Avera Medical Minute: Woman relies on faith and family support to recover after car accident

ABERDEEN, S.D. - The Nash family is thankful for all the support they've received from their church and community since their lives changed in November.
Crystal Nash has overcome many hurdles since November 23, 2018. It was Black Friday, and that was the day she and her family got into a car accident.

"We were just about to their house, one mile from where they live," Crystal said.

She's talking about her aunt and uncle in Wisconsin. Nash's husband was driving their SUV when another car coming in the other direction swerved to hit a stopped car, which was waiting to take a turn.

"And he hit us highway speed head on, driver to driver," she said. "It was horrifying. The accident happened so quickly. I remember my husband saying, 'I think we're going to hit,' and then boom we did, and we were suddenly- there was a loud noise and there was a cloud of smoke in the vehicle."

The driver of that car died on scene. Nash was with five family members in her car, including her two kids.

"When I tried to move to get out, I was unable to move. I knew right away that something was wrong with my left hip," she said.

She was transported to the hospital, where her hip was put back into place. Doctors in Rochester then surgically repaired her acetabulum, which was shattered into five pieces.

"So they put in 9 screws and 2 plates to put me back together," she said.

That's when she moved to Avera Mother Joseph Manor in Aberdeen to recover closer to home. She lives on a farm about 35 miles southwest of the city.

"I still remember the first day I met her," Kristin Houdek said, who is Nash's physical therapist.

Dave Rasmusson is her occupational therapist. The two work together to get Nash back on her feet.

"We had to teach her how to get up into standing, you know the proper technique for that. And then also how to get her endurance up, so she can walk pretty much hopping on one leg," Houdek said.

Houdek focused on helping Nash get around while Rasmusson helped with daily activities, like getting dressed or doing laundry.

"Given the nature of her fracture, yeah. I mean the socket was just shattered," Rasmusson said. "They put that all back together and the pain that she must have been under was excruciating."

"It was really scary right away as you can imagine," Houdek said.

The two worked with her daily for about a week and a half. One of the big obstacles she had to conquer was the stairs. They said she had an amazing support system from family to her faith.

"She's a go-getter. She did really good," Houdek said.

"With time and healing, the body is a piece of miracle, and she'll heal. She'll get back to teaching," Rasmusson said.

They were surprised at how quickly she built up her strength because of what she went through.

"It is really nice to be home with my family recovering," Nash said. "I understand what trauma means now. I didn't really understand trauma prior to the accident."

Now, the goal is a full recovery, one step at a time, with her family by her side. Nash said her husband wasn't injured in the accident. Her 10-year-old son was sore afterwards and her 15-year-old daughter suffered a concussion.