Howard Spivey has experienced more than his fair share of recent medical struggles.

The retired educator and cabinetmaker said a longtime friend — and someone Wetumpka residents are quite familiar with — gave him something Saturday many take for granted: a haircut.

Spivey has not been outside the walls of medical facilities since October and hasn’t had the opportunity to visit a barber.

“I mentioned to a friend who was visiting me I needed a haircut,” he said. “Then this past Saturday the mayor (Jerry Willis, who is also a barber) showed up.”

Spivey said the friendship he and the mayor share go back 40 years.

“That was just what I needed,” he said.

Spivey is at a local rehab facility where he said he is gaining his strength.

“I’m in good spirits,” he said. “I took 120 steps today.”

He said 11 days ago he was trying to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other.

“It’s not easy,” he said. “I lost all my strength, but since I got here I’m developing my muscles.

He said the doctors he’s been in contact with do not know what caused him to become ill and bedridden.

“I’ve been in a hospital for nine months,” he said. “I fell out of bed one night. My son told me to go to the doctor. The next morning, I got in my truck and went to the doctor.”

He said his doctor called an ambulance to take him to the hospital.

At one point in the journey, Spivey was in a coma for 10 days.

“They called my kids and told them I would not live through the night,” he said. “The morning came and I woke up. The doctor said he’s not supposed to wake up.” 

Spivey said the medical staff at the rehab facility have no timeline for him going home.

“They want me to walk independently of a walker at least 100 yards,” he said.

Spivey said the doctors cannot diagnose what is going on in his body.

“No doctor has ever told me what is wrong,” he said. “I’ve fell a lot of times. They cannot tell me what is wrong with me so they started cutting me open.” 

While Spivey has no plans to go back to work full time, he said he is certainly looking forward to the day when gets to return to his life.

“I enjoy what I do, if I can get well,” he said.