A relatively healthy person, Rosa had no serious medical conditions to manage or worry about. She worked at the local fruit packaging company and lived an active life. She spent much of her free time with her daughter and two granddaughters who lived with her.

One day, Rosa felt a slight ache in her lower back. Since the backache didn’t interfere with her day-to-day activities, Rosa was not too concerned. But over several weeks the pain became noticeably worse. Rosa went to her primary care physician, who prescribed pain medication and gave her an injection. This provided immense relief, but only temporarily.

Two days later, Rosa’s back pain became progressively worse so she returned to her doctor’s office. He gave her another injection and ordered new lab work and an MRI.

Later that evening, Rosa was in pain and decided to go to bed early. She remembered telling her family goodnight and went straight to bed. This is the last thing she would recall for more than a week. During the night, Rosa lost consciousness.

Ten days later, Rosa had awakened from a coma. She was in San Francisco at UCSF Medical Center. “I was so scared," Rosa recalled. "I couldn’t remember how I got there or why I was there. Then I realized I couldn’t move my body and I was devastated. My daughter told me I had a complicated back surgery and they were trying to figure out the cause of the problem."

“I fought off a high fever and had tubes going down my throat and just hung on to my life,” continued Rosa. “I nearly lost my life, but I knew I had to fight. I’m a fighter!”

Rosa stabilized after several weeks at UCSF Medical Center and made enough progress to discharge to an acute rehabilitation hospital. Rosa and her family chose San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation Hospital. She was excited at the opportunity to improve, especially her mobility, as she was still unable to sit or stand.

“I couldn’t move when I arrived at SJVRH, but after a few weeks, I was able to sit on my own,” said Rosa. “My physical therapist and occupational therapist challenged me several hours a day to achieve my goals.”

After eighteen days at SJVRH, Rosa achieved her goal of returning home able to walk again. Even more importantly, by conquering one seemingly unsurmountable obstacle after another, Rosa regained the confidence to live an independent life!