Steve was working with his road maintenance crew one day when the unthinkable happened. A tree fell, knocking him to the ground and nearly crushing him. Life-flighted to the hospital, Steve suffered a concussion, intestinal damage, cracked vertebrae in his neck and a leg that was broken in three places above the ankle.
Because Steve would be wheelchair bound for some time while his injuries healed, he needed to undergo rehabilitation to regain his strength and learn how to maneuver his wheelchair.
Steve's fiancée, Kandis, had referrals to several rehab facilities, but she ended up choosing Sutter Rehabilitation Institute, even though it meant a long drive back and forth from their hometown, Elk Grove, to visit Steve during his rehabilitation process. A key factor in her decision was that Steve could have his own private room at the Institute.
Therapists at the Institute worked with Steve during his three-week stay to strengthen his muscles and to teach techniques for managing a wheelchair both inside and outside the facility. He found practicing going over doorway thresholds to be especially helpful.
Steve's time at Sutter Rehabilitation Institute was bittersweet. He was glad to be alive and on the mend, but because of his accident he and Kandis had to cancel vacation plans that included a trip to the Kentucky Derby. On race day, he was still at the Institute. Making the best of it, he and Kandis dressed up in their "derby clothes" and watched the Kentucky Derby on the television in his room.
"Everyone was great at SRI," says Steve, now out of the wheelchair and walking again.
Kandis agrees. The staff was very caring and very positive during Steve's recovery, she says. "It was worth the drive."
Although they missed the Kentucky Derby this year, Steve's accident is not stopping them from making new vacation plans to Florida and then Germany. With Steve on the road to recovery, they have a great, big future to fill with vacations. And the Derby is still on their list.