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Johana was on her way home from an afternoon stroll through the park with her three-year-old son, Joshua, when a situation that every mother fears began to unfold: He ran out onto the street in front of traffic. Spotting an oncoming car, Johana chased after Joshua and quickly pushed him out of harm’s way, but not before being struck by the vehicle in her son’s stead, thrown into the air and landing on the car’s windshield.
Johana plays with her son, Joshua.
After 10 days, Johana awoke from the coma — much to the relief of her family and friends — though she remained in intensive care for another few weeks while recovering. Two weeks after the accident, Johana was transferred to Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s Rehabilitation Center, where she could continue to recover while being closer to her home in East San Diego County.
Though the doctors were able to repair most of her injuries, the blow she suffered to the head would have another long-lasting effect on her body that no medical treatment could immediately fix. Johana, which in combination with her various other ailments, drastically weakened the right side of her body to the point where she was unable to walk or even use eating utensils with her right hand.
With hopes of restoring the strength in her injured limbs, Johana began a daily program of occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy sessions with Sharp Grossmont Rehabilitation Center staff, aimed toward helping her become physically active and independent once more. She also spent time working with dietitians, social workers and nurse case managers who helped her on the road to recovery. The journey was far from easy — often causing Johana to feel frustrated and emotional. “It was terrible,” she explained, with the aid of a Spanish-language interpreter. “I didn’t think that I could play with my child again. I was depressed and cried every day.”
As therapy and time progressed, Johana’s state of mind — along with the condition of her right arm and leg — improved. She also proved to be a great motivator to other patients in the rehab unit, often helping to set an example and motivate others. “I was at peace while working here, encouraged by having family and friends visit me, and I had the passion to get better,” she said.
Johana enjoys a day at the park with her son.
After five and a half weeks of intensive rehabilitation, Johana completed her therapy and was able to go home to her family, but this hasn’t stopped the young mother from contributing positive energy to the unit that helped her get her life back on track. She continues to stop by the rehab unit from time to time to visit with new patients, providing encouraging words for those who appear to be having difficulties with their recovery.
Looking back on this chapter of her life, Johana credits the love of her son, husband, family and the Sharp Grossmont rehab staff for restoring her ability to walk, dance, cook, hug her husband and play with her son again.
“Sharp Grossmont is incredible,” Johana exclaimed as she recalled her experience. “Every person that I’ve worked with here is amazing.”
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's rehabilitation services or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician who can refer you to a physical therapist, call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about rehabilitation, visit Rehabilitation in Adult Health or read the Rehabilitation News archive.