by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:
ATLANTA - Doctors continue to see positive signs of improvement in a Winder toddler seriously injured at the peak of Hurricane Sandy.
On Tuesday, doctors at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egelston believe Tripp will survive his critical brain injury.
Bill and Stacy Halstead said it was first definitive information doctors had given them in more than a week.
"(I had) tears of joy. I told the doctor, 'If you don't want a big hug, you better leave the room right away,'" Bill Halstead said.
Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh said Wednesday was the first time parents have really smiled when they spoke about Tripp. The next day, doctors removed his breathing tube, and he is now breathing on his own. Doctors said if he gets through the next 12 hours, he should be OK. If complications arise, they will reassess his condition.
The Halsteads told Kavanaugh they are no longer are living hour by hour, but day by day.
Bill Halstead also said Wednesday he saw his son open his eyes for the first time since the injury.
"It was just a sliver, but you could see his eyes. And I don't know, that's awesome just to see those beautiful blue eyes opening back up," Bill Halstead said.
The family said tough times are still ahead.
"He'll have to learn to eat and walk and talk. They don't know how severe the brain damage is. So they don't know if he'll wake up and know us or not," Stacey Halstead said.
Stacy said doctors won't know that for a couple weeks. Beyond that, there are broad range of possibilities.
"It's a nice spectrum to have. It's not like we know that he'd only be half of what he was. He could be potentially a 100 percent recovered or close to that," Bill Halstead.
In the meantime, they are encouraged by little things every day and fueled by the prayers of support that continue to pour in.