Christine's Rehabilitation Story
Christine Cox celebrates two birthdays. “I celebrate September 17, the day of my birth, and June 30, the day I survived,” she says. On that June day in 2012, Christine was enjoying a motorcycle trip along back roads to Door County when a young driver ran a stop sign while texting. “My motorcycle wound up underneath the front end of his pickup, and I was thrown across the road,” Christine says. She had a broken nose, broken left arm, six broken ribs, a shattered pelvis, shattered tibia, broken fibula, broken ankle and internal bleeding due to damage to the aorta caused by one of the broken ribs. “That first night, I had a 5 percent chance of living,” Christine says.
The Road to Recovery
Having flat-lined twice and been given her last rites, Christine fought her way back from the brink on an arduous journey of recovery. “I was in five hospitals in two states for three-and-a-half months,” Christine recalls. The fifth hospital was Westlake Hospital, where Christine began physical and occupational therapy. “For me, coming to Westlake meant I was going to boot camp to get better,” Christine says. “I wanted to get better. I wanted to walk again on my own. I wanted to reach my potential, whatever it was. I wanted to maximize myself again.” Working mornings and afternoons with physical therapist Judy and occupational therapist Tricia, Christine took her first steps to regaining mobility and independence.
Little by little, Christine’s strength, muscle memory and coordination improved. She worked with Judy on standing up from her wheelchair. “It was so hard. I always felt like I was going to fall, even with them holding on to me,” Christine says. With Tricia, Christine developed her hand-eye coordination. “We played a lot of games,” Christine explains. “I enjoyed that. It was challenging to play with someone able-bodied and that motivated me to work up to her level.”
Despite her progress, Christine’s spirits occasionally flagged. “On my birthday, when I came into the rehabilitation room, Judy saw in my eyes that I was getting so disappointed,” Christine says. “It was such an uphill battle that I wasn’t winning. I was becoming defeated. Judy knew she had to do something to get my spirits going again. She said, ‘Chris, how about let’s walk today.’ I was in seventh heaven.” With Judy holding the gait belt around Christine’s waist, Christine walked the parallel bars. “It was hard, and I did it. When I got to the end of the bars, I said, ‘Judy, I love you so much!’ I had hope again.”
After seven weeks and many victories in rehab, Christine was able to return home. In June 2015, she commemorated her third birthday since her accident. “I do a lot of the things I used to do, but there are things I still can’t do,” Christine explains. “I can walk with Loftstrand crutches. I can drive.” And she still goes to therapy at Westlake twice a week to work on regenerating and strengthening her muscles. “I always think highly of Westlake,” Christine says. “I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I am today in mind, body and spirit if I hadn’t gone there. When I got to Westlake, that’s when I knew I could live. The staff and the nurses really care.”