A Grand Rapids woman who survived a horrific car crash this past February has gone from being paralyzed to walking on her own.
The crash happened right before the state shut down due to COVID-19.
Despite those additional obstacles, her therapists at Mary Free Bed say her recovery speed and attitude is remarkable.
That February 19th morning was a defining one for Kim Laskus.
She said, “A girl fell asleep, crossed the centerline and hit me head on. Then, she threw me into the path of a city bus.”
Laskus spent a week in the Intensive Care Unit on a ventilator, when she was finally able to speak, she wanted to know one thing.
“I said ‘Is it my fault, and is everyone all right?’”
The other driver didn’t survive and Laskus suffered 16 different injuries.
She said, “I broke my neck, I broke some vertebrae, I broke my elbow, I broke my ribs, I broke my hip, broke my femur, my patella i have a rod in my leg.”
All of that, plus a spinal cord and brain injury.
8 days later, still on a ventilator, Laskus moved to Mary Free Bed.
“I was a total quadriplegic. I could only move my head, which was very scary,”Laskus said.
The next two months would be filled with intense speech, occupational, and physical therapy. The improvements started small at first; being able to scratch her own nose, eventually, walking.
Laskus said, “I started crying. I was like ‘I can walk, I can walk,’ after all those weeks of ‘Please God, please God, let me be able to walk.’”
If you ask the team of therapists at Mary Free Bed, they say Laskus’ positive attitude made all the difference.
Jessica Lewis, one of the occupational therapists Laskus worked with said, “Her motivation, her demeanor, her willingness to work on whatever challenge we brought her, she was willing to face it.”
Lewis called Laskus’ recovery, remarkable.
“She went from being dependent on everything, to by the time she left here a couple months later, she was pretty much fully independent with all of her mobility and self-care,” Lewis said.
Laskus found she’d have to lean heavily on her positive attitude to get her through some tough restrictions due to COVID-19, including not being able to have visitors at one point.
She said, “That was very hard, it was so hard.”
Laskus was able to leave Mary Free Bed in April using a walker, but the world she once knew, was now much different.
She said, “So many things! I would say ‘Let’s go in here,’ ‘No, it’s closed because of COVID, you can’t do that,’ or any place we went ‘Well, don’t forget your mask.’ Where everyone was so used to it by that time, I had to learn it all.”
Laskus is still working to regain full use of her upper bod and continues to draw strength from her family and keeps reminders from her time at Mary Free Bed around the house, including a T-shirt signed by all the staff members at the hospital.
“Sometimes, I’ll just read some of the things and it’s just a comfort,” she said.
At a time when the world seems upside down, Laskus says her biggest motivational phrase that got her through this ordeal, can ring true for everyone right now.
“Faith over fear,” she said “Just have the faith over the fear.”