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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Norfolk woman continues to make strong progress after spinal cord injury

October 28, 2022

While crossing the street after leaving a Fourth of July fireworks show, Cami Story was hit by an SUV. The accident left her with a spinal cord injury, a broken clavicle and lacerations to her feet and head. First-responders life-flighted the Norfolk native to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Two weeks later, Cami came to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals unable to feel her fingers or toes.

"I don't believe I had any function as far as my upper body at all," Cami said. "I need all of my upper body strength, and I need all of my core strength just to do everyday things, which when arrived here, I couldn't do any of those things.”

She spent more than two months continuing her remarkable recovery in Madonna’s specialized spinal cord injury program, a place she said was perfect for her.

“We just knew that we wanted to go to Madonna,” Cami said. “My husband and my family knew where they wanted me.”

Dr. Paul Krabbenhoft, the medical director for Madonna’s spinal cord injury program, worked closely with Cami to help manage her Medical condition and overall health during her rehabilitation journey. At first, Dr. Krabbenhoft noticed she struggled to manage her blood pressure, which is a common complication for spinal cord injury patients.

“From the get-go, we’re aggressive with the medications, with the treatments like abdominal binders, compression stockings, different things we were able to gradually add, and finally, we were able to get that blood pressure under good control where [it] wasn’t an issue anymore,” Krabbenhoft said. “She was able to participate fully [in therapy] without getting lightheaded and woozy.”

Thanks to the combination of daily doctor visits and hours of intense physical and occupational therapy, Cami quickly saw progress. She credits much of that momentum to Madonna’s specialized technology, such as the Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike.

“I am lucky to use so much technology,” Cami said. “The bike I really liked because it triggered my nerves; I could feel it working.”

Cami worked hard during every therapy session, and her results showed.

"Anytime that I go back to a physical therapy session or an OT session, I realize I did get stronger the day before,” Cami said. “So that's when you think, 'I'm going to be able to do this. I know I can do this.'"

In the coming months, Cami hopes to get strong enough to hold her grandchild, and she thanks her entire Madonna care team for giving her “what it takes” to live her new normal.

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