Alanna Poulos, 29, says that when two police officers and a paramedic showed up at her door in Belmont North while her husband and "best friend" Chris Poulos was out surfing at Dudley Beach "nothing even clicked".
"I apologised to them that I was already in my pyjamas," she said.
They explained her husband had been in an incident and a helicopter had taken him to Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.
"Apparently, he hit his head on a sandbank and was knocked unconscious. Three surfers dragged him to shore," Ms Poulos said. "They had thought he was dead."
The paramedics had called Ms Poulos' parents. Her mum stayed to mind the Poulos' two children, Hunter, 3, and Tyson, nine months, while Ms Poulos' father drove her to the Sydney hospital - where Ms Poulos has been ever since.
Mr Poulos was in an induced coma and sedated for five days until the Wednesday following the incident, which occurred on Friday, November 15.
Ms Poulos said when he awoke, it was the first time she had "felt happy for so many days".
"He was still him," she said. "He was still my husband and the man that I married."
Mr Poulos, who is 32 and has been the regional manager of Disability Services Australia since early 2018, says that due to his spinal injury he now has a "big journey ahead". However, he said he is hoping to "defy the odds" of his diagnosis: quadriplegia.
Mr Poulos was moved from Royal North Shore's intensive care unit to the spinal injury ward on Monday, and is looking to eventually undertake rehabilitation at Royal Rehab in Ryde.
"I can think, I can eat with support, I can move my biceps a little but I have no sensation in my fingers, or movement in my legs and no sensation from the stomach down," Mr Poulos said. "I'm a very determined person and I've got two young, beautiful children and an amazing wife who has stood by me the past two weeks.
"Ideally, I want to walk again. If that's likely no one really knows. But I want to be able to play with my kids and hold my wife and live the best life I can."
Mr Poulos said he wanted to send his gratitude to the surfers who pulled him out of the water, as well as the paramedics and hospital staff.
"Without you I wouldn't be here," he said.
The couple said they were "completely humbled" by those who had contributed to a GoFundMe fundraiser set up on their behalf, which has reached $90,000.
"The amount of people who have reached out from previous years, friends, support workers and colleagues, and left a message along the lines of how I have impacted their lives ... A lot of that stuff is part of what is keeping me going," Mr Poulos said.
Ms Polous said she had not yet looked into the financial implications of the diagnosis, saying "to be honest I don't even know where to start".
"We just want to make sure he gets the best care and gets the best chance to fight this," she said.
Take every moment for the opportunities in front of you, which is what I intend to do once I get as far into my recovery as I can.Chris Poulos
The couple both wanted to remind people to "hold onto their loved ones".
"Because tomorrow something can happen," Ms Poulos said. "They could have so easily have come to my door and told me he had passed away.
"Take a moment to kiss your wife, hug your kids and spend time with your friends," Mr Poulos said, "And take every moment for the opportunities in front of you, which is what I intend to do once I get as far into my recovery as I can."
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