ROBBINSDALE, Minn. (WCCO) — When his squad skidded off an icy road, smashing head-on into a tree, Lisabeth Mackall remembers the dreaded visit to the family’s home.
“One of the worst things any law enforcement family can face is the knock on the door at three-o’clock in the morning, with an officer standing on the other side of the glass saying there’s been an accident,” Lisabeth said.
Ever since that traumatic morning, Lisabeth’s husband, Savage police officer Frank Mackall, has spent the past 23 days at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. He was airlifted to North in critical condition after suffering severe head trauma in the accident.
“It was a bad accident, this is a bad injury, he has a severe head trauma,” Lisabeth said.
Only recently was officer Mackall taken off sedation that controlled brain swelling. Now he begins the slow grind of occupational, physical and speech therapies.
From the simple everyday tasks involving fine motor skills, to regaining the strength missing from his right side, Mackall is now on the road to recovery.
Occupational therapist Cathy Bussler works with similar brain injury patients and says the process begins with a baseline set of skills. From there, each patient’s therapies is tailored to regaining the mental and physical skills that were lost due to the injury.
“We do three hours a day of all three of the therapies together and it’s amazing to see the changes,” Bussler said.
Lisabeth agrees, adding, “It is amazing where he’s at — he’s making huge leaps and gains.”
To show support for the injured officer, police officers from around the country have sent department patches to Mackall’s hospital room. Frank’s Caring Bridge site is swamped with well wishes and prayers from thousands more people.
While it’s much too early to predict any long-term recovery, Mackall’s wife knows he’ll pour his heart into that, just as he did his policing.
“His outside appearance is great to see, great for the kids to see that. Obviously we have a long way to go in his recovery, however,” Lisabeth said.
To visit Frank Mackall’s Caring Bridge site click here.