I was able to WALK away from a 72 foot fall almost untouched last June.
I have no recollection of anything that happened on the day of or the day before my fall. I woke up in the ICU at the hospital on June 1, 2014, but do not remember or know how long it took for me to gain consciousness. I know it was quick –probably less than 24 hours. I had a tube down my throat to help with breathing and was put in a neck brace that I later ripped off and threw across the room. The doctors were never worried about a coma or even a concussion. I slightly remember being very confused about why I was even there. I would have to ask my parents multiple times a day what had happened. It turned out that I survived falling 11 stories, which ended up being about 72 feet, off of my now ex-boyfriend’s apartment building. I was very drunk the night this happened, I had been at a wedding, and had also taken a few Xanax (mixing Xanax with alcohol was something I had never done before) earlier that day to help with some anxiety.
The injuries I sustained from this were the best possible injuries anyone could hope for in this situation. I broke both of my femurs, one was an open fracture, meaning it went through the skin and the other poked a hole through the tissue but did not make it through the skin. It did leave a little indent on my thigh but things could have been a lot worse. I broke both of my feet and my right ankle very badly. My right foot was put in an external fixator, which looks a lot like something out of a sci fi movie. My legs were in casts and one day when the nurse was changing the cast I saw the external fixator and was extremely surprised that is was there. I had a closed head injury and that was the only internal damage. I have fully recovered from all of the injuries and I know how lucky I am to have survived this all with a full recovery. A year later I only have two scars (one on my thigh and one on my ankle) to show for all of this, but don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of emotional scarring that I am dealing with.
Throughout of this all I was somehow able to keep my sense of humor. For a while, I guess I thought I was in a 5 star hotel. I told my friend Stef during one of her visits that “I had requested Champagne from room service hours ago for us.”
I was discharged from the hospital on July 3, 2014. I hit physical therapy very hard, going 3 times a week. I went from a wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane to nothing at all by the end of that August 2014.
. The rate at which I healed was amazing and nothing short of miraculous. I learned that if you have a brain injury it helps bones grow faster. This helped my legs heal so quickly. Less than a year later I am now able to run (only about mile) and go to yoga. I have worked harder than I’ve ever worked at anything in my whole life to get where I am today. I was getting up at 7 am 3 times a week to go to physical therapy before I had to be at work, which started at 9 am. It wasn’t always easy but I knew it was the only way I’d be able to rebuild the muscle I had lost to be able to walk normally again.
My determination to be able to walk normally and start my life again was where I got most of my strength from. I had a metal plate in my right foot that wasn’t allowing me to walk without a limp. No amount of physical therapy was going to fix this. I decided to get surgery (this was my 4th) after a woman commented on how I was walking in the Midway-Chicago airport last October. She stopped me and said that “there was hope for me to walk normally again and that she could help me.” I was extremely insulted by this and told her I already had a physical therapist. I know she was just trying to help but she didn’t know everything I had overcome in those past few months
Things are slowly coming back together for me after a year of recovery. My life will never be like it was before my accident. I do not drink anymore and have no need to take Xanax. DO NOT MIX THESE EVER! Sometimes I think that this all happened to give me the reality check that I desperately needed. Before this all happened I was a carefree, party girl in her late 20s who went out most weekends and sometimes partook in Sunday Fundays.
I went to a Big 10 School for undergrad (MSU) and was in a sorority. Weekend partying became the norm for me and still was almost 10 years later. Now I go to bed around 10pm on the weekends and too much social activity really exhausts me. It has taken me a while to accept that my new life, post-accident, has to be this way. I want to take advantage of my second shot at life and live it the best way possible. I am constantly working on myself and feel that I am slowly becoming the best version that I can be.
Before all of this happened, I never considered myself a “strong” person. I had never had surgery or had been in the hospital. I definitely saw how strong I was throughout all of this. You really don’t know what you are capable of until you have no other choice but to get through it. When life doesn’t go as expected, you have no choice but to adapt, and that is what I did (and am still doing) to get through this new version of my life. I am making it a point not to let my past define my future. Life rarely goes as planned and that is OK. If you would have told me this time last year that I would go through all of this, and prevail, I wouldn’t have believed it.