Jane S.

Jane S.

“I can tell you exactly when it first started,” Jane Smith recalls, speaking of her spinal cord injury. “We were at Disney with the kids and the grandkids back in February and we were just walking A LOT. At the end of that trip, I was fatigued and my back was so sore. I thought it was sciatic pain, you know, when it shoots some pain down your leg and tingles a bit.”

“I admit, I probably waited longer than I should have to go to the doctor, but I thought it would get better.”

At first, Jane's pain did improve some and she continued to live her active lifestyle. She traveled to California and Western Kentucky in the weeks before her hospital admission.

“When we got back from that last trip,” Jane recounts, “the pain just wouldn’t go away. It was hurting so badly. I honestly don’t even remember the few days leading up to my hospital admission. The last thing I remember is going to get an MRI at Beacon, and suddenly, I was waking up several days later in the hospital after multiple surgeries. It was scary to say the least.”

In August, Jane suffered a non-traumatic spinal cord injury with spinal cord compression at C4-5, a spinal abscess, and a blood infection that landed her in the hospital. After 12 days in the hospital, a once-active Jane found herself unable to function independently. She couldn’t even walk 15 feet without significant assistance. Jane realized that she was going to need physical rehab to return home safely.

Jane admitted to Gateway Rehabilitation Hospital on August 17. She was familiar with the hospital and staff, as several family members had been patients at Gateway. Jane was ready to jump right in. She remembers thinking it was like visiting old friends, only this time Jane was more than a visitor. After 12 days of hard work and dedication, Jane walked out of Gateway without even using a cane!

“The therapists were wonderful!” she exclaims when speaking about her experience at Gateway. “They pushed me to do my best, and even when the therapies seemed silly at first, eventually everything made sense and helped get me back to where I need to be.”

Jane continues her journey with Gateway, completing outpatient therapy. Her husband is already working on planning their next trip. “Maybe back to Disney,” Jane says, “but this time, I am going to make sure to take more rest breaks!”