GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Kent Road Commission worker hit while mowing grass near Caledonia is nearing her discharge date at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Center, expected on Wednesday.
Sue Meindertsma was hit while mowing the median on Broadmoor Avenue, south of M-6 in September. She was on her tractor when a driver hit her from behind. She believes distracted driving was a factor.
"From what I was told, I was thrown off the front of the tractor and then the tractor ran over top of me and then rolled again," said Meindertsma.
Since then, she has undergone seven weeks of therapy to help her recover from a broken neck. Doctors also performed a skin graft by taking a piece of skin from her thigh and grafting it to her foot, which was injured from the tractor blades during the accident. She barely had any of her own skin remaining and doctors have fought hard to keep her foot rather than opt for amputation.
"I’m going to do everything I can to keep this foot. I pushed everything I could to do exactly that. If there were therapies that I could do to make that stronger, I did [them]," said Meindertsma.
She will stay in her neck brace for another 6 weeks. She will not be able to bear any weight on her right foot for several more months.
"It ain’t easy. I’m going to tell you that it’s not easy, but you just have to keep fighting on."
Her care team at Mary Free Bed will continue working alongside her in the clinic.
"I’m really proud of her. She’s come a long way since she first came here and she has done a really wonderful job," said Dr. Jonathan Vandenberg, Attending Physiatrist.
As Sue continues her recovery, she hopes to continue raising awareness about the importance of staying alert behind the wheel.
"That’s probably going to be one of those things that I am going to really press for in the future - is bringing more awareness to distracted driving."