Tue 1 Sep 2009
Linda Petersen in a wheelchair at North Beach Aug. 23, the day after she came home to West Marin. (Photo by her daughter Saskia van der Wal)
It’s been fascinating to watch the story of Linda Petersen’s car wreck, surgery, hospitalization, and homecoming spread around the globe. Not only have her friends and relatives overseas been following online the progress of her recovery, the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors last month published one of my postings about her. Now Google has taken the story to a whole new level.
Linda, who is the advertising manager for The West Marin Citizen, 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.
She has now been home for 10 days after spending two and a half months hospitalized, the last seven weeks at the Rafael Convalescent Hospital in San Rafael.
For most of her time in the hospital, Linda had casts on both legs and on her left arm. Her head and neck were immobilized by a medical “halo” (right) made of steel and carbon.
Stuck on her back and able to move only her right hand, Linda chose to fight the tedium by getting back to work. Using her cell phone and email, Linda resumed selling ads for The Citizen. Thanks to the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors republishing my posting about this, the ad manager’s dedication to her job despite personal disaster is now known to some top-notch editors around the world.
In addition, The Citizen has printed other writing and photos from this blog concerning Linda’s recovery
As is typical of thumbnail photos online, readers were able to click on them to enlarge the images.
The most-surprising republication, however, was a Google image that Linda happened upon.
The medical halo which Linda wore for seven weeks had been extremely uncomfortable, so last weekend she went online to read about medical halos. Linda Googled “medical halo” and then clicked on “medical halo pictures.” As Linda later exclaimed, “What a surprise! That was me in one of them!”
The photo (at right) was taken from my Aug. 5 posting, which described Linda’s relief at getting rid of the halo. The posting included both the photo of Linda wearing the halo, which was screwed into her skull, and this photo of her wearing only a removable neck brace once the halo was no longer needed. To Linda’s further surprise, Google was using the wrong photo to illustrate medical halos.
Addendum: Four days after Linda noticed the mixup and a day after this posting went online, Google removed the incorrect photo for whatever reason. Linda, for her part, is much amused at having spent a week or two as an international, medical-halo model.