Two years after discharge from Craig Hospital, the exact time her therapists, nurses, and doctor predicted she would make major life change, Kirsten Steinke moved out of her parent’s home and started a new job. The journey, however, was not easy and Kirsten’s positive outcome is a result of her hard work and the dedication and expertise of Craig Hospital.
On her honeymoon in New Zealand, Kirsten Steinke and her husband, Kallan, were in a tragic car crash as their vehicle collided with a cement truck. Kallan was pronounced dead at the scene while Kirsten was rushed to a local intensive care unit. “My parents were told that they could come visit me in New Zealand but were warned that, with the severity of my brain injury, I probably wouldn’t live and that if I did, I would be in a vegetative state for the rest of my life.” After two weeks, Kirsten regained consciousness and weeks later she returned to the United States.
Filled with hope for their daughter’s future, Kirsten’s parents, Gerri and Jim, researched the best brain injury hospitals in the United States and learned that Craig Hospital was just down the road from where they lived in Highlands Ranch, CO. They knew Craig Hospital was where Kirsten would make strides in her rehabilitation. Kirsten was admitted to Craig in October, 2012. While at Craig, Kirsten relearned to do what once seemed so natural. Through speech and physical therapies, she relearned to walk and talk. Kirsten participated in Therapeutic Recreation (T-Rec) and one of her favorite memories was going Christmas shopping on a T-Rec outing and being able to buy gourmet coffee and creamers for them as a pre-Christmas surprise. “My parents were so supportive during my rehabilitation and this was the first time I was able to do something for them,” Kirsten says. Kirsten discharged a few days before Christmas, happy to go home for the holidays. Soon after, Kirsten began outpatient occupational therapy at Craig.