“I’m OK,” said Sparkman, 29, of Canton. “Every day is a battle, but making it alive to the hospital was the biggest thing.”
Once he made it to Kennestone on April 29, the day FedEx worker Geddy Kramer, 19, of Acworth, shot him in the abdomen at the company’s sorting facility, Sparkman said he was in good hands.
That day, Kramer shot five others at a warehouse on the property and then shot and killed himself.
The others injured at the scene have since been released from the hospital.
The gunshot to Sparkman’s stomach punctured his intestines, so he needed surgeries to reconstruct those organs.
He said Friday his intestines are not fully healed, so he cannot eat anything and has to get nutrients through IV tubes in his arms.
Sparkman reconnected with nurses at the event like they were family, giving them hugs and updating them on how he was feeling.
He watched the awards ceremony while holding hands with his wife, Jamie Sparkman, waiting to honor the team of nurses who took care of him for nearly three months in the hospital. Those nurses received the hospital’s “Shining Star” award.
The awards go to nurses on staff who “do extraordinary things to make a patient’s stay unique,” said Monte Wilson, chief operating officer at Kennestone.
The Sparkmans described their one-year anniversary May 25, which they were forced to celebrate in the hospital while Christopher Sparkman was in the intensive care unit.
Many nurses at the hospital worked together to create a romantic evening for the couple complete with electric candles, a steak dinner and a view of the sunset.
“It was perfect,” Jamie Sparkman said about the night.
Christopher Sparkman said he wasn’t going to let his stay in the hospital ruin his romantic evening because “you only get one first,” he said. So, he asked nurses to help him set up the night.
Tiffany Cory, a registered nurse on staff, said she and other nurses cleared out an empty office to move Christopher Sparkman’s bed up to a dinner table set for two.
“He was very detailed on what he wanted,” Cory said. “We were just his puppets.”
Kevin Rhoddback, who was the assistant nurse manager of the team caring for Christopher Sparkman, said everyone was willing to help the couple because of their compelling personalities.
“He is such an amazing person,” Rhoddback said. “Their faith in each other and their faith in God was incredible.”
Wilson commended Christopher Sparkman during the presentation of the award.
“You are a testament of your strong will — that you’re still here,” Wilson said.
Christopher Sparkman said he is thankful for everyone who has followed his story and prayed for him.
“It’s wonderful. We’ve heard stories from all over the world from people who have supported us,” Christopher Sparkman said.
Jamie Sparkman added the couple has tried to keep a positive view on his recovery.
Christopher Sparkman has been out of the hospital and living at home for a month, and he plans to return for more surgeries in late December or early January, he said.
Christopher Sparkman said he didn’t know yet what his plans for the future would be, but he might return to the military, where he was previously trained as an air traffic controller.
Jamie Sparkman said life is much better now that her husband is at home, and the two continue their faith in God to make it through each day.
“We don’t feel we’ve been picked on, we feel we’ve been picked out,” Jamie Sparkman said.