Paralysed at T10, rehabilitation was an interesting time for the young athlete. She had wanted to go to Craig Hospital, a well known rehabilitation facility in the United States, but they had no bed available. So back home Alana went, to Farmington, New Mexico.
“So I did my rehab in a local hospital in my home town where there was no one under 75, I was the youngest person there by far, the PTs and OTs didn’t know what to do with me.”
But luckily, her spinal cord injury wasn’t “too involved” with secondary complications.
“I was just able to knock it out. If they told me to sit up, I would sit up.”
Obviously, things got more complex when she had to learn how to use the bathroom, but all in all, Alana’s recovery was pretty straightforward.
Looking back, the rehab wasn’t that bad, in fact one of the worst things for Alana during that time was returning home.
“Everyone in the hospital is cheerleading for you, you’re thinking about getting a lot of function back, working hard, and everything is accessible in the hospital. Then you go home and nothing is accessible, there are no cheerleaders.”
Suddenly everything was so different. She had been so used to operating in her home environment as an able-bodied person, that it was hard to see herself in a wheelchair.
Besides, at that time she didn’t know of anyone else with a spinal cord injury or a disability in Farmington. Even now she can count on one hand the number of wheelchair users that live there.
The following two years was a very critical time for Alana. She hung on to the words of her doctor who’d said whatever function she got back in the first two years post injury she would retain for life.
So Alana set her sights on being able to walk again.