On the Road Again
Nancy Rumfield, 62, a Palmer resident and bus driver for the Easton Area School District, was in the passenger seat of her daughter’s car, and her granddaughter was in the back. They were driving through an intersection, heading home after a doctor’s appointment, when a car slammed into the right side of the vehicle. The impact was catastrophic, and Nancy was partially thrown from the car.
“He hit us so hard, our shoes were knocked off our feet,” says Nancy.
Nancy was rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem. There, doctors explained that she had suffered numerous serious injuries. It seemed as if everything was broken, including her shoulder, hip, femur, hand, foot and seven ribs. Her spleen was severed and her lung was collapsed.
“I can’t even explain the excruciating pain I had,” she says.
Lying in the hospital on that winter day, the road to recovery – and back to her bus route – seemed impossibly long.
After one month in the acute-care hospital, Nancy was transferred to Good Shepherd Rehabilitation at Easton Hospital . When she came to Good Shepherd, Nancy could not sit up, she was on oxygen and she could not do many of the things others take for granted.
At Good Shepherd, she learned to sit up and then walk; she learned to feed herself, and bathe herself and fold her clothes and write. After one month, Nancy was walking again with the help of a walker, and she was ready to go home.
“At Good Shepherd, they had to teach me how to take care of myself again,” says Nancy. “They did it, and they did it in a way that I kept my dignity. They took me under their wings. They were so kind.”
Following one month of homecare, Nancy began receiving outpatient therapy, first at Good Shepherd Physical Therapy-Easton Hospital , and then at the newly opened Good Shepherd Physical Therapy-Bethlehem Township, located in Easton Hospital’s Priority Care at Emrick facility. Over the next several months, Nancy worked with the clinicians at Good Shepherd to build her strength and to prepare to get back into life.
“I wanted to live,” says Nancy. “I wanted to get back to work. That was my goal.”
Months later, Nancy was behind the wheel of her Easton Area School District bus once again. To her right sat her manager, who was evaluating Nancy to see if she could resume her driving duties. To prove that she was healthy enough to drive, Nancy took her manager on a road trip to the place that helped make it possible: Good Shepherd Physical Therapy-Bethlehem Township .
“I told Liz [Gaugler, PT, site manager ] that my recovery was like a story book, and the last chapter was going to be written when I came back to show her that I was driving a school bus,” says Nancy. “I owe Liz and the other therapists at Good Shepherd so much, and I wanted them to share in that moment.”
Nancy passed the road test, and 11 months after the accident she was back to work full time.
“I’m so lucky to be alive,” says Nancy. “The team at Good Shepherd was phenomenal. I would never go anywhere else for therapy. I tell everyone now: If you need rehabilitation, you’ve got to go to Good Shepherd.”