It was a cold and blustery February morning in 2014. Anthony Wayne Schools had declared another snow day, so neither Carol Ritenour, nor her 11-year-old granddaughter, IsaBella, had anywhere in particular to be. They settled on going shopping and out to eat for lunch. But IsaBella insisted on a wintertime favorite: Sledding on the hill near the Whitehouse Quarry.
“We have done this every winter for several years,” Carole says. “And at 62 years of age, I should have known better, but I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my snow day than with my sweet Bella.”
They were almost down the hill when Carole noticed the snow mound that the neighborhood kids had built; she tried to steer clear of it. The pair landed with a thud, and Carole knew she shouldn’t get up. She had her granddaughter call Carole’s husband, who then called 9-1-1.
Carole first arrived at ProMedica St. Luke’s Hospital where she learned that she had fractured her back. The injury would require surgery and rehabilitative therapy, so she was immediately transferred to ProMedica Toledo Hospital.
Two days, two rods and four screws later, Carole was relocated to ProMedica Flower Hospital for rehabilitation therapy. She was having some issues with her sciatic nerve and couldn’t feel her back.
“It was extremely difficult to move and I had to use a walker,” Carole recalls.
During the 11 days of rehab at Flower Hospital, Carole worked with various therapists on slow hand motions and practiced how to get up without hurting her back, in case she fell at home.
“I felt like I was really benefiting from the therapy and requested additional sessions,” Carole said. “It helped to strengthen my back a lot. Of course, getting up from a kneeling position can be difficult, but I’ve come a long way.”
Carole credits her recovery to the attentive teams of nurses and physical therapists at Flower Hospital and ProMedica St. Luke’s Hospital.
“They were all the greatest,” she says. “They take care of you with love.”
Eventually, Carole had her rods and screws removed at ProMedica Wildwood and Orthopaedic Hospital. She was finally ready to resume her regular life and activities.
Back to 100 Percent
Carole is the first to admit that she has no intentions of ever sledding again. However, she still remains active. As a cook at Anthony Wayne High School, Carole was happy to return to full days at work after eight months of allowing herself to heal. And when she isn’t at work, Carole still cherishes the time she gets to spend with IsaBella.
“We bike to the park together and spend great days baking,” Carole says with a smile.
She also enjoys walking her Chihuahua, Brindle, and engaging in her favorite summer time therapy—swimming in her backyard pool.
“I’m really blessed to have gotten as far as I have,” Carole says.
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