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home : current news : current news May 26, 2016


10/1/2013 1:36:00 PM
Woman recovering from massive injuries
Kelly Webb is starting to leave her wheelchair for a walker. photo by Jim Cornelius
+ click to enlarge
Kelly Webb is starting to leave her wheelchair for a walker. photo by Jim Cornelius

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

Life changed irrevocably for Kelly Webb on the afternoon of July 1.

The 48-year-old Sisters woman was riding westbound on her Harley Davidson motorcycle when an SUV pulled in front of her, crossing the highway north to south at Cook Avenue in Tumalo.

Webb collided with the SUV and was thrown from the motorcycle. She was transported via AirLink to St. Charles Medical Center with massive injuries.

The driver of the SUV, Stephanie Moss, 28, of Redmond, was cited by Oregon State Police for failing to yield before entering the highway. Neither she nor her three juvenile passengers were injured.

Webb has no memory of any of that.

"I don't remember anything till the day I went into rehab," she told The Nugget last week.

That was nearly two months after the accident. She was in the hospital for weeks, with different doctors addressing the range of injuries she suffered, from broken bones to severe road rash.

"My head hit the truck," Webb said. The front of her full-face helmet was crushed.

"The (right) side of my face and my eye exploded - behind my eye," she said. "But my retina was still attached, so they did save my vision."

However, the eye won't blink on its own. She has to reach up and manually push the eyelid down to keep the eye moist. Her teeth were loosened and have been braced.

Worse, her pelvis was badly broken.

"My pelvis was what they call an open fracture," she said. "So basically it was busted open."

The pelvis is held together now with screws.

Her left leg was severely wrenched.

"When I first came home, this leg was dead," Webb said, lifting her left leg in her wheelchair. "I couldn't lift a toe. So I've worked hard."

That work has been with Matt Kirchoff at Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy in Sisters. She says the Sisters outfit has been extraordinarily supportive.

Webb can now get out of the wheelchair and use a walker, which has both enhanced her mobility and lifted her spirits. The next step is walking with a cane.

Kelly's husband, Rick, built a wheelchair ramp at their home in Plainview and raised all the furniture on blocks so that Kelly can move from wheelchair to couch. His cousin, John Webb, Jr., moved in for a period of time to help keep the place up and to monitor Kelly's care so that Rick could return to work.

The physical strain is compounded by a tremendous financial burden. The at-fault driver's insurance only covers a fraction of costs. Kelly has been able to keep her insurance, but has to pay a $500-per-month premium while completely out of work, and with bills expected to total in the range of $1.5 million - only some of them covered.

Her family has set up a donation website at http://www.gofundme.com/3ndwc4, which has raised some $9,345 to defray expenses. The donations have been a financial lifesaver.

"The finances - this is scary bad," she said. "If it wasn't for that (donation site) I don't know what we'd do, to be honest with you."'

This is Webb's second bout with serious medical problems in the past few years. She was diagnosed in November 2011 with breast cancer and underwent successful treatment. From both a physical and a financial standpoint, this is far more challenging. Then, she was mostly able to keep working as a teacher at Growing Tree Children's Center in Bend.

"This is much worse than the breast cancer," she said. "Right now, I'm completely jobless. No income."

And her life passions are out of reach. She can't ride her Harley, nor her horses.

She does intend to get back on a bike one day.

"Rick says that two days after the accident I was asking 'is my bike working,'" she said. "It's one of those things you love. It's been taken from me. It really stinks."

Webb acknowledges that she's been struggling with the anger and frustration that come with such severe injuries and the damage the wreck has done to her life. She will be seeing a counselor to help work through those emotions.

"I was angry at her at first, the driver," she acknowledged.

They haven't spoken, but Webb knows the accident was hard on her and her children, too. She's letting go.

"It must have been horrifying for them," she said.

There remains another focus of anger.

"I'm angry at insurance companies," she said. "I'm angry that there's nothing there for me."

Webb believes much more emphasis should be placed in driver's education on watching out for motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. She thinks drivers, especially the younger ones, are so focused on checking whether another car is coming that they may never see other, especially vulnerable, users of the road.

Through it all, she has found that her relationships are a saving grace.

"I have a lot of strong friends," she said. "That's one thing I've found out through all this: The people in my life are amazing."





Related Links:
• Donate to the Kelly Webb Fund Here





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