Jeannie Grant loves special days like holidays, birthdays and vacations. On Dec.29, 2003, she was driving to work, recalling pleasant memories of Christmas with her family, when she was blinded suddenly by the bright sunlight and veered into the path of an oncoming truck.
Grant was taken directly to Maine Medical Center (MMC) with multi-traumatic injuries. She suffered a concussion, several fractures throughout her body and internal injuries. She underwent several surgeries. She survived and progressed to the point where she could tolerate intensive rehabilitation. Robert Haile, MD, New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland (NERHP) physiatrist and consulting physician at MMC, referred her to NERHP, where he could treat her medical conditions and oversee the rehabilitation team that would guide Grant toward full recovery.
"Dr. Haile and my wonder women are my heroes," states Grant. "I always tell whoever will listen that they got me back to being me and gave me my life back!"
In addition to the rehab nursing staff, three of Grant's wonder women included Kathleen Collette, PT, Karen McLaughlin, PT, and Annette Coulombe, OT.
Initially Grant had difficulty sitting upright because she was bed-ridden for so long. The ability to sit for 45 minutes, twice a day, was a milestone that her treatment team met with enthusiasm and encouragement.
"She had unbelievable motivation and was always willing to try," said Kathleen.
Her therapists kept encouraging her to accept her accomplishments with eagerness and pride and not compare daily tasks such as sitting up or moving off the bed, to what she could do before the accident. Jeannie said she would advance, feel confident, then plateau. Kathleen, Karen and Annette would remind her of what she could do, not what she could not do. She said she put all her trust in Dr. Haile and her wonder women and embraced the advice they provided. Motivation regained, she could meet the challenge of new tasks.
Grant was further motivated by family and friends. In fact her son, Eric, told his Mom that all he wanted for his April birthday was to see her walk.
As therapy continued and Jeannie could move about more easily, Annette concentrated on personal care and other activities of daily living. Jeannie progressed in all aspects of her personal care and activities and at the same time her strength improved.
A monumental achievement occurred when Jeannie could finally bear weight on both of her legs, because that meant she could look forward to standing and standing was tantamount to the next hurdle - walking.
Upon discharge, Grant pulled herself out of the wheelchair and walked. Today, she is at home enjoying her family and her life.
"I am just so glad to be alive,” said Grant. “So, I have aches and pains - big deal! I ignore them and just keep going and testing my limits. If I don't keep testing myself, how do I know what my limits are?"