Christa entered this world with a wild and adventurous spirit. At nine months, she was climbing out of her crib. She got her first stitches when she was just one-year-old and took her first ambulance ride the day before her second birthday. She broke her foot twice, and both times she removed her cast early on her own. When she turned 18-years-old, she moved out of the house and into her own apartment. “She’s always kept me on my toes,” says Cindi, Christa’s mother.
In February 2018, Christa was driving home from one of her two jobs. It was a rainy night, and she saw a car stalled in front of her. She swerved to avoid it and succeeded; however, in the turn, her car hit the siderail repeatedly, throwing Christa out the window, then continued to flip off the road. She was air-lifted to a nearby hospital where she remained in a coma for weeks. She had to undergo multiple surgeries, including the amputation of her leg. She finally woke up in the ICU five weeks later, and her mom told her everything.
“Nothing can prepare you for this, but my accident-ridden childhood prepared me for this,” Christa jokes. Christa was determined to rehab herself and go home as quickly as possible. Her whole life she’s fought to be independent, and she wouldn’t let this accident set her back. Her mom knew home couldn’t be her next step though.
“I volunteered at Ranken Jordan in high school,” says Cindi, “and I thought ‘I wonder if Christa could go there?’ So I called them, and together we got the wheels in motion for her to recover there.”
Christa was anxious for a quick recovery, and she wasn’t looking forward to having to go to another hospital. Upon admission, she fell into depression. She expected her stay to be just like the previous hospital – stuck in a bed in the ICU, surrounded by busy staff, and worst of all, dependent on everyone else. However, every day at Ranken Jordan got a little better than the one before.
Surrounded by the playful environment and encouraging staff, Christa became a disciplined patient and tenacious with her therapy.
“It’s night and day from a regular hospital,” she says. “They have music and art therapy, lots of recreational things to do like riding bikes and going to a café within the building. Everyone knows your name and your needs. They’re always in a good mood and make you feel loved.”
Through support from the in-house psychologist and her entire therapy team, Christa climbed out of depression. “They helped me realize it was okay to be upset – they encouraged me to feel what I needed to feel and then move on.”
She even found inspiration from other patients. “I looked up to every patient there with me. There was a 3-year-old there, and he could have been in pre-school playing with other kids, but instead he was in the hospital. If he could do it, I could do it.”
In a little less than three months, Christa was discharged. She returns for outpatient visits and to mentor patients in the inpatient and outpatient programs.
“I didn’t realize how much I needed Ranken Jordan, and I’m grateful I can give back,” she says. “Since the accident, I am so much more appreciative of everything. I used to constantly look at what was I going to do next. Now, I’ve learned to slow down and focus on the moment and what’s best for me in that moment. And after careful thought, I know what I want to do next. I want to be a physical therapist. I want to help others and see them progress just like I did.”