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September 24, 2013
Kate’s Kourage — a journey of faith
On June 17 life changed dramatically for Kate Jorgenson and her family when her arm was severely severed in a farm accident
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- Last June Kate, her brother Jack, and two friends were just returning to the Jorgenson’s farm place, a mile and a half east of Westbrook, after a day of rock picking. Kate and Jack were each driving a Ranger side by sides when the rig Kate was driving overturned on the road in front of their farm place.
The accident severed Kate’s left arm just above the elbow, but was barely attached. Jack who was behind her at the time came to her assistance and helped free her arm. Then they walked to the house and when they got there she was taken to the ER at Sanford Westbrook Medical Center, where she was treated and stabilized by Dr. Koehnan to be taken by air ambulance to North Memorial Hospital Trauma Center in the Twin Cities.
Her parents, Jim and Nikki, immediately took off for the cities. They were going through Saint Peter when they got a call from trauma center to request permission to start surgery.
While Kate was in the hospital Jim and Nikki and, after a while, Kate made daily entries on the Caring Bridge site set up for her.
There were many ups and downs for Kate and her family. After two weeks of good news and progress, on July first, it became evident that infection had set into the arm and surgeons said the infection had taken a turn for the worse and they would have to amputate Kate’s arm. Jim and Nikki explained to Kate that her arm had to be removed because it had become a poison to her body. Also it would continue to do bad things to the rest of her healthy body.
Kate said, “I am so blessed — I am glad that they didn’t let the poison get into the rest of my body — I don’t want to die.” She comforts us and tells us “don’t worry I will be fine.” Her strength comes from our Lord and Savior. Thanks be to God.
Since that time Kate has made remarkable progress and was able to come back home. She was released from the hospital July 7. Kate thought it would be nice to stay close to the hospital so they stayed with her aunt Jo and uncle Gord.
The next day Kate made it home and enjoyed sleeping in her bed and just being at home without the hospital routines.
On a return trip to the cities, for a check up, Kate thought she would like to go shopping at Target. She wanted to try on a pair of jeans — Nikki asked if she wanted her to help trying them on — Kate said “no I can do it myself — she is very independent!”
Kate has had to learn a lot of new things that most of us take for granted. For instance, she uses an adaptive tool that aids her in opening jar lids for cooking. She uses a Dycem Pad, it is a pad she can put her pad on to keep it from moving while she writes.
She has a special cutting board that is held in place with suction cups. It enables her to cut food or butter bread. She also has a special Rocking T knife to use to cut meat.
In school Kate has some devices to help her. She has a special cart similar to a rolling suit case to carry her supplies from room to room.
It appears there is not much she will not be able to do. Kate still plays basketball before school and has a pretty good shot to boot.
Kate still plays drums and takes piano lessons. She uses the peddles more but her teacher, Deb Warner, has her playing both the treble and bass clefs. There is music written for persons missing a limb.
She has had a lot of inspiration from other people with similar disabilities. She was particularly inspired by a basketball player named Zach who only has one arm. Zach got a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Florida. She said, “I hope I can meet him some day.”
Another goal of Kates is to be able to compete on the swim team next summer.
Kate will be receiving a prosthesis after her arm heals and the arm shrinks down to firm it up before they can start the process.
Jim said, “Every corner we turned we felt God’s presence. As it turned out it was a blessing for our family.
Her doctors will have to submit a plan for the procedure for fitting a prosthetic limb.
They will start out with a simple device for Kate for her to learn how to use it successfully before moving to a more advanced limb. The arm will have an electrical connection that will sense her muscle movement.
She will have Targeted Muscle Reinervation surgery which will help to power the Myoelectric limb so Kate will have a lot more movement in the arm. It will be a hybrid combination mechanical and electric limb.
Her lead doctor at Mayo, Dr. Carlson, is a plastic and hand surgeon who mainly works with amputees. Kate was referred to Dr. Carlson of Mayo Clinic by advance Arm Dynamics Maple Grove.
“We have seen many amazing things since we have been going to Mayo,” Jim said.
At the school staff picnic the kids were playing softball. “I cringed when Kate went up to bat, but she did just fine,” Nikki said. “It really has not slowed her down at all.”
They are probably down to one or two more surgeries — while she was in the hospital she had nine surgeries in 16 days.
“It was really tough for Kate going to surgery every other day until the last week. Once they amputated, the infection cleared up very quickly,” Nikki said.
When Kate left the hospital she thought she had only been there for three or four days.
The support they received from family, the doctors, and the community was overwhelming. The Caring Bridge site was a really great thing for them.
Kate was really encouraged to see the comments from so many people. “I didn’t know so many people cared,” she said. Kate was able to read it on her ipod.
When Kate found out the volleyball team was doing a benefit for her, she wanted to be involved. Kate came up with the slogans on the T-shirts that are already available. She wanted “Kates Kourage” on the front, and a slogan on the back. “Don’t tell me the skys the limit when there are footprints on the moon. Live with what you have.”
She was still in the hospital when she came up with the slogan. Her parents asked her where she came up with the slogan. She replied, “oh I just read or hearing it somewhere,”
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