By John Landbeck

Five months after the car accident that landed him in UMMC's Shock Trauma, John Landbeck is making strides in his recovery, and credits the work of his caregivers as he reflects on the experience. He also thanks Ashley Tyner, the UMMC trauma nurse who pulled over to the side of the road to act as a first responder.

My memory of the accident, and the 4 weeks afterwards, is absent. The accident itself involved significant head trauma, which has robbed me of any memory of the event. I was in a coma for almost a month, so I don't remember anything until later July. By then, I had been transferred to the University of Maryland Rehabilitation and Orthopaedic Institute (UM Rehab).

John Landbeck - Shock Trauma Patient

Ashley, John, and his wife Jennilyn

However, my family has filled in the missing pieces. On several occasions I've gotten together with Ashley Tyner, the trauma nurse who first responded to my accident on the side of the road and gave care until the emergency medics arrived. The staff at UMMC gave me a tremendous amount of physical care. They taught my wife how to take care of my body, and gave her supplies to remove the many pieces of automobile glass, and clean the wounds from them.

I went through intensive therapy sessions at UM Rehab: walking, occupational, and health. After being able to go home, I continued to go to 4-6 therapy sessions each week in August. I have regained the ability to walk, climb and descend stairs, do dishes, and cook. I'm about 85% recovered in my ability to talk — I still mispronounce longer words, and still have to pause to remember names sometimes.

However, recovery can also be frustrating. I recall "knowing" certain things, knowing how to do or say certain things, and realizing that now I actually cannot remember them. But I've been carefully prepared for those moments by my care team, warned that these times would happen and to be patient with my process of re-learning. So, in that regard, I am more patient with the process.

I love moments when I experience complex emotions. I've been greatly comforted meeting people who are happy that I survived, and that I have recovered so much. On one visit to UMMC for a CT scan, I met a caregiver named Karen who was on the unit I was admitted to in June. She very kindly shared some things she remembered of my stay in June and July, and spoke about memories of my family who came to see me.

My son was admitted to Shock Trauma about 4 years ago and I have also read many news articles about UMMC since then. So, I knew quite a bit about the hospital before I was a patient. I love the community focus and the level of patient-centered care. I feel a great swell of gratitude and appreciation for the work done at UMMC. Now that I was saved personally, it makes my feelings about the hospital even more personal.