Survival Story: Susan

An Ordinary Day Goes Wrong

An Ordinary Day Goes Wrong

Susan was having a perfectly ordinary day when traumatic injury changed her life. She simply fell while changing a lightbulb, and her fall caused a severe brain injury.

Susan was rushed to Memorial Hospital’s Level II trauma center and had emergency surgery. Neurosurgeon Neil Patel, MD, removed part of her skull to relieve pressure from swelling and control bleeding in the brain.

A different world

When Sue woke up in intensive care the next day, she had lost basic knowledge. And short-term memory loss threatened to limit her ability to recognize her own family.

That day Sue started a difficult journey to relearn how to walk, talk, write and understand language.

To help reboot her memory, nurses lined the walls in her hospital room with family photos. Speech and occupational therapists guided Sue through steps to walk and talk again.

After Sue was well enough to leave the hospital, she had homework to do as part of six months of outpatient therapy. “They gave me all the tools I needed to do it on my own,” Sue said.

Life is good

Today, Sue is happy to be alive. She has returned to many of the joys in her life, including family time and riding her horse – with a helmet, of course.

“It’s nothing less than a miracle that Sue is with us,” said Greg Matthews, Sue’s husband. “We were blessed to have all the right people there at the right time.”

“My father always says ‘every day is a good day when you wake up,’” Sue said. “That’s what I said when I woke up in the hospital. I am here because Memorial was the best place I could be.”