Client Spotlight – Megan C.

On July 4, 2015, while vacationing in North Carolina, the porch we were standing on to take a family photo collapsed, and I sustained a C7 SCI. I got to experience many modes of transportation: a helicopter ride to the hospital where they stabilized my spine, and then an air ambulance plane ride to University of Michigan Hospital for rehab. I knew a fair bit about SCI because of my profession – I am an orthotist /prosthetist at U of M, which means I make orthopedic braces and artificial limbs for patients of all ages. After covering the 6A rehab floor as an orthotist, the tables were turned and I was now the patient!

My husband Steven and I lived in that hospital for 2.5 months. After discharge, my parents would drive up from Chicago to spend the weekdays with me, then drive home on the weekends. My mother in law was badly injured in the porch collapse, and once she could travel, my in laws made many trips from Virginia. We have family and friends spread across the US, and they all came to visit and play games to coax my hands to cooperate.

Learning to drive was a big part of my recovery. The first lesson, I rumbled down the road at 10 miles per hour, muttering over and over “push to brake, push to brake” so that I wouldn’t get the hand controls confused. The process of driving lessons, modifying a van, and taking the road test at the Secretary of State took 10 months, and now driving with hand controls is second nature.

My work family continues to a big part in my recovery. When I was an inpatient, I would stop by the O&P office to hang out with my colleagues. Five months post-injury I slowly started back to work doing computer based projects. As time went on, I began seeing a few prosthetic patients with an assistant doing the hands on work. I really enjoy what I do, and it is fun to design a prosthesis, problem solve issues, and form that relationship with the patient. I am lucky to work in a clinic that welcomed me back and figured out a way to make it happen.

With a spinal cord injury, you figure out ways to do things. I’ve been going to the pool with my friend Bethany once a week for the past 2 years. She is a swim coach, but neither of us had any idea what we were doing when I first got in the water! We started in the zero depth kiddie pool and experimented with different flotations. These days I swim in the lap pool.

I started Therapy at Walk the Line nearly a year ago. From my first visit, I was impressed with the teamwork and comradery of the clinic. Everyone I’ve met with a spinal cord injury has been so helpful sharing experiences, and I’ve gotten valuable resources and advice from new friends. I hope to be that supportive to others as well.