lot of people who did a lot of praying.
When Cody goes back to school, he'll start out with partial days and build from there as he regains his strength.