What injury did you sustain?
On Sept. 15, 2010, I hydroplaned on Hwy 59 between Ottawa and Lawrence KS which resulted in a severe head-on car crash. I had to be cut out of my Nissan Sentra. Thankfully, there were no fatalities. I broke both my left and right femur bones, and my left forearm. I now have a metal rod and multiple pins in my right knee/leg; two metal plates and over 18 pins in my left knee/leg as well as metal plates and pins in my left arm.
When did this injury occur?
Sept. 15, 2010
How long was the recovery process?
Recovery is still continuing after 1 year
What provided you the motivation and drive to press on through the difficult times after sustaining the injury?
First and foremost, my strong faith in God provided a calming peace during the minutes immediately after my accident. I believe that Angels were watching over me and were protecting me from any “serious” injuries. Later, this was re-affirmed after Dr. Heddings shared my femur injuries usually had only a 50% survival rate… My family (husband + 13 yr daughter and 10 yr Boy/Girl Twins) gave me the motivation and desire to fight and to survive. I had amazing support from my brother & sister-in-law, my cousins, aunts & uncle,in-laws, my amazing co-workers in Ottawa and so many of my friends, near and far. They were so helpful bringing in meals for my family while I was in KU Med for over 3 weeks and continued during the 7 weeks I spent at Sweet Life Skilled Nursing facility going thru daily PT. God is so faithful and heard the all of our prayers. I still will sometimes have flashbacks of the accident, the thought I must get out of the car, but was unable to move, seeing the bones exposed in my left arm, and feeling pain in both knees while trapped in the car. I remember the “hero’s” who came to my assistance, calmly talking to me, ensuring I kept still while waiting for the EMT’s. My co-workers laugh with me as I was more concerned about letting them know what had happened than calling my sleeping husband. Even during the intense PT sessions, screaming into a pillow and watching Let’s Make A Deal, we were able to find humor as I “laughed and/or whimpered”. I strongly believe keeping a positive, “just do it” attitude helped push me, knowing that in order to be able to do Boy Scout events with my son, bike with my daughters, or complete daily tasks, I had to work through the pain to reach full flexibility.
How did the injury you sustained shape your character in who you are today?
I am much more cautious driving on rain slick roads at Highway speeds. A car can hydroplane in an instant. Likewise, I’m very observant of other drivers (& my own driving) on two lane highways or in construction zones, with temporary road surfaces. I continue to appreciate each day that God has blessed me. It was very humbling to be completely dependent on others during the period of time that I was not allowed or able to walk or put weight on my legs. Words can not express the gratitude I feel towards all of my doctors and nurses who cared for me during my recovery process. I feel extremely blessed.
Since the injury, how has life changed for you?
I was finally able to return home 10 weeks after the accident. I initially worked part time from home as I built up my endurance and went to PT daily. I was finally able to return to work FT after 8 months. I still must continue to do exercises at home to build/maintain my flexibility. I still have not reached full MMI, 13 months after my accident. It is extremely painful to push my left leg to the near zero hyper-extension point. My knees and muscles are stiff in the morning and late in the evening if I have walked or stood most of the day. I still have a slight limp as I walk, due primarily to my left leg I think. However, I have progressed so much over the past year. I would highly recommend KU Med and encourage individuals with this type of trauma injury to not give up, and to push through the pain. Recovery is possible. God is so faithful! He will give you strength to make it through, whatever you may face!