Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Rachel's Story

My name is Rachel. I am involved with TSN at UT Medical Center in Knoxville, TN. On September 16th, 2013, I was on my way back to work. I had been at a post-natal doctor’s appointment in Knoxville, TN since having my son on June 18th of that same year. Heading back on the interstate I rear-ended a trailer on an 18- wheeler. It’s unsure if I passed out, the truck crossed in front of me, etc., because we were coming up on bridge work they were doing, and should not have been traveling very fast. They estimated I hit him doing about 80 mph, while he was virtually going less than 20 mph. My accident was actually called in as a fatality, due to the visual assumption of those that witnessed it. I was extricated from my SUV, and flown by LifeStar to UT Medical Center. This left me with MULTIPLE life- threatening injuries. I was “touch and go” for a few days, and don’t have much memory at all of anything, until about 5 or 6 weeks later. Among my injuries were a shattered right elbow that had to be reconstructed using metal and screws, a broken left forearm, busted chin, broken nose and left cheek bone, several broken ribs, a fractured hip, and broken femur.

I wanted to recover, but I also wanted to get back home with my baby boy. Being as stubborn and hard headed as I am, I was determined to get out of the hospital as soon as possible! I had EXCELLENT care while in the hospital, and also while I was in rehab at Patricia Neal. If it weren't for the good Lord above, and my caretakers, both family and friends, but also nurses, therapists, doctors, etc., I wouldn't be where I am today. They pushed me, both physically and emotionally, to do everything I could to better myself and get back to my baby. Therapy helped me regain my ability to do anything some would say were simple, all the way up to something as emotional and meaningful as holding my baby boy! I can now do pretty much anything that I want to!

If I could offer advice to trauma patients, I would say keep your head up! You CAN, and WILL get better if you just try. You may have to push yourself to an uncomfortable zone, but sometimes that’s the ONLY way it will happen. There were several times I failed in therapy sessions, but I was too stubborn to let myself give up. Nobody can do it for you, so push yourself!