*** From: Patty Kunze ***
My new life began July 2nd, 2009 as a T3-4 paraplegic at 48 years of age. My name is Patty Kunze and I have been a Registered Nurse since 1983. I began my nursing career ironically in the Spinal Cord Injury Unit of the Veterans Administration Medical Center; little did I know that I would be drawing on that knowledge 26 years later.
It was the beginning of the July 4th weekend and my husband and I had just moved into our new home. In the past days we made trips back to the old house to collect some final items out of the shed. That day we decided to make one final run and grab a pizza on the way home and enjoy it on our new back porch. Right as planned, we collected the items, picked up the pizza, gassed up the car, and made our way back home. We decided to go back roads home to avoid the busy interstate from the holiday weekend traffic. Approximately five minutes from home, we approached an intersection, where I noticed a pickup truck was sitting at the stop sign. As we approached, the truck started pulling out of the street. I yelled at my husband who was driving, that the truck was not stopping. The pickup truck, being driven by a young teenager, T-boned into my side of our car causing our vehicle to flip five times before coming to a rest in the ditch.
To make a long story short, I broke my arm in three places, broke my right hand, dislocated my left knee, sprained my ankle, broke my vertebrae, and severed the spinal cord at T3-4 complete. My husband, who was driving, stayed alert through the ordeal and injured his shoulder and broke his elbow, I was unconscious when the vehicle came to a stop.
After six weeks in the hospital and eight weeks of rehab, I made it home to start my new life as it is now. I am still a wife, mother to two sons, and Registered Nurse. I continue to work on a Master’s degree in Nursing, I completed handicapped driver’s training, I quickly became the supervisor of our home again, and I have a very part-time job as a nurse. It has been a long road to recovery and by being a nurse, I am not sure if it was easier or more difficult. I have become much stronger thanks to my family and friends who assisted in my recovery.
Allegro Medical assisted in my recovery also…..shortly after my accident, while in the ICU, prior to the first surgery due to difficulty in maintaining the blood pressure, I developed a sacral decubitus ulcer. It worsened over the time I was hospitalized. The ulcer ended up as a Stage III sore requiring multiple visits to the plastic surgeon. The physician suggested performing a “flap” to speed up healing but due to my nursing experience, I felt healing the sore from the bottom up would be best. So my husband and I opted to heal the sore with twice daily ulcer dressings. Allegro Medical always had the necessary dressings to perform the task. It took 18 months to heal the ulcer but with my husband’s diligence and Allegro Medical supplies, it was restored to its previous state. I use Allegro Medical for all of my medical supplies.
So, now it has been almost four years since that life-changing-evening occurred but I thank God every day that I am still here for my family and I frequently forget that I am disabled. My husband assists in my care and we have worked out a daily routine now. Just because life is a roll coaster, doesn’t mean you stop living. I live every day to the fullest. My life is beautiful. I enjoy each and every day now, like it’s my last.
My saying is “It’s all good” and it is. So I can’t walk….there are “worser” things in life. I am blessed with a loving family and wonderful friends. What more could a girl want?
Thanks Patty for sharing your story with the Allegro Community! Your story about life and the struggles with a spinal cord injury and pressure sore is something many of our Allegro customers can relate to. The way that you have approached your new life, pursuit of your Masters Degree and managing your home is an inspiration. We are glad we could be here to help in our small way.
If you have a story, and would like to share it, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org