Improving the quality of life with educational and recreational opportunities for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

On June 16, 2022, I was riding my e-bike to work, something that I do daily.  At the intersection of W 50th and Detroit, someone ran a stop sign and ran into me, causing my spinal cord injury.  After my acute care at MetroHealth Main Campus Hospital, I was transferred to the Rehabilitation Facility at the Old Brooklyn Campus.  I cannot speak highly enough about the treatment and care I received during my time in the rehabilitation program.  I have formed lifelong friendships with the therapists that I have worked with.  

My OT, Darcy, did a lot of mental work with me as well as occupational therapy and helped me form goals.  I wouldn’t be as far as I am today without her help.  I’ve always been a go-getter and highly motivated, but when trauma strikes, you don’t really know where to start in putting your life back together.  My relationship with my OT was instrumental in shaping my positive outlook and direction in life.  

Since my injury, I have had a few medical issues that keep me from really living the life that I know I can.  I’m preparing for my 3rd surgery since my accident, hoping that it solves the sensory deficits I began experiencing.  I moved out of the skilled nursing and into my own condo in less than a month of my injury and back to work within 7 ½ months of my injury.  I was excited about how well I was doing, and my condo was being modified to provide me with the most independence.

Unfortunately, because of the health issues that I have experienced over the last year and a half, my job had to let me go.  I know it’s not personal, and I am already set up with OOD and a support team at MetroHealth to obtain the skills and training that I need to find another career.  The support that I have received and continue to receive is instrumental in my overall progress. I am hopeful that I will find another job with the support that I have. 

Because I was able to stay in outpatient therapy for as long as I did and with support from my daughter and other family members, I was never alone when going through these different obstacles.  It helps to know that I can talk things out with a support team and that I have family and friends in my life who will help me out when I’m in need.  Knowing I have the support I do helps me remain positive and hopeful that I will make it through whatever obstacle comes across my path.

Dr. Wilson and Blake at MetroHealth have also been key support persons along my journey.  Dr. Wilson is very knowledgeable and shows that he has the best interest of each patient on his mind.  If I have to send him a MyChart message, he is prompt with an answer and advocates for his patients.  Blake is helping me in the Assisted Living Technology (ALT) Lab to discover new and helpful technologies and equipment that will improve the quality of my life.  I would love to get back into nature and onto hiking trails. Blake is assisting me in figuring out what can help me do that.  As I have mentioned before, finding a support system is instrumental in living life after a spinal cord injury.

My biggest piece of advice for anyone is to maintain your focus and motivation.  Gaining independence in any way promotes growth in your life. Continue your education by asking questions to those living with spinal cord injuries and other professionals in the space.  Find a support system if you don’t already have one and lean on them to help. 

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