Morgan Allen, Facilities Coordinator for Plant Operations, never thought she would be rehearsing for her wedding at a hospital. But last September, after a diagnosis of infrapatellar contracture syndrome and two surgeries, both Morgan and her physical therapist, Ashley Grundstad, wanted to make sure she could walk up and down stairs and move as much as possible on her big day.
During one of her therapy sessions at the Orthopedic & Specialty Hospital, Ashley and Patient Access Specialists Emily Magnuson and Kally Aga threw Morgan and her fiancé a practice wedding, complete with a bouquet, veil and confetti. This and so many other acts of kindness and support made this care team feel like family to Morgan, who endured a 17-month recovery process that involved learning to walk again, four times.
Physical Therapist Ashley Grundstad works with fellow caregiver and patient Morgan Allen at Monument Health’s Orthopedic & Specialty Hospital.
“They’ve seen me at my worst, but they’ve also cheered and celebrated with me in my successes and milestones,” Morgan said. “Ashley’s commitment to her patients is like nothing I have ever encountered. She stood by my side, advocated for me, and encouraged me.”
Morgan met Ashley after a broken leg in January 2019. The leg healed, but then Morgan sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). After surgery, Morgan wasn’t progressing as quickly as expected. She was diagnosed with infrapatellar contracture syndrome, caused by a build-up of scar tissue, which led to more surgery. Still, her progress halted again due to scar tissue.
But Morgan and Ashley never lost hope, and they sure weren’t going to let the setback upend Morgan’s wedding in September of 2019. “The wedding was amazing,” Morgan said. “With help from my therapy team, I didn’t have to use a cane the entire day. I even surprised my husband with being able to dance.”
Ashley remembers that Morgan’s initial goal when starting therapy was to be able to walk at her wedding, and the two never lost sight of that goal. “It’s been over 400 days, so this has become almost a friendship,“ Ashley said. “We’ve gone through some of our biggest life events together,” Ashley said, noting that Morgan has been present through her first pregnancy.
Eight months after having a third surgery, Morgan’s about to graduate from physical therapy and transition to the EXOS program for more strength training. Kally and Emily made sure they’d both be working when Morgan has her last physical therapy session at the end of the month.
“It was frustrating for someone who exercised regularly to become wheelchair-bound and then not be able to walk,” Morgan said. “It was a long, exhausting fight, but I trusted the process, and I trusted my team. I can’t thank them enough.”