Marian's Story

Marian wearing gold hoop earrings and smiling

In January, Marian Kalman, a psychologist with a busy Orange County, CA practice, fell and broke her wrist. She wore a cast, the wrist healed, and she moved forward. Three months later, she collapsed and lay paralyzed from the waist down. Turns out, during Marian’s original fall, she fractured a vertebra, which caused a bone fragment to press into her spinal cord leading to the paralysis.

The next step for Marian was emergency spinal decompression surgery at Cedars-Sinai. From there, she was admitted to the California Rehabilitation Institute, where a team of physicians, rehabilitation nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists and others helped her regain function and learn to walk again.

She anticipated a physical challenge. The emotional toll of her injury surprised her. Typically levelheaded, she found herself anxious. Who’d run her practice? Who’d care for the home and cat she loved? She was thankful the California Rehabilitation Institute provided tools to regain control of her life, both emotionally and physically.

She underwent a battery of cognitive tests and talked through her feelings with a staff psychologist. She reached out for support from family and friends, who managed things back home. 
According to Marian, “It was a bit of ‘physician, heal thyself.’ Once I got it into my head that I needed to be here, I did everything I could to get better.”

Being in the right frame of mind was important, she said, because the smallest actions took a lot of work. Just getting proper foot placement down took several sessions.

“I never realized there was so much that went in to learning how to walk,” Marian said. “But then I got up on a Monday and my foot worked.”

Though she faces at least one more surgery, Marian is mobile, working again and grateful for the help she received at California Rehabilitation Institute.

“I don’t want to go back to the hospital, but if I had to, I’d go back there in a heartbeat.”