Aleah's StoryNov 9, 2022
“I was in a coma. When I woke up, I didn’t recognize my family or friends.”- Aleah Schroeder
Aleah Schroeder doesn’t remember much about July 14, 2021. She was in a car headed to her friend’s house when the driver lost control in the rain. The car crossed four lanes of expressway traffic, went up an embankment and flipped.
Aleah’s injuries were extensive: a broken back and neck, broken ribs and bruised lungs, a broken arm, an open wound and a torn patellar tendon on her knee and a brain injury. Doctors performed a spinal fusion and knee surgery. Ten days later, she was transferred to a trauma intensive care unit at a larger hospital, where she was on a ventilator for a few more weeks and had a second round of surgeries.
“I was in a coma for the first three weeks. When I came to, I couldn’t remember anything. I didn’t recognize my family or my friends. It was terrifying.”
Aleah’s family researched her best recovery options and decided to transfer her to DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM). When she arrived, she couldn’t walk or dress herself. She couldn’t swallow or talk, and her memory and words were slow.
Daily inpatient therapy helped her with swallowing, managing daily tasks, talking and remembering more. She was discharged home and continued with outpatient therapy at RIM Novi Center.
“RIM has made all the difference. I went from a wheelchair to not using anything. I now go to the gym all the time. I was really surprised by how quickly therapy helped.”
Aleah says the therapists kept her positive, made her laugh and taught her great things about patient care. Today, she’s using her nursing assistant degree by working part-time at a group home for the elderly and is at a community college. She hopes to transfer to Wayne State University to study social work.