Carla went from a coma to quilting…

Only Southern Illinois Healthcare has a long-standing alliance with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) giving you access to expert care. RIC has earned the ranking of “Best Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by US. News & World Report since 1991.

To find a Rehabilitation location, call 800.597.5790.

In the not— too— distant past, Carla Shasteen found herself in a situation that none of us ever hopes to be in. It was an icy day in January, when Carla was driving her car on an Indiana highway just finishing up a day’s work selling quilting fabric in Indianapolis. Suddenly, she hit a patch of ice, lost control of her vehicle and ended up in a lane of oncoming traffic. The driver in the other vehicle was also having trouble controlling their vehicle and ran directly into Carla’s car.

It took workers nearly an hour to cut Carla out of her car. She was taken to a hospital in Indianapolis, where she fell into a coma. Due to the extent of her injuries, a few days later doctors recommended that she be taken off of life support, but her mother, Delores “Dee” Arnsmeyer, wasn’t ready to give up! Despite having several strokes, a collapsed lung, six broken ribs and a broken arm, Carla’s mother decided to give her daughter 30 days to wake up from her coma.

Carla’s Recovery Journey Began

Against all odds, Carla did wake up on day 27. As Carla explains, “That’s when the real work began.” She was transferred to the Acute Rehabilitation Center at Herrin Hospital where she began her recovery journey.

In those first few weeks, Dr. Terrence Glennon, a physiatrist of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Herrin Hospital asked Carla: What was her goal? What did she want to get back to doing? She answered—quilting!

In the course of learning to walk, talk and eat again, one nurse told her, “It’s like God came down and pressed the reset button on your head.”

Hope Inspired Success

It was a long journey and at one point an occupational therapist offered to bring in a sewing machine for Carla to practice her newly relearned skills. “It meant the world to me! Offering to do that just gave me so much hope!”

Shasteen eventually made it to the point that she was able to return home. After that, she continued her rehabilitation efforts at Rehab Unlimited where she primarily focused on physical and occupational therapy.

Carla added that, from all of the countless helping hands throughout her rehabilitation journey, that one occupational therapist stood out her mind, Jennifer Aspen. Aspen helped Carla relearn fine motor skills like buttoning and regaining her sense of balance. Carla said that Aspen encouraged her to ask questions and really listened to her concerns.

Reaching Her Goal

At the end of this remarkable journey and after nine months of outpatient therapy, Carla was talking, walking, writing and even quilting again. She says, “It was an absolutely incredible experience! If people are willing, the folks at Rehab can really help them achieve their goal. It’s with their help, my mother and my family that I am where I am today!”

To give back, Carla and her mother make quilts that they raffle off to raise money for the Carla Shasteen Scholarship Fund for Herrin High School seniors who plan to pursue careers in physical, occupational, speech therapies or rehabilitation nursing. The fund has provided two $1,000 scholarships the past two years.

To find a Rehabilitation location, call 800.597.5790.