Miracle in Progress

He emerged as the only miracle in the Sago Mine disaster, and that's how doctors are describing his recovery so far: a miracle.

Randy McCloy is no longer connected to medical machines, he can eat on his own, and he even speaks to his wife, family and medical staff.

"I've never thought I would be that excited about one word he'd say," said his wife, Anna, in Thursday's edition of USA Today. "It's like having your baby say their first word."

Randy undergoes two hours of physical therapy and one hour of speech therapy each day. It's therapy needed after the 26-year-old spent more than 42 hours in a West Virginia mine polluted with carbon monoxide. He suffered kidney, lung, liver and heart damage. But doctors say his recovery has been remarkable.

"Those organs, for the most part, have recuperated," said Russ Biundo, medical director of HealthSouth MountainView Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, where McCloy is recovering.

"He's an extremely strong young man," Biundo said. "It's a miracle he survived, no doubt about it. I've never seen anything like this, and we deal with brain injuries every day."

Anna has barely left her husband's side since he was rescued from the mine last month. She has carefully charted every moment of his progress. She told USA Today she also came across a heart-wrenching letter that shed light on the harrowing moments after the mine explosion.

Found in the lunchbox of one of the 12 miners who died in the blast was a note Randy had left for Anna and their two children. A few of the other miners left notes as well, some scribbled with words trailing off the paper. But Randy's was different.

Anna said that Randy's note was written on the front and back of a small, lined piece of paper and that the writing was strong and steady.

"He wasn't worried about himself," she said. "He was worried about how his wife and kids were going to feel." She said he signed the letter "Daddy."

But she's keeping some of the more personal passages to herself.

"I cried when I read it," Anna said. "We used to write love letters in school. This was the best love letter I've gotten from him."