After his father died, Bradford Roller moved to the Palm Springs area to take care of his mother, who lived alone. "We enjoyed taking walks, shopping, and eating out in restaurants," he said. Bradford enjoyed retired life after working for a company that made architectural products. He was always helping others, be it his mother or his neighbors.
"I was helping a neighbor do a project in their back yard when I fell off a ladder and onto my back," Bradford recalled. "A sledgehammer fell and hit me on my head and hand. I don't remember the accident, but I woke up a Desert Regional Hospital in the ICU."
Hospital staff helped fill in the blanks for Bradford. The fall left him with fractures from his cervical spine down through his thoracic spine. He underwent surgery to repair the injuries. "I was very concerned about my limitations and how they would affect my recovery."
Bradford's concerns were valid. "My injury has affected my ability to remember things, and now I have word-finding difficulties. I couldn't move my lower body. I was concerned I would never be able to walk again."
But Bradford's biggest concern was his dear mother. "Who would take care of my mother?" he worried.
After voicing his concerns, Bradford's doctors offered some advice. "My physicians recommended an acute rehab hospital that specialized in spinal cord injuries," he said. After twelve days, he transferred to Vibra Rehabilitation Hospital of Rancho Mirage. At Vibra, he would work toward regaining function and learning adaptive techniques for a safe return home.
Unfortunately, Bradford developed a fever on his third day at Vibra. Out of an abundance of caution, he was transferred to Eisenhower Medical Center to determine the cause of the fever. At Eisenhower, they checked him for COVID-19, as well as infections. Fluid developed around the surgical site on his spine. Bradford then returned to Desert Regional so his surgeons could evaluate. Once he was well enough again for therapy, he returned to Vibra.
Bradford's experience at Vibra has been so positive, he doesn't want to leave. "I will leave here kicking and screaming because I want to stay here as long as possible to keep making progress," he said with a chuckle. His praise for Vibra's staff was effusive.
"Hands down, my therapists are the biggest influence in my recovery," Bradford shared. "The intensive rehab program and my therapists have been crucial in my recovery. Paige really knows what she is doing and has a great sense of humor. Jan and Zach really pushed and encouraged me to keep going and not give up."
Bradford continues to focus on his mother. "Returning home to care for my mom has been a big motivating factor [for working hard]," he said. "I wanted to give it my all to have the best chances at a full recovery. Every single day at Vibra I have felt stronger and recognize the gains I am making in getting back my function. When you are suddenly unable to care for yourself you become acutely aware of every improvement your body is making."
"I don't know what's next," Bradford said about life after discharge. Though excited to go home, he is anxious about taking care of himself. "I won't have my therapists with me or around-the-clock care as I do here, which is a mental safety net for me. I still have a long way to go in my recovery, but have the desire and motivation to continue on."
Though there are adjustments to make once he returns home, Bradford feels he is on the right track. "I am very grateful to have had the time here at Vibra to regain function and to walk again."Posted By