I am deeply grateful to the caring and committed staff of the Constance-Lethbridge Rehabilitation Centre for helping me get back my quality of life after a terrible accident 4 years ago.
It was Labor Day weekend 2013, and I was cycling with some friends. I have absolutely no memory of what happened, but I’m told that a part on my bike broke loose. I hit the pavement (yes, I was wearing my helmet – the doctors were sure it saved my life) and was later diagnosed with a ‘severe’ Traumatic Brain Injury. The doctors didn’t think I’d make it through the first night in the hospital. They kept me in a medically-induced coma for three weeks. When I woke up, they kept me under close observation in the intensive care unit for 2 months, and then discharged me to a rehabilitation hospital.
Once I was ready to come home, I was referred to the Constance-Lethbridge Centre as an out-patient. The healing process after a traumatic brain injury is unpredictable and very slow. I had to re-learn to do all the little everyday things in life all over again, like how to speak, brush my teeth, walk, write, and even to swallow.
The multi-disciplinary rehab team at the centre was very simply entirely responsible for my ability to accomplish these tasks. They worked with me on balance, coordination, speech, and so much more.
I began my therapy in a wheelchair. I remember the frustration in learning to walk again, the concentration and coordination required to put one foot forward, and then the other. Then came the challenges of walking in public places – it was scary and embarrassing getting off the escalator for the first time. Learning to drive again was another challenge, since it also requires a great deal of concentration. The process was slow and often frustrating. I still walk haltingly and my speech is slow, but I’ve come to accept that my progress is gradual. But I’m proud to say that I’ve succeeded in regaining most of these abilities. One of the keys is managing my energy and knowing my limits.
Without the wonderful, caring people at the Constance-Lethbridge, I have no doubt that my quality of life would be terribly affected. One cannot appreciate their impact unless one (or a loved one) needs their services. It is at this critical moment that their support and expertise becomes so obviously vital. Thank you for supporting such a worthwhile organization and helping me to function again and enjoy my life!