I was in a motor vehicle collision where I sustained a right femur fracture and acetabulum fracture (hip fracture), including microfractures throughout my rib cage.
When did this injury occur?
How long was the recovery process?
Approximately two years
What provided you the motivation and drive to press on through the difficult times after sustaining the injury?
My motivation came from setting small goals for myself that I could realistically accomplish. I knew if I only focused on the ultimate goal of getting back to my baseline, it would create nothing but frustration. My first goal I remember making for myself was being able to simply lift my leg off the floor when I stood up. It took me two days to accomplish that task, but when I finally was able to do it, it gave me the motivation to continue onto the next goal…and the next…and the next. Two years later came and I set the goal to sit Indian-style. After that task was accomplished, which took me weeks, I suddenly realized I was back to my baseline.
How did the injury you sustained shape your character in who you are today?
I have been a Registered Nurse at The University of Kansas Hospital going on ten years, and this was the first time I had been an actual patient since I was in grade school. After my injury, I was forced into that vulnerable state that patients are often in, that state you learn about in nursing school but never know what it truly feels like until you experience it for yourself. I could not do the things for myself that I normally could do, which forced me depend on someone else, and in turn made me feel guilty and frustrated. After being that patient, it left me with a greater sense of empathy and compassion for the patients I care for, especially for patients with limited mobility or patients in pain. If it wasn’t for my injury and my personal experience, I do not believe I would be able to take care of my patients as well as I am today. I feel as if in general I am a more compassionate person.
Since the injury, how has life changed for you?
Before my collision, I was considered obese. I ate whatever sounded good, and my only form of exercise was working as a floor nurse and walking DOWN the stairs instead of taking the elevator. When Dr. Heddings told me before I went into surgery that I may never be able run again, I laughed. The last time I ran was probably a decade ago! However, without Dr. Heddings realizing it, that statement had a profound impact on me. I have never been told I could not do something. A switch flipped in my head. I told myself that I was going to run again someday, and I meant it. I immediately started eating healthier and focusing on portion control. Three months after surgery, I started physical therapy and was determined to figure out what exercises I could and could not do. I lost 40 pounds within the first year and no longer was in the obese category.