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Brain injury patient Vicki Bowen

Brain injury patient Vicki Bowen

The evening of June 2, 2009 unfolded like any other for Todd and Vicki Bowen of Mount Pleasant. They went for a walk. They ate supper. Their son brought one of the grandkids over to visit.

Todd and Vicki went to bed about 9:30 p.m., expecting to wake up the next day like usual and head to work. Instead, Vicki awoke about 5:30 a.m. with a headache. When Todd came back from the bathroom, she started crying and then passed out cold.

He dialed 9-1-1. Thus began a journey through sickness and recovery for Vicki and Todd; one that brought them through surgery and intensive care to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids.

Vicki entered the inpatient brain injury program at Mary Free Bed after having brain surgery at Covenant Hospital in Saginaw. She was flown to Covenant from Central Michigan Community Hospital in Mount Pleasant, where the initial diagnosis was grim.

“They basically told me that she didn’t have much of a chance,” Todd says. Nearly a month of intensive care followed the initial surgery. It was a dark period. The prognosis was uncertain for Vicki, a 55-year-old special education teacher and mother of three grown daughters and a son with eight grandchildren between them.

Vicki recalls almost nothing from that time. “I don’t remember anything until I was in Mary Free Bed for a day or so,” she says.

On June 30, she began a rehabilitation schedule designed to help her regain functional motor and cognitive skills. Under the supervision of Dr. Robert K. Kreitsch, medical director of Mary Free Bed’s Brain Injury Program, Vicki had speech, physical, occupational and recreational therapies.

With lots of family help and support, she began to bounce back. Her recovery has been steady. Vicki went home Sept. 18 and her outpatient therapies have been winding down through the fall and winter.

“As far as I’m concerned, Saginaw saved her life and Mary Free Bed gave her back her life,” Todd says.

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