Maryanne Marubu, recovered from a fractured skull, brain injury and broken bones
A year ago, Maryanne Marubu, a student at California State University, East Bay, was walking on campus when a distracted motorist struck her in the middle of a crosswalk. In that instant, life changed forever for the 21-year-old international studies major and native of Kenya.
An ambulance transported Maryanne to Sutter-affiliated Eden Medical Center, where a trauma team diagnosed a severely fractured skull, a brain injury and fractured legs, amid other disabling injuries. She immediately underwent surgery.
“The pain was excruciating—almost too much to bear,” she recalls. “But the people at Eden were so kind and compassionate. They encouraged me.” Later, she was transferred to Sutter-affiliated Alta Bates Summit Medical Center for further treatment and rehabilitation. “The good care from Sutter helped me recover physically and mentally. They cared about me as a human being, not just a patient.”
Still, for the young and formerly independent patient, recovery was slow and challenging. “For three and a half months, I couldn’t walk and I couldn’t go outside,” she says. Her injuries had also impaired her memory and certain thinking skills. When released from the hospital, Maryanne was at first apprehensive about spending time alone at home. But working with Sutter Care at Home occupational therapist Lisa Jacobs quickly restored Maryanne’s confidence and life skills.
Their time together reflected “the true nature of occupational therapy—using meaningful activity to help rehabilitate body, mind, and spirit,” says Jacobs. To help Maryanne regain skills she’d need to finish college, “I picked creative writing to help her overcome challenges with memory, problem-solving, organization and concentration.”
Neither anticipated the additional benefits Maryanne would experience as she began to put pen to paper. “Being able to write poems helped me come alive and just feel free again,” she says. “When you’re going through something like this, you’ve got to let your feelings out. Poetry let me put my heart and emotion into words.” (See one of Maryanne’s poems below.)
Today, Maryanne is again walking, driving and attending college and will graduate this year. “I think I’m the only one who looks forward to class every day,” she laughs. “I’m happy to be there, to see the people, the trees, the sky—and to be alive.”
“I’m Maryanne Marubu, and this is my story.”
By Maryanne Marubu
The night I flew and silence surrounded me
Was the night that sparked a new life in me.
I was engraved with memories all over my body.
They are still fresh in my mind and heart.
They are stories of my past and pathways to my future.
Sometimes I see them, sometimes I don’t.
They are a mystery of how I survived that night..
I’m walking again, no helmet.
I can hardly wait to dance to the rhythm that brings me joy.
To sway, to move, to feel the music within me like a rhapsody.
I’ll dance for you God, like David did,
With all my heart, all of me.
My body is coming alive again.
It will be a glorious day filled with splendor
When the pain and tweaks stop.
It shall be the day I’ll sing.