Courage is defined as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, or pain without fear” by dictionary.com. Patients who display courage while receiving in-patient treatment at CCMH’s Physical Rehabilitation Center of Southwest Oklahoma can be nominated for the center’s Courage Award.
This year’s winner, Carla Clodfelter, had no idea she had been nominated for the award. Clodfelter landed in the in-patient rehab after an incident while hiking at Mount Scott with her family earlier this year.
“We were hiking down the side, and I stopped on the side of one of the boulders and thought, ‘probably you oughta sit down,’ and I didn’t,” she said. “I jumped off, and when I did, I heard it break, and I couldn’t get back up.”
She said multiple fire crews and refuge officials worked together to get her out of the rocky terrain and into the ambulance with a basket.
“Got to the hospital still thinking I probably have a sprain or something, and then find out that I’m going to go straight into emergency surgery,” Clodfelter said. “I went from having a great day to having to call my supervisor and tell her that I broke my leg, and I probably can’t go back to work Monday.”
She says that March day was just the beginning of a long process. Following her orthopedic surgery, where she got rods put in her leg that poked out of her leg, she had to go through in-patient physical and occupational therapy because she couldn’t put any weight on it.
“They taught me how to get around, how I could go to the restroom, how I can stand up and move around, they made this leg stronger so it could carry with no weight-bearing for a long time, and they basically showed you how to get dressed, how to take a shower…everything,” she said. “They were amazing.”
Tammy Palmer, an occupational therapist at the in-patient rehab unit, said their main goal is to get people where they can function in their homes. Clodfelter spent 12 days at the CCMH’s Physical Rehabilitation Center, and her resilience left a big impression on the staff.
“She never complained,” Palmer said. “She went through each stage of the rehab process and gave each step her absolute all, and she achieved every goal she set for herself, and what we set for her she blew past it, and we just felt like she was deserving.”
Palmer said a lot of the patients they get are fresh out of surgery. Their staff focuses on helping them heal and learn how to move and the basic skills based on what their injury is.
“People are scared, and they’re hurting, and you just have to explain it to them a step at a time, take it at their pace, and show them that it is possible,” Palmer said. “You are going to make it home, you will make it through this, and eventually, things will get back to normal.”
Clodfelter is seeing that. Following her stay, she finished in-home physical therapy, gotten the rods removed, had a knee replacement, underwent another surgery, started working again, and is now getting outpatient physical therapy at the hospital. Clodfelter said the support she has received from her friends, family, and co-workers at the Cancer Center of Southwest Oklahoma has helped her through each step of getting to walk again.
“It’s just something you never expect, but if it does happen to you, they make it where you can get better and get through it, and they do it with a smile on their face every day,” she said.