In a harrowing incident, Megan Simon and her family were involved in a head-on collision on a narrow bridge in Slidell. The accident left Megan with a multitude of traumatic injuries, including a severely broken leg that teetered on the brink of amputation and a partially amputated toe. She also suffered a spleen injury, broken ribs and damaged vertebrae. Rushed to the University Medical Center, Megan underwent a grueling six-hour surgery and spent almost four weeks there, undergoing seven additional surgeries.
Once Megan stabilized, she knew that she required specialized rehabilitative care to regain her independence. A social worker at Ochsner, Megan turned to her colleagues and medical team for guidance on the best inpatient rehabilitation facility. Together, they decided that Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital was the ideal choice for her rehabilitation journey.
Upon arrival at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital, the physician-led rehabilitation team worked with Megan to put a treatment plan in place. She could not even turn or move in her bed, let alone walk or attend to her self-care needs. Understandably, she arrived feeling mentally downtrodden and discouraged.
With the encouragement of her therapists, Megan began the hard work necessary to get back home to her family. In physical therapy, she gradually reawakened her legs through stretching and exercise, initially struggling with simple tasks like sitting on the edge of the bed and standing. She began working in the parallel bars to start standing and taking a few steps. Lower body exercises that included the stair stepper and therabands, gave her the strength she needed to start walking outside the parallel bars using a rolling walker.
In occupational therapy, her team focused on restoring her self-care abilities, providing specialized tools and innovative techniques for dressing, bathing and toileting. She dug deep during upper body strengthening exercises where she used therabands, weight bars and an arm bike.
When asked about a turning point, Megan recounted the moment when her physical therapist introduced her to a walker for the first time. Initially skeptical, she soon found herself standing and walking with assistance, feeling more confident with every step. She also emphasized the crucial role her family played in her recovery. Her husband, children, sister and her church community where immensely helpful and supportive during her healing journey.
Looking ahead to her return home, Megan eagerly anticipated resuming her Master's degree studies in social work and getting back to the simple joy of sleeping in her own bed. She also plans to continue her rehabilitation journey with home health physical therapy.
Reflecting on her Northshore experience, Megan exclaimed, "I loved it here! I actually had a great time while I was here." She praised her therapists and the wound care nurse for their encouragement, especially during her initial moments of despair.
"The accident really took a lot out of me, but through that, I learned that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was," she said.
Her message to others facing similar challenges is clear: "Don't give up on yourself. Even if you're in pain or think it's not going to happen, just push forward."