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Sky's the Limit

Deborah BartonFor 61-year-old Deborah Barton, even the sky may not be the limit!

While most at age 61 are beginning to settle down and learning to relax a little as they near retirement, Deborah is on the go - literally! She is passionate about bike riding, and we're not just talking about a short ride around the neighborhood or across town. Deborah likes to go a little farther - like 192 miles in one day or 500 miles in a week.

Deborah and her friends had completed the 500 mile "Bike Georgia" in 2008 and were prepared to take on "Bike Virginia" in June last summer. They were excited and raring to go. Day one went smoothly and the women completed their ride as planned. On day two, things changed drastically for Deborah. As she rode on her bicycle through Virginia, Deborah was involved in a head-on collision with a car. Needless to say, the outcome looked grim. Deborah had broken two vertebrae in her neck, her nose, her clavicle, one arm, and three fingers. She also needed plastic surgery and 300 stitches on her face to repair the damage from the accident.

Kathy Langlotz, one of her friends, gave up her tour and stayed with Deborah through four days in the hospital. Deborah and many others wondered if she would ever ride again. The days and months ahead were hard for Deborah because her activities were limited by a neck collar, a cast on her arm, and splints on her fingers. She sat, unable to bike, watching the warm prime riding months pass her by. Her loving husband was her helper and driver throughout the summer. Local biking friends lifted her spirits with visits, flower, and baked goodies.

Deborah was not let this get her down, to work as hard as she needed to so she could get better and back on her bike. She began physical therapy eight weeks after the accident with St. Joseph Outpatient Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine Center and therapists Michael Perkins, Eric Gully and Missy Merritt. As standard protocol, one of the first questions the therapists asked Deborah was what her goals were with regard to recovery. She knew she had a lot of work to do and needed physical therapThe helmet and bike from her crashy on her hand, wrist, shoulder, neck, and needed to build up the strength in her core again.

Deborah's goal was to do a 40 mile ride by the end of her therapy. Upon hearing this, Michael Perkins, PT wondered if that was a realistic goal, but said, "I was determined to do all we could to help her reach her goals." Not surprising, by the end of her second week of therapy, Deborah had ridden her bike 90 miles in a weekend!

When Deborah arrived for her next to last therapy appointment, four months after the crash, she tossed a bag to her therapist as she entered the clinic. A little confused by what this was, and certainly intrigued, Eric Gully, PT, looked down to examine what she'd tossed to him. It was a bag full of gold medals! Deborah had competed in the Texas State Senior Olympic Games, and won four gold medals, even before her physical therapy regime was complete!

Deborah said that her recovery went so well mainly because of the personalized, custom-made plan of care from her therapists. They took the time to make sure she was challenged, all while being upbeat and positive about her progress. "I was delighted with the care I received. The staff truly cared about me, they were compassionate and dedicated to my recovery," said Deborah. "It was definitely a unique healthcare experience, and I am thankful for my happy ending."  

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