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Samantha Hodge Blog No. 3

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Why am I a redshirt senior?

My sophomore year in college I struggled through the season with a nagging knee injury. After the season, and mass amounts of rest, it was decided that patella surgery would have to be performed, but it was pretty basic.

I should have been playing full force again within 10 weeks. Well, the 10 weeks turned into about 59 weeks.

A few days after the original surgery on February 23, 2010, I went back into the ER for an emergency surgery for a disease cleansing surgery. I had been diagnosed with MRSA-Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This is an antibiotic resistant infection, which is lethal if not caught and treated early enough.

I was put on medication after surgery through a permanent IV called a PICC line. I was convinced I would complete the school year, but after another week of rest, a continuous fever of over 100 degrees, and not feeling any better at all, I decided to take a medical waiver from school and go home with my parents.

Saying goodbye to my team that day was one of the worst days- I was determined to see them again, but didn't know how long it would be.

That night I slept in my own bed only to wake up to yet another high fever and horrible chest pain. I was convinced I was having a heart attack. My mom was adamant that it was indigestion so I drank what seemed like a two liter full of diet coke, which ended in very little relief.

I was for sure that it was more serious than indigestion. Unfortunately, I was correct. I went back to the hospital and was lined up to meet my new knee doctor as well as an infectious disease doctor.  With their collaboration and expertise -and another surgery- they had found that my body was rejecting the medicine I had been taking because I was allergic to it. That explained the continuous fever.

They also explained to me that because my body was fighting off the medicine, that the MRSA was spreading and another surgery would be necessary in a few days- surgery #4!! They finally found a medicine my body would accept after two more trials. I don't have any allergies on my record now except for all of these strong antibiotics.

So finally, I start to feel better but am posted up in the hospital bed for what seemed like forever. I was so appreciative of friends that came to visit and daily skype dates with loved ones back in North Carolina. I never realized how much I could miss Cullowhee, but during this time of complete bed rest, I quickly became appreciate of my Catamount family.

Once I got back to my own home, it was a pretty standard routine. I would wake up and do therapy on my knee by myself. I would then watch never ending repeats of Law and Order: SVU and Family Feud, and I would also go to the physical therapist for hours on hours to try and rehabilitate my knee from the original reason I had surgery.

At this time I was unable to walk without assistance. I had a very decorated walker that I sported; it had a bell, basket, and ribbons! But I wanted to get off that thing so badly. I wanted nothing more than to walk again. It was a process to reach that goal.

My physical therapists worked tirelessly to improve my leg strength and teach me how to walk again. In addition to all of the therapy, I was also working on gaining weight back. Laying around for two months, not walking, and stressing over my health caused me to lose a total of 48 pounds. I was disgustingly skinny- you could see every bone in my body. My leg was as small as my arm. I had lost all muscle in my body.

After a few weeks of intense therapy, my leg was not getting any better. It was not straightening or bending. It was stuck at a certain angle from not moving it for so long while dealing with the infection. My doctor decided to go back in for another surgery (#5) to clean out built up cartilage and check on the infection. The surgery was seemingly successful but needed another one a short time later (#6).

By this time I was convinced I had made it through all of the surgeries. I had completed six surgeries, I was gaining weight, and I was beginning to walk a little bit more without my walker. I was doing well at physical therapy. I felt like I was making great strides, and I was.

However, these big strides forward soon came to a halt, and I had little to no progress for quite awhile. My knee was still in need of another surgery (#7). I recovered again from surgery, but again to a few steps forward in therapy and then five steps backwards. The doctor, physical therapist, my mom, and myself had a conversation. It was stated that if I had another surgery and it was not successful in physical therapy recovery, I might not be able to ever run again. It would take a lot of hard work on my end to make sure I didn't take a single minute off. I had to do everything perfectly to put myself in the best position possible to recover correctly.

My last surgery was June 22, 2010. Eight surgeries in six months, a total of 35 days- five full weeks- in the hospital. I had a permanent IV and took IV antibiotics for over six months. I had cried countless hours in pain, fear, and mental and physical exhaustion. I did all of this and was able to show back up to school that next fall.

I still had numerous hours of physical therapy while being back at school. I was not running but was able to walk without the walker. I went to physical therapy three times a day.

My 21st birthday, April 14th, 2011, I was cleared to play soccer again. Tears of joy had never been a more appropriate expression.

My doctor had explained to me as he signed my release that this was a release he thought he would never sign. He was amazed that I had recovered from such a horrendous nightmare and was going to play again. I told him that I couldn't not play again- I had to have the ball at my feet.

This past season, I started every game and helped my team reach the SoCon tournament. I plan to do the same in my last season of eligibility. Can't wait to get the season started in a few days. 

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    Preston Jacobsen said:

    Nice mention Taylor! Us Left Field Loonies will certainly be ready! We are working on a website as we speak and looking to get sponsored by a few local companies! Omaha! Omaha! Big goals.

    in post Baseball's Taylor Sandefur Blog No. 1