Laura and Edward were living in Houston, where they enjoyed their lives together as retirees, spending time at home with their dogs, relaxing by their pool and visiting their lake house.

Laura said she enjoys taking their boat out and being able to sit and watch the sun come up in the morning, hear the birds and get ready to enjoy the day.

In the late spring of 2016, Edward took a motorcycle trip with a friend in the Texas Hill Country that changed his life forever. On May 6, the last day of their ride, Ed veered off the road. When he tried to correct himself, both he and the bike flipped several times.

How Ed Survived a Near-Fatal Motorcycle Accident 600

Suffering from serious wounds, Ed was taken by Life Flight, an air medical service, to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio where Laura met him that night. Laura reflects on getting a call from Ed’s friend after the accident and says her drive to San Antonio was frightening.

“I didn’t know where I was going or what I was going to find when I got there.”

Ed’s accident left him with burns on his arms and legs, multiple fractures, respiratory failure requiring a tracheostomy for airway support and spinal injuries that required a cervical collar.

“The very first night they thought he possibly had a tear in his esophagus,” Laura said. That would pose additional difficulty in his recovery because Ed has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which already makes it difficult for him to breathe. “They were worried about him for a while. Very, very worried. It was scary.”

Thankfully, Ed powered through and after a month, he was able to transition to long-term acute care, which is where many patients go when they need hospital-level care to recover further after an emergency room stay.

Laura wanted Ed to be taken care of in a facility that was near home. After speaking to a close friend, she was directed to Kindred’s Hospital in Tomball, Texas. Ed was transferred from San Antonio to Tomball via ambulance where he and Laura were greeted by the hospital CEO, Tracy Kohler.

“I was very impressed by the hands-on and personal touch that I got from Tracy. That meant a lot,” Laura said.

When Edward was evaluated by Kindred’s therapy team, he required complete help with getting in and out of bed, up and down in chairs and completing self-care activities. For two weeks, Ed was at the number one bed in Kindred’s ICU.

“I think he was scared,” Laura said. “I think he was scared that after four weeks he still couldn’t do these sorts of things.”

During this time, Laura was anxious, and she learned how important it is for caregivers to take care of themselves too.

“You have to take care of yourself so that you can be there for them,” she said. “I encourage other caregivers to get out, take a walk or get something to eat on your own because you can’t be there 24/7.”

Laura found support from those who were praying for Ed and their family.

“That sustained me because I knew I wasn’t alone,” she said. “I felt like I was cradled the whole time throughout this whole experience.”

Kindred’s staff was very positive when working with Ed and attentive to his needs. On the fifth day of his stay at Kindred, his care team had him walking down the hall. “It was only 10 or 15 steps at a time, but I know he was happy to get out of that bed,” says Laura.

For the last two weeks of Ed’s stay at Kindred, he was able to progress and begin his journey with therapy. Kindred helped Ed to begin performing daily activities with modified independence. Both Laura and Ed said things really started to become exciting when he began therapy because it was his first step closer to home – in fact, home was the main motivation for his recovery.

“He said when he first was in the hospital and could talk that he wanted to be home by the Fourth of July” Laura said. On July 1, Ed transferred from Kindred to another facility to finish his physical therapy where they granted him four hours to be with his family for their annual barbeque on the Fourth of July. He officially returned home on July 11, just two months after his accident.

Even at home, Ed was persistent with his recovery.

“We live on a cul-de-sac and he started walking just around the cul-de-sac a couple of times in the morning before it got hot,” Laura said. “Then he would progress to walking to the end of the cul-de-sac. By the time summer was over, he and the dogs were walking about two to three miles a day.”

Ed continues to remain active by working on the boat and jet skis at their lake house. He’s also been mowing lawns, working on their pool and keeping up with the general maintenance of their home. They say they have some future trips in mind, but their next step as a couple is moving to the Hill Country of Texas.

“Kindred Healthcare did a fabulous job,” Laura said. “He literally could not move when he got here, and four weeks later, he could’ve walked out the door. He worked hard and they worked hard with him. They were supportive, they encouraged him, and they played a pivotal part in his recovery.”

Learn more about long-term acute care in Kindred Hospitals, or inpatient rehabilitation. If you have care questions for a loved one, call 1.866.KINDRED to speak with a Registered Nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can walk you through care options in your area.

By Whitney Gaither