Shimeaka Hodges spent her 39th birthday Thursday near the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
But instead of sitting beachside the Bakersfield resident has been praying for her husband Brian in Blue Medical Net Hospital — Cabo San Lucas.
Brian Hodges, 36, remained in critical condition Thursday after suffering a severe head injury and broken neck in a zip-lining accident Sunday.
Shimeaka Hodges watched her husband, whom she has known since age 17 and been married to for about a year, crash into a cliff at Wild Canyon Adventures.
“My heart was beating out of my chest,” she said in a phone interview.
“I was helpless. I felt hopeless, and I panicked,” she added. “I didn’t know what to do.
“All I could do was pray.”
In the days since the accident, her time has been split between spending as much time with her husband as possible and trying to get their medical insurers in the United States to pay medical costs up front instead of partly reimbursing them later.
Brian is employed by KS Industries, LP; Shimeaka is a physician’s assistant with Omni Family Health.
Enjoli and Calvin Black, who accompanied the Hodges on the trip, are coordinating fundraising efforts in Bakersfield to help their friends foot a more than $90,000 medical bill that grows by $7,000 a day.
They expect an additional tab of $30,000 to transport Brian back to Bakersfield.
The Blacks had raised slightly more than $29,900 of a $100,000 fundraising goal by Thursday.
“We have quite a bit of community support,” Enjoli Black said.
She did not attend the zip-lining excursion where Brian Hodges was injured, but her husband did.
Calvin Black said his friend crashed during the last zip line of an eight-course zip line excursion.
Black rode the eighth zip line first.
His two sons — 10-year-old Calvin and 9-year-old Cameron — came next.
Then, Black’s cousin — Xavier Upshaw — crossed the canyon, and Shimeaka Hodges followed.
The path they crossed was 295 feet high with a cliff face on the left at the zip line terminus.
Despite gusts of a crosswind, each person in the party successfully journeyed from the starting point across a 2,673-foot route, reaching speeds of nearly 40 mph before stopping on a platform at the zip line’s end.
There they waited for Brian Hodges, who wore a helmet, and, for added support, a four-point harness.
He started to make his way across the canyon, but there was a problem. As he traveled the route he ended up nearly sideways before slamming into the cliff face.
Calvin Black said the adults had been waiting on the platform for Hodges and saw him hit the cliff.
Shimeaka was screaming, “my baby, my baby, my husband,” Black said.
A Wild Canyon worker used the zip line and attached supports to pull Hodges near the platform, where Black helped lower him to safety.
Hodges was rushed to the hospital, where doctors put him in a medically induced coma Sunday to prevent his brain from swelling.
They reduced his level of sedation to check motor skills Wednesday.
He could wiggle his fingers and toes, and fluttered his eyes when his mother — who flew in from Bakersfield with her two sisters — spoke to him.
They were good signs, Enjoli Black said.
And Brian was stable Thursday. Shimeaka said she was “holding up.”
She reads her husband Bible verses daily and prays.
“He’s my one and only love,” she said.