29 Feb The Road to Recovery: Healing and Succeeding After A Major Injury
Many people that we treat at the Injury Care Center have suffered injuries sustained during car accidents. If you have been injured in a vehicle, it can be easy to feel like you have lost control or lost your way, but our injury care specialists can help you on your road to recovery.
If you are suffering after an accident, first it is important to note that you are not alone. More than six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 27% of all vehicle accidents result in nonfatal injuries. These injuries can cause immense pain or lead to permanent disabilities. Indeed, nearly three million drivers suffer injuries and about two million drivers suffer permanent injuries from car accidents each year.
While you are not alone, each story is different. Here we want to share with you some individual success stories that might help ease your emotional suffering and help set you on a path toward a successful recovery.
Michael’s Story: A Stricken Cyclist
On July 11, 2015, around 8:30 am, Michael was riding his bicycle near Fulshear, Texas. The town is relatively rural and located just outside Houston. Michael had traveled this exact route many times before as he trained to compete in the Ironman competition. It was a cool morning with a light breeze and Michael says he felt strong as he increased his speed down what he believed to be the carless road.
A blue minivan was also speeding up – the driver took a turn at roughly 30 miles per hour directly in front of the path of Michael’s bike.
Michael remembers yelling and attempting to move away from the car, but the collision still came. Michael remembers lowering his left shoulder to brace for the hit – like a football player. He suffered a direct impact. His bike was snapped in two pieces. His left shoulder and the left side of his body smashed into the panel of the van, he rolled across the front of the vehicle gathering glass as he did, and finally landed hard on the ground on the other side of the car. A man rushed to help – a former Army medic who was biking in the area; he stabilized Micheal until paramedics arrived.
Michael had broken nine ribs and fractured his left knee and left shoulder blade. His left lung collapsed; he had a concussion. Lacerations covered his left arm with the deepest cuts in my upper arm muscles. After a helicopter ride, he was admitted to Hermann Memorial Trauma Center near downtown Houston and was classified as a Level 2 Trauma patient.
From the moment of admission, his recovery began. Michael remembers that the time in the hospital and the immediate time after returning home his focus was simple — survive. The left side of his body was motionless as he was unable to move his leg or lift his arm.
Michael struggled to come to grips with his condition. The doctors, physical therapists, and nurses worked with him to build up strength with breathing exercises. \ He then began to be able to sit upright and get out of his bed. Michael struggled with not only the physical rehabilitation but the mental stresses, as well. He was diagnosed with acute post-traumatic stress and felt sad, depressed, and helpless. He joined a support group, which helped him recover.
18 months after the accident, Michael completed the Austin Half-Marathon. He struggled with cramping and pulsating rib pain and considered dropping out of the race, but he took one step at a time – thinking of all he had been through – and finished.
Jeff’s Story: The New Normal
On May 3, 2012, Jeff survived a near-fatal car accident when his truck was hit by another truck that failed to stop at a four-way flashing-red stoplight near his home. Jeff’s vehicle was forcibly pushed into, or rather from his description, “around” a concrete utility pole. Jeff suffered two impacts – the first when the trucks hit and the second when his truck careened into the utility pole. The second impact, caused Jeff to suffer a severe traumatic brain injury.
Jeff has little memory of the first few weeks of his recovery. His first real recollection is doctors and other medical professionals telling him to find his “new normal,” and he realized his life was forever changed due to the trauma. Jeff liked his “old” normal, though, so he refused to give up on the dreams and goals that he had set before the accident.
Filled with determination, he reached for the stars, but after a few months, what the doctors had offered was realized. The “normal” Jeff was accustomed to was not returning. Jeff was stuck with a heavy emotional load.
Working through his physical injuries and his brain injury required the help of friends and family. Jeff says, “when change inevitably comes, I think it’s important to know when to give up on what used to be and how to grab hold of what is now.”
Courtney’s Story: Roadside to Recovery
On November 11, 2016, Courtney was leaving work when her car broke down. It was between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm when she pulled to the side of the road to investigate her vehicle troubles. She was hit by a vehicle driving at highway speed – around 60 miles per hour.
One witness who called 911 said that she watched the driver cross the fog line, or white line, and hit Courtney and her car. When paramedics arrived, Courtney was transported to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois. Her injuries included a C2 fracture, T and L fractures in her back, as well as two broken fingers, a broken left shin bone, and a severely injured right hip and right knee.
Courtney has endured multiple surgeries and endless hours of rehabilitation. She has said that recovery is one of the hardest things she has ever done. She moved from wheelchair to walker to crutches and is making the most of her medical team’s support system and her family’s devotion to helping her succeed.
Contact the Injury Care Center
If you have been injured in a car accident, the doctors and staff at the Injury Care Center are here to help. We want to make sure that your recovery is individualized and effective. Our team embraces many different methodologies and our number one goal is to provide excellent patient-centered care. Reach out to us today.