We are back for another edition of the Laugh Always Spotlight! I am excited to keep meeting people who are willing to share their stories with the world in hopes of providing inspiration to readers out there! Hopefully you can relate to one of these stories! Let me introduce you to Amber! Sustaining an injury that makes your life completely different is a mental challenge in itself. Needing to depend on people to do the simplest of tasks is very challenging. Here is Amber’s story.
My journey started on August 4, 2017. At work as a summer camp teacher for a preschool, I broke my left tibial plateau and changed my life forever. Before my injury, I was a very active, mostly happy person. My husband and I loved to go hiking, explore Richmond and attend festivals. I swam every weekday and ran every other day. At work, I engaged with my students by playing games and engrossing myself in their activities. I loved to cook and clean and care of my house. All of that changed on a field trip at work to the basketball gym.
The field trip went great! The children had a blast running drills, playing games and navigating an obstacle course. To wrap up our trip, we played a game of Sharks and Minnows where the teachers were the sharks and the students were the minnows. As I turned to catch a little minnow, my knee “gave out” when I turned wrong and I fell hard onto the floor. My body immediately went into shock. I could not cry or breathe or ask for help. It took a few minutes for anyone to notice that I was down for the count. I could not stand or put any amount of weight on my left leg. In order to not scare our students, they were quickly ushered onto the busses while we contacted my job, husband and brother-in-law. Then, I had to be carried out of the basketball gym by two men and put into a car, on my way back to work to access my situation. It was immediately determined that I needed to go to the hospital.
At the hospital with my brother-in-law in tow, the pain started to worsen as we found out that I had broken my tibial plateau. That’s right friends, I sustained an injury most common to pro athletes and car accident victims while running with kids at work. I spent four days in the hospital while doctors accessed my pain and surgeons decided when I would have surgery to fix the bone. During this time, my anxiety kicked in to the point that my heart rate would not go below 120 and my oxygen levels would not stabilize. This was the first time I have spent any amount of time in a hospital and was my first major injury. I was eventually sent home with a brace and pain meds, ordered to stay on bed rest until I would report to a different hospital on the 22 of August for surgery.
During my time on bed rest, I did not do well. Before my injury I was active and very independent. After my injury, I had to rely on my brother-in-law and my husband for everything. I had to use a walker in order to get from the couch to the restroom to the bedroom. I also assistance standing up and someone to spot me as I moved. My depression and anxiety made the walls move in on me more and more every day. The pain was barely manageable and that just put me into a darker hole.
Finally, the time for surgery came. My mother made the trip down from New Jersey to be with me seeing as this was my very first surgery and I was nervous out of my mind. The anxiety and nervousness I felt followed me all the way into the operating room. I was later told that it took more medication than usual to sedate me and I cried and begged for them not to do the surgery. All of this I personally do not remember. The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room alone and in a lot of pain. They took me up to my room where I got to see my mom, husband and brother-in-law. I spent four days in the medical unit while I built up my strength and will to stand and move around again.
I was then transferred to an inpatient rehab unit to further my progress. There is where I really blossomed and began healing. I was taught how to move using crutches while being non-weight bearing so that I would no longer have to be on bed rest. I was also taught how to care for myself while I was healing and building up my strength after surgery. I spent another four days in the rehab unit before they finally allowed me to return home.
At home, I began to explore my mobility and independence. I still needed a lot of help to complete simple tasks. For example, I could cook dinner for myself and my family, but I could not take my plate to the table. I returned to work shortly after being released from the rehab unit. I went back part time in order to attend therapy two days a week. While at work, I am confined to a chair and need assistance with carrying things or moving things around. Hopefully, when I am fully healed, I will become more useful.
Today, I still attend therapy two times a week and hope to add more hours at work. After three months of being non-weight bearing and using crutches to move, I am finally healed enough to being trying to walk again.
There is still a very long and hard road ahead of me, but with the support of my family and friends, I am finally in a better place mentally and have hope to be walking again for Christmas.
Thank you for reading about Amber’s story. I can’t imagine how with just the simplest of tasks you need to rely on someone to assist you. Thank God Amber had people in her life to help her and seems to have a great support group.
Please connect with Amber through her social media pages!
If you have a story you would like to share, please contact me on any social media platform below or contact me through the website. I would love to showcase your story if you are willing to tell it!
For more stories like Amber’s, please visit the Laugh Always Spotlight section or you can click on this story here —> When the Small Things Become Big
Until next time,