Spinal cord injury
Jill Allford’s family had been enjoying Thanksgiving night around the fire pit when, walking up the hill toward the gathering, she tripped and broke her neck on the rock wall surrounding the pit. “I [soon] found out that all my family and friends consider me stubborn and tough,” said Jill, a retired firefighter, wife and grandmother.
“Interesting part of that was that my niece’s husband was an ICU doctor and me and my husband are retired firefighters, so we knew what to do with a broken neck,” she recalled after the accident.
After undergoing surgery, Jill spent nearly two weeks in the hospital. Her accident left her unable to walk or use her arms. To regain her independence and return to her beloved garden and painting studio, she needed expert therapy. Her choice was Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Lakeway. “It came highly recommended, from the nurses we knew, for spinal cord injury,” she remembered. “It was also close to the house, so my husband could be there with me.”
The physician-led therapy team at BSWIR – Lakeway developed a treatment plan aimed at helping Jill get “back to the person that I was before the accident.”
Jill’s physical therapy included stretching exercises to increase her range of motion. “Those can be painful, but useful,” she said. Jill practiced balance exercises in preparation for standing and walking. Then her therapists had her practice walking on various surfaces so she would be safe no matter the terrain. “I loved the GK3 massage machine. It was used on my hands and feet,” Jill said.
All that work led to a major milestone achievement for Jill. “I stood up,” she joyfully recalled.
Despite her reputation for being stubborn and tough, a little extra support can go a long way in physical therapy, and Jill’s husband was there from the very beginning. “My husband was with me every day,” she said. “He participated and learned therapies that we can do by ourselves. I could not have made so much progress without him.”
With her stay at BSWIR – Lakeway ending, Jill was looking forward to being in her own house again. She continued her rehabilitation journey on an outpatient basis, but she won’t soon forget her time at BSWIR – Lakeway.
“I was inspired to work hard by the therapists,” she said. I can’t say enough good about the therapists—they surprised me, themselves and everyone by how quickly I improved.”