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Thursday, May 23, 2013

MORC therapy restores health after biker hits mountain side

A 62-year-old retired teacher remembers lying unconscious with her body severely injured after losing consciousness while riding a motorcycle and crashing into a mountain at Medicine Wheel Passage near Lovell, Wyo., last July 4th.

“I guess I passed out while riding my Harley from dehydration and altitude sickness,” said Marlene Mohan, a retired Utica teacher who occasionally subs in the classroom and lives in Sterling Heights.

“My husband was riding behind me. He said I drove off the side of the road, hit a sign and then the mountain,” Mohan said.

She suffered a broken pelvis and nose and had fractures to her ribs. The pain woke her up after a short time on the ground, she said.

But Mohan was lucky. The first car her husband, John, said came over the Rocky Mountain pass was driven by a doctor. The physician gave her emergency treatment to stabilize her vital functions and called EMS, she said.

“It took the emergency medical workers 45 minutes to get up there,” said Mohan who spent most of her career teaching at Bemis Junior High School in Macomb County.

After three days of being treated at North Big Horn Hospital in Lovell, Mahon and her husband flew back to Detroit.

“It was a very painful journey. It took 13 hours to get home, but everyone at Detroit Metro Airport was great.”

Mohan’s 2012 Harley was totaled. It was sent home a while after she started the road to recovery.

Mohan chose to have physical therapy at the rehab facility at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center in Clinton Township. The facilities include traditional physical therapy equipment and a zero-entry pool where a recovering patient can learn again to bear weight.

 “I have probably got 90 percent (of my strength) back,” said Mohan after describing how she had six-and-a-half-months of physical therapy by aquatic and physical therapist at MORC, including physical therapist Jennifer Krieter and physical therapist assistants Janice Brackenbury and Vicki Helhowski.

“Everybody worked together,” she noted.

Mohan did therapy three days a week, twice a week in the pool and once in a normal p.t. room.

“I did my exercises at home as told to do,” she said. “That was the whole thing. I pushed through. They (therapists) encouraged me to work out at a gym and I did. There were days I really was ready to give up, but I am back in the saddle again, on my brand new Harley-Davidson.”

Jerry Wolffe is the Disability Rights Advocate at Large/Writer in Residence at MORC. He can be reached at 586 263 8950.