Tue 18 Aug 2009
West Marin Citizen ad manager Linda Petersen, who has been hospitalized since June 13, is scheduled to return to West Marin Saturday. She’s excited to be coming home, and many of us are quite happy for her.
Linda in the courtyard of the Rafael Convalescent Hospital this week.
Making possible Linda’s return is her rapid progress since the beginning of August when she got out of a steel-and-carbon halo that had immobilized her head and neck and then had casts taken off her right leg and left arm. She can now get in and out of a wheelchair on her own.
Linda suffered 11 broken ribs, two broken vertebrae, two broken ankles, a broken leg, a broken kneecap, a broken arm, and a punctured lung when she fell asleep at the wheel June 13 and hit a utility pole in Inverness.
Ever since then she’s been in a series of hospitals: Marin General, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, and (for a month and a half) the Rafael Convalescent Hospital in San Rafael.
Linda still cannot put any weight on her left leg, having shattered her left ankle and broken the left femur, which now has a permanent metal plate on it. She was already carrying a metal plate from a hip replacement in 2006, and today I happened to be present today when a Kaiser doctor looked over Linda’s x-rays and told her she will certainly trigger airport metal detectors from now on.
I had driven Linda from the convalescent hospital to Kaiser’s Terra Linda hospital for a CAT scan. It was the first time in two months Linda had been outside a hospital in an automobile and not an ambulance.
Because the procedure was brief and the day was warm, I suggested we stop for lunch at Sol Food, a Puerto Rican café, since Linda had lived in Puerto Rico for more than 20 years. Sol Food has two locations a block apart in San Rafael, and we chose the smaller one, which has a bit of a garden. It was Linda’s first chance in two months to enjoy the outside world, and she was as giddy as a prisoner just freed from Guantanamo.
And as of Saturday, Linda will be at home in the Old Point Reyes School House Compound across Highway 1 from West Marin School.
It will be a few weeks before Linda can cook for herself, and a number of her friends are volunteering to bring meals. West Marin Senior Services, which will provide dinners Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, has asked me to make up the schedule.
If any readers of this blog would like to also help out, they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org giving a first, second, and third choice for which meal(s), which day(s), they could provide. I’ll get back to them. Linda’s only request, by the way, is that the meals not be as bland as hospital food.