This page is being organized by Vince O'Connor, long-time student and friend of the family, and Meghan Wilson, Anita's daughter. Many of you know Anita from a variety of contexts - the dojo, yoga, family, one of the colleges she has taught at, and many other places. Anita has been active in so many different communities throughout her life in pursuing her many talents.
Anita and her husband Joe were on vacation in their motorhome in Custer, South Dakota, when on Saturday, May 28th, at about 2pm, Anita fell from her bike during one of their rides. Anita is an extremely competent and experienced bicyclist and has ridden regularly most of her adult life. Anita and Joe were going only about 10mph and were talking through the headsets that are built into their helmets. Joe states that they were mid-conversation and everything was fine, Anita turned a corner so she was out of sight for a moment, and suddenly Anita stopped speaking mid-sentence. He heard a "thump" through the headset and when he turned the corner saw a puff of dirt from the gravel trail. When he reached her, she was motionless, unconscious and bleeding profusely from her nose and mouth. It was terrifying. She came to and did not know where she was or what had happened. She was clearly confused and in obvious pain. Joe called 911 and flagged a passerby to help. The passerby helped Joe figure out where they were to give directions to the ambulance, which arrived within minutes. By then, Anita still did not understand where she was and was unable to say what year it was or who was president to the paramedics. Joe states whenever the paramedics moved her she screamed in pain.
Anita was taken to a nearby trauma hospital in Custer. Ultimately, she had a concussion, numerous fractures in her face around her eye socket, serious pain in her elbow, and two fractures in the worst possible place in her pelvis. The fractures in her pelvis are essentially around her sit-bones, making it extremely painful to sit, and impossible to walk without assistance. In fracturing the pelvis, one of the muscles that runs through that area was also torn, and the hospital had to monitor the bleeding in that muscle for days to make sure Anita did not need surgery to repair it. Anita was in the hospital for two weeks and received intensive PT and OT while she was there. At this point, she is still unable to put weight on her right leg and requires a walker to walk at all. An injury like this for someone Anita's age generally takes 8-12 weeks to heal. Given how physically fit Anita was prior to the accident, her healing has been better than might have been expected but has still been extremely slow, painful, and both physically and emotionally difficult for both of them.
Anita and Joe stayed in Custer, SD, for one week after she was discharged from the hospital, during which time they remained in their motorhome. They had a follow-up appointment with the hospital slightly over 1wk after she was discharged, and she was cleared to travel. They made the two-day drive home successfully, two weeks later than they anticipated returning home, and at this point remain in their motorhome at the campground it normally stays at. She is hoping to continue PT soon as she was just given the ok from her doctor here in Minnesota that her injury is stable enough to do so.
Ultimately, Anita still does not remember how or why the accident happened. They know, based on her injuries, that she was thrown over the handlebars and landed face-first. At this point it has been 1 month since the accident, and it will be at least one more month before Anita can consider returning to teaching. The expenses raised here are to support them during this time, especially to cover medical expenses from the hospital stay and follow-up care as well as provide support while Anita is unable to work and Joe is only able to work minimally being they are stuck an hour away from the dojo for now. Anita and Joe are deeply, deeply appreciative of the students who have stepped in to teach and keep the dojo and yoga classes going during this time, and also of all the friends and family who have kept up with the Caring Bridge site and/or left comments. Even knowing people are reading has helped them keep their morale up through this extremely traumatic time and they are so grateful to be loved and supported by so many people.