Christa Sexton never imagined that a leisurely afternoon motorcycle ride would lead to the fight of her life. Christa, a single 20-year old certified nursing assistant and mother to two-month-old Carter, was a passenger on a motorcycle that was hit by a fire truck. Christa was thrown head first into the fire truck, causing an incomplete spinal cord injury.
Christa’s injury left her as a tetraplegic, without the ability to move her legs, use her hands or sit up on her own. After her stay in
the acute care hospital, Christa chose HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital for rehabilitation to give her the best chance of regaining movement and a sense of independence.
At the beginning of her personalized rehabilitation program, Christa was unable to feed, dress, groom, bathe, toilet or transfer herself, much less care for her baby, Carter. As a new mom, this frustrated her to no end. All she wanted was to care for her son and be the mother she was so excited to be. Depression hit Christa hard in the beginning and, in her words, “I was a moody, emotional ball of fire at times.” Christa began to use Carter as her inspiration– the driving force to help her fight every day, working through her three hours of therapy.
“When I came to HealthSouth, I knew it was the right decision for my path to physical and emotional recovery. HealthSouth was very sensitive and receptive to my wants and needs, and also knowledgeable in what I needed to do to reach my goals. When I felt like giving up, the therapists, nurses, techs and doctors were always there to push me and help me with each hurdle and struggle.”
“My therapists even allowed me to use my son in parts of my therapy sessions,” Christa says. “Because of them, I was able to learn to feed my infant and change his diapers without the use of my fingers; we even practiced sitting and balancing together!”
Advanced technologies like HealthSouth’s own AutoAmbulator® helped Christa improve physically and emotionally. Going from not even being able to sit up without passing out, to now standing and moving with the AutoAmbulator, showed Christa that her hard work was paying off with visible progress.
With an outstanding rehabilitation team and the determination to get back to her son, Christa returned home after six weeks at HealthSouth. Through the use of a power wheelchair and her tenodesis grasp, she reached her goal of caring for Carter.
Today, Christa has minimal assistance from caregivers for her activities of daily living. She dresses and feeds her now three-year-old son, and drives him to daycare through the use of hand controls in her own vehicle. She owns her own house and works two jobs, while also attending college.
“I am very successful, all thanks to those who pushed me, even when I was being difficult,” Christa says. “HealthSouth made a tremendous impact on my–and my son’s–future.”