Brain Injury profile: Savannah SpicerPatient Experience
Mar 18, 2015
The Spicer girls were a very tight knit family of three. It was bittersweet as oldest daughter Savannah packed up her car to head to Tallahassee for the start of the fall semester at Florida State University. Her mom Sherri and younger sister Delaney hugged her goodbye. The drive back would change all of their lives.
As Savannah was driving from Orlando to Tallahassee, her tire blew. She lost control of the car and it flipped several times before landing in the median. When the phone rang, her sister saw Savannah’s number and thought she was calling to say she arrived.
An unfamiliar voice said “Do you know the person who owns this phone?” It was a bystander who had witnessed the accident and picked up Savannah’s phone amidst the wreckage. Her mom and sister immediately jumped in the car for the four hour drive to Tallahassee, not knowing if they’d ever see her alive again.
“I chose Brooks because they were able to offer everything Savannah needed. I saw no reason to take her someplace even further away,”
Savannah was airlifted to Tallahassee Memorial. She suffered both brain and spinal cord injuries. Savannah was having trouble breathing on her own, she was put on a ventilator and sedated. She underwent surgery for a broken vertebra in her back.
Sherri and Delaney stayed by Savannah’s side but they both knew Delaney needed to get back to school herself. As a mother, Sherri was torn. She knew both of her daughters needed her but she couldn’t be in two places at once. When presented with options for rehabilitation, Sherri met with representatives from a facility in Atlanta, GA and from Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, FL. “I chose Brooks because they were able to offer everything Savannah needed. I saw no reason to take her someplace even further away,” said Sherri.
Savannah doesn’t remember her time in Tallahassee or her first week at Brooks. When she arrived, she was confused, disoriented, had trouble speaking, and couldn’t walk. Initially, she struggled to attend therapy sessions because she was in so much pain.
“Once she started talking again, she never stopped,” Sherri said with a laugh.
Little by little, the intensive therapy started to pay off. The Savannah that Sherri knew started to return. She began to speak again, “Once she started talking again, she never stopped,” Sherri said with a laugh. Then, the week before she was heading home, she took her first steps
Once back home, the Spicers were unsure what challenges they still faced. Savannah thought she might need to transfer to a school closer to home. Would she even be able to go back?
With the love and support of her family, and her own perseverance, Savannah continues to make tremendous steps; literally and figuratively. She is planning to head back to FSU in May…with a change in major to Occupational Therapy.