An injury can impact the life of a student


Reitmeier with a therapy dog in the hospital.

Is school difficult? Does it make you tired? If you answered yes to both of those questions, imagine being in sophomore Ella Reitmeier’s position.

Reitmeier has recently undergone an intensive surgery, which has made her unable to walk for months. It began when she was two years old.

 “I broke my leg,” Reitmeier said. “I slipped on the bathroom floor trying to give my dog a bath. They realized a couple of months after I got my cast off that they didn’t think they set my bone right.”

After coming to this realization, Reitmeier didn’t think it was a big issue, but she began having pain in her leg about a year ago.

 “I started having a lot of pain when I would walk, in my ankles, my knees and my hips,” Reitmeier said. ”When I’d try to exercise or hike, I couldn’t even walk a mile.”

The surgery was daunting, according to Reitmeier.

 “I was really nervous. I had never been on an anesthetic before. I was freaking out. I couldn’t drink clear liquids after 10 a.m.. They gave priority to younger patients, so my surgery was three hours late.”

Reitmeier’s injury was also complicated. 

“I had a right tibial osteotomy, and an intramedullary nail fixation. They had to break my leg again and rotate the bone so that it was in a better position, they put a rod through the bone so it would heal, and then they put three screws in,” Reitmeier said. 

Reitmeier woke up three hours after the surgery.

“I was really out of it. I was with it enough to ask for water and my parents. I was sleeping on and off for a long time.” 

Reitmeier’s leg after her operation.

There was one problem, though.

“They couldn’t get me pain medication until three hours later. He prescribed me a high dose of morphine, and the pharmacy saw my age and said no. So (my doctor) had to argue with the pharmacy for three hours,” Reitmeier said. 

When she was cleared to go home, Reitmeier had the support of her family to help her as she recovered. 

“My aunt was there, and my mom too. They’re both actually nurses so I had my own personal nursing staff and my whole medicine schedule laid out,” Reitmeier said.

After a few days, Reitmeier experienced more difficulties. Her pain medication made her nauseous, and her mom feared that she had a blood clot. However, the problem was quickly resolved.

“They gave me a different pain medication,” Reitmeier said.

Reitmeier was bored after a long time of being home, unable to walk, with nothing to do.

 “At first it was very frustrating because, it was the summer, and everyone was out doing stuff,” Reitmeier said. “I eventually got to the point where I could weight-bear. My leg was so stiff that I couldn’t get my foot flat on the ground.”

One last problem faced Reitmeier. 

“They told me I would be walking 4-5 weeks after the surgery, so I thought that meant I would be walking off crutches, but it was not the case. We hadn’t been planning for me to be on crutches once school started.”

Everything ended up all right, though.

 ‘I found some really nice people in all of my classes to help me. My teachers have been awesome. One of my classes, I have to leave 10 minutes early to get to the bus on time,” Reitmeier said. 

Her advice to others who have injuries in school: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

“I didn’t know anyone in a few of my classes, so it was scary to ask anybody to help me,” Reitmeier said. “ But you need to ask for help, you’ll regret it later, it’ll make your life harder (if you don’t).”