Faith Finds Hope

Faith Skaggs, 18, doesn’t remember the car accident just before Christmas 2018 that caused a traumatic brain injury, and broke her pelvis, arm, leg and, oddly, just one toe. She also doesn’t remember the surgery or two strokes she had shortly after the accident. She couldn’t walk, talk, eat, or move for a month but is thankful she doesn’t remember that either.

What she does remember is that once she arrived at Ranken Jordan more than a month later, she was treated with exceptional kindness, compassion and skill. “I love my nurses and doctors,” she says. “They’re funny, nice and relatable. They get my sarcastic humor. I also know that without Dr. (Eugene) Evra, I wouldn’t be here.”

Eugene Evra, MD, is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Ranken Jordan. His focus is on enhancing and restoring functional ability to those with injuries or conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons.

Despite her gratitude toward her medical team, Faith went through a crisis of, well, faith, soon after she arrived at Ranken Jordan because she wasn’t progressing as fast as she wanted. “Before, I felt hopeless,” she says. “Now I have hope and feel like I might get completely better. Ranken Jordan got me walking, talking and everything.”

A New Start with Therapy and a New ‘Do

Her hard work in therapy has been essential to her recovery. “I loved therapy because therapy is what gets you home. Now I can finally ditch the walker. And it feels good to take a shower and get dressed myself. I feel more like me again.”

Faith’s family and her boyfriend of three years, Nick, have been regular visitors during her three months at Ranken Jordan. Faith’s four younger sisters lit up the hallways with energy when they came for sibling play dates. Faith says seeing them run and play lightened her mood just when she needed it.

“They helped me keep the faith,” she says with a wry grin.

The child life team’s dedication and care also have left a lasting impression on Faith. “One of the child life specialists, Carly, braided my hair every single day,” Faith says. “I was so thankful. Now that I’m going home, I’ve cut my hair shorter because it’s easier to take care of. My hair cut is a new start.”

Healing, Feasting and Teaching

Faith’s brain injury causes her to forget things sometimes. But her brain continues to heal. When she begins to doubt herself, Nick points out that Faith is still herself and is as smart as ever. She loves to read, although a stroke left a blind spot in her vision so reading is more challenging now.

“Before my accident, I was really smart,” the high school senior says. A poster in her room covered by a collage of college names where she was accepted illustrates her point. “But I’m going to wait a year now to go to college.”

The college time out doesn’t deter her from her goal to become a teacher. As a student, she read everything she could and even started a book club at her school. She is determined to apply that initiative and love of learning as a teacher. “Plus I have too many little sisters not to become a teacher!” Faith says.

As Faith begins the countdown to go home, she reflects on how far she has come since her accident and how much she appreciates Ranken Jordan. “I’m going to miss the nurses. They’ve done so much for me. I believe Ranken Jordan is the best place to go within a 2,000-mile radius.”

Faith’s memory becomes razor sharp when considering plans for her first day back home in Bourbon, Missouri. She and Nick are going to stop at her favorite Mexican restaurant and order her usual go-tos. “I want everything,” Faith says with gusto. “Three tacos, rice, queso and fried ice cream.”

And she remembers that order perfectly.