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Thankful for therapy and recovery

Alisa Skruch

Alisa Skruch works at CHCS, but a little more than a year and a half ago, she became a patient.

April 3, 2018 was a beautiful day, and Alisa was driving to pick up her mother. Then her right front tire dropped off the asphalt, the gravel on the side of the road gave way, and her vehicle was slung into the ditch. “I remember thinking, ‘I’m just going to have to ride it out,’” she said. She went through a fence and hit a concrete culvert, then her vehicle came to rest in a pasture.

After struggling to get the doors unlocked and get out of the vehicle around the deployed airbags, Alisa got out of the car and tried to stand, but she fell. She crawled away from the car. Two farmers saw her and called 911. As Kickapoo Indian Nation EMS came and carried her from the field, she remembers worrying about leaving her purse behind in the vehicle. She soon had other worries.

An examination at the local hospital found that she had a burst fracture in the L1 vertebrae in her back. She traveled by ambulance to Topeka, where a neurologist determined she did not need surgery. She did, however, need extensive therapy and assistance during a long recovery period during which she would have to wear an immobilizing brace.

After remaining in the hospital for four days, Alisa went home with a brace and had Community HealthCare System physical therapy and occupational therapy, plus Community HomeHealth nurses, come to her.

“I had never had anything traumatic happen to me before. When you’re on the other side of receiving services, it’s really eye-opening,” Skruch said. Her job is in the administration office working with provider credentialing, and she gained a new perspective on the importance of quality patient care. “I didn’t know exactly what Community HomeHealth and PT and OT did, but they go everywhere! … They were always there on time, very consistent, and were super positive even when I was having a bad day,” she said.

Therapy staff helped her learn to do everyday tasks despite her bulky brace and walker. Among other things, Alisa had to learn to put her clothes on and tie her shoes. Therapy helped her see how she could fix a meal, take a shower, and maneuver around the house as well as exercise so she wouldn’t atrophy despite being unable to move her core so her fracture could heal.

Today, Skruch is healed and mostly pain-free, but her experience gave her “new empathy for anyone who deals with chronic pain.” She is thankful for the compassionate an important care she received while recovering from her accident as well as the encouragement from her co-workers at CHCS.

“Being part of this group in this small hospital, the care continued once I came back to work. We all care about each other! Everyone was super accommodating. … I would run into people from HomeHealth, and they would say, ‘You’re doing great!’”

Learn more about CHCS Community HomeHealth or about our Rehabilitation Services.


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