By Lydia Miner, PTA
Olivia Garrison’s life changed forever on April 16th 2022. Less than two months away from her high school graduation, Olivia and her friends were involved in a devasting car crash. She was airlifted to the hospital with severe injuries: a lacerated liver and spleen, torn aorta, broken sternum, broken vertebrae (T1-T9), and a damaged spinal cord that left her paralyzed from the chest down.
The next day, Olivia underwent a 6-hour surgery to repair her broken back. Three days later, she woke up in need of a ventilator to breathe. It would be another five days before her lungs were strong enough to remove the ventilator so she could communicate with her family. She remained in the ICU for 24 days before transferring to a unit of the hospital where she could begin her road to recovery and gain strength to transfer to a rehabilitation hospital.
One month after the accident, Olivia was stable enough to transfer to Community North Rehabilitation Hospital in Indianapolis, where her daily regimen of physical and occupational therapy could begin. For 28 days, she worked with the therapy team at Community to regain her strength and learn how to best navigate her new physical situation. The highlight of her stay was on May 27th when she was able to briefly leave the hospital and attend her high school graduation with the rest of her class.
In June, after nearly a month at the rehabilitation hospital, she was discharged home. Even though she was happy to be home, she knew she needed more therapy and more assistance to continue her recovery. She had made great strides, but was still weak and could only remain upright for a few moments at a time. She was still in a great deal of pain from her injuries, and was in a constant battle with pressure sores. Since she’s been home many of the complications relating to a neurologic injury have continued, including a bone infection, a blood clot, and multiple urinary tract infections.
In June of 2022 Olivia heard about NeuroHope from a therapist, as a unique place to continue the specialized therapy she needed after hospital discharge. She soon enrolled in our therapy and exercise programs – and in the months since, her hard work and smiling face has been a constant in our gym!
It takes months, and sometimes years to maximize recovery from neurologic injury – far more than insurance and traditional healthcare allows, and Olivia’s continued progress inspires us all. She has improved tremendously during her time at NeuroHope, conquering seated balance, floor transfers and standing tolerance.
She’s not done yet! She continues to gain strength as she approaches the one-year mark of her injury, and she works tirelessly with our physical therapy, occupational therapy, and exercise teams. She is an inspiration to all whose lives have changed following a neurological injury, sharing her light with support and encouragement.
Keep it up Liv!