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Rosie Thiessen

Rosie Thiessen



In early 2017, I was in an automobile accident while driving on the 5 freeway toward San Diego. My injuries left me with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) that resulted in a coma of several months. Upon returning home, I was in a wheelchair and used a walker. I was able to write my name, but that’s about all as I had serious deficits in memory, cognition, executive function, and social skills. I was faced with the overwhelming task of rebuilding my mental, physical, and social abilities. As a result of the injury I lost my job, my apartment, my relationship, my friends, my career, my ability to eat independently, read, write, and to control and move my body as I wished. I was 25 years old.

The rehabilitation of the brain is so extremely complex, time consuming, and unique to the individual that it ranks as the most expensive long-term rehabilitation treatment with no agreed upon protocols. The insurance provided 3 months of once-a-week outpatient physical therapy. We found out at the end of the three months that the person assigned to me was an intern with no previous experience with TBI survivors. Since nerve repair can take a very long time, brain injuries require years to rehabilitate, not months. I knew I would need lots of physical therapy, so my family began to look for a long-term provider. Our family doctor mentioned Coury & Buehler Physical Therapy and I began going to the Irvine location in the fall of 2017.

Before my accident, I had no experience with any of the therapies which are now a part of my daily life. I did not understand what therapists do and how they can help. I had no expectations. Some of the earliest therapies and therapists who helped me in the first few months after my accident, I can’t remember. The first few months were not easy at C&B. I was easily frustrated and embarrassed that I could not make my body do what had always been easy for me. I have always been athletic and am a former collegiate swimmer and here I had to overcome my fear of even stepping into a pool, let alone relearning how to swim again. I was not always easy to work with, by the way, so thank you to C&B always treating me in a professional manner even when I was not at my best.

David Hirchman, PT, DPT and his team have done so much to help me. I have come to trust David and appreciate his knowledge. Over time, I have formed a partnership with David and his team. We are still working together to help me continue to improve.

Pain was never an issue with me. Regaining strength, flexibility, control, skill, and confidence in my physical abilities were and are my goals. When I started coming to C&B, I was unable to walk very well, less than two years later I can walk and hike (11 miles), run (still working on lengthening my stride), and shoot baskets like I used to. I ride a three-wheel bike, I am learning to surf, my hand grip strength has steadily improved, and I have just participated in a one-mile ocean swim race. I look forward to adding back more physical activities as time goes on.

C&B has been one of the many good things which have happened to me since my accident. No one wants to have bad things happen or expect them to, but if you find yourself in a position where you need help, you need to create a great team to assist you. My faith and C&B have helped me move forward with my rehabilitation and my life.

C&B has been one of the many good things which have happened to me since my accident.

– Rosie Thiessen