Rosemary Botes, West Chester PA

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Rosemary Botes, West Chester PA

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Little did I know the impact that the fateful trip I would be making with my son Nick on the morning of September 30, 1999, would have on my life. I cannot remember anything about the trip or the horrific accident that happened. The ensuing panic that this would cause in not only my own family’s life, but also in that of my friends, church members and other members of the community, would only later become clear to me.

I ended up comatose in the Intensive care unit of the Chester Crozer Trauma unit, with multiple injuries. I had internal bleeding from a ruptured spleen, a collapsed lung, two broken forearm bones, a severe brain injury, and a fractured skull, pelvis, and cervical vertebrae. I have been told that I was on a ventilator, brain pressure monitor, and abdominal feeding tube mainly. My husband who was in Connecticut on business, was told that I only had a 5% chance of survival when he contacted the doctors in charge of my case. A prayer chain was immediately set in motion by my church, and my pastors rallied round my family and friends that were holding vigil at the hospital and at my bedside.

My first recollection of anything was when I arrived at the Main Line Rehab Center. I still could not remember any details of the accident or how I got to be in hospital. As my family told me over and over what had happened and showed me pictures and videos of the wreckage, I came to understand that I had indeed been in a horrific accident, and that it was only by the grace of God, and the prayers that were daily said for me, that I had survived. I now know what it is like to be totally dependent on a wheelchair and a walker, and be cared for like a baby, fed, bathed, and clothed and to have to learn to walk from scratch. I was released from Main Line for further treatment on a out- patient basis at Bryn Mawr Rehab Center.

My experience at the Bryn Mawr Rehab is a bit clearer in my own mind, as I was more aware of what was going on around me, though my short term memory was still a problem. After 3 weeks of intensive therapy, with the help of the staff I found that I had the willpower to push myself slightly harder each time I had therapy.

After I left Bryn Mawr I had a therapy program set up for me for an additional month at home. With the help of an occupational therapist friend, and other friends who were willing to work with me on a daily basis in groups, I went from strength to strength.

Now just over a year later lack of concentration is still a big problem that I have to deal with on a daily basis. I have to concentrate much more on everyday activities that I so often took for granted. My eyesight is still something I have to be aware of, but the renewal of my heart is indescribable and I know now what true inner-peace means. This experience has made me aware of just how fragile life is, and just how important faith is in my life. I had thought that I was a Christian, and I attended church on a regular basis, as well as bible studies, and other church activities. With this second chance in my life, I now know what faith and belief in God really is. He has showed me personally that He is in control of my life, and is my personal Savior. I now have a personal conviction that He wants me to help others understand that they must not take life for granted, or just give up. With hard work and dedication, He can bring you through difficult times.

This life-changing experience has brought about a desire in me to help others in every aspect that I can. I am involved in nursing home visitations, prison ministry, and I when I become aware of a need in the community that I live in I try to help to the best of my ability.

I would like to use this opportunity of expressing my sincere gratitude to all who had a hand in my recovery. The doctors, the nursing staff, therapists, family, friends, and my church for never giving up on me, or allowing me to wallow in self-pity. With all their help and understanding I am able to be a testimony of God’s grace.

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