A long road to recovery
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
Still recovering at home from injuries she sustained from being hit by an alleged drunk driver last June, Tina Lyon Adams isn’t yet ready to take constant companion Bear for a slippery February walk but is determined to get back on her feet.
Tina Lyon Adams’s life was irrevocably changed June 12, 2015, when she was struck by a car whose driver faces 10 charges ranging from impaired driving causing bodily harm, driving under the influence, and criminal negligence. The resulting near fatal injuries left the 21-year-old with serious mobility challenges but a firm resolve.
“I can go short distances on my crutches but have to use my wheelchair for anything long,” said Lyon Adams during an interview Tuesday, February 23. “It’s been nine months since the accident. It has been a sequence of operations, rehabilitation, infections, and more rehabilitation.”
A student in Police Technology program at John Abbott College, Lyon Adams also faces the challenge of having to make a vocational path change. “My doctors told me in January that I have to find a new career,” she said. Her dream job was to be a police officer, fire fighter, or gym teacher. She hasn’t given up on her career path entirely, however, considering pursuing university studies. “One of my teachers said that there are other possibilities for me in criminology.” Whether or not she completes the Police Tech program, she resolves to take part in the 8-kilometre run all Police Tech graduates must complete. “If I have to, I will walk it,” she said with a determined smile.
Lyon Adams spent part of Monday and Tuesday participating in a health fair at John Abbott College where she had the opportunity of presenting a short film about her experience to fellow students and teachers. “It was all about not drinking and driving and distracted driving,” she said of the college event. Student reaction to the film was positive and emotional. “There were some tears,” she said. The film, "Life changing crash by drunk driver while jogging," is posted on YouTube at tinyurl.com/j4fne64.
Currently, she’s on a waiting list for a right hip replacement operation. “It’s a normal operation for lots of people, but for me, it’s a little trickier,” she said. One of the many injuries sustained in the accident was a broken pelvis. “The hip is surrounded by metal plates and screws,” she explained noting that her right leg is shorter than her left due to the loss of cartilage and there is post-traumatic arthritis in the hip joint. One of the goals of the operation is to increase the mobility of her leg. Lyon Adams keeps a strong positive attitude and looks forward to the possibility of being able to drive a car again. “I was talking with my physiotherapist about it, (driving), and I won’t know until I actually do it,” she said adding driving isn’t something she wants to attempt until the snow goes away.
Her almost constant companion through her recovery has been Bear, a 15-month-old male Golden Labrador Retriever. He was the second thing Lyon Adams asked for when she awoke from the medically induced coma following the accident. He was her usual jogging companion but was left at home that fateful evening. Her friend, Alique Langlois who was her jogging companion that night, suffered minor injuries from the collision.
The driver of the car that hit her, Jordan Xavier Taylor, has said, through his lawyer Philip Schneider, that he will plead not guilty at his next scheduled court date on February 26 at the Valleyfield Courthouse. When asked if she will be present in court, Lyon Adams replied she wasn’t sure. She does, however, have ideas about what the Taylor’s sentence should include.
“He should lose the same kind of time out of his life that I have lost out of mine,” she said adding that could encompass jail time, a suspended driver’s license for a long period of time and community service work with an organization such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD).
Lyon Adams said she’s deeply grateful for the continuing support she receives from her family, friends, and the community. Having arrived in Hudson only a short time before the accident, she and her family were impressed by the community response. “People brought us a meal every Sunday evening.”