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The start of the 2020-21 school year is nearing, and it is anxiously awaited by plenty of students. However one Scotland County 7th grader in particular, says she simply cannot wait to head back to class.
“I cannot wait to get back to school and see my friends,” said Hannah Montgomery.
While all of the district’s students missed the end of the school year after the COVID-19 outbreak, it was a much longer break for Montgomery, who spent the second half of the school year hospitalized in St. Louis.
Hannah was hospitalized on January 3rd with inflammation of her spinal column, which was eventually diagnosed by St. Louis Children’s Hospital as Transverse Myelitis.
The condition left the youngster without movement in her legs and has resulted in many long hours of physical therapy as she battles to try to get back on her feet.
Working with the Scotland County Hospital Therapy Department, Hannah has slowly been able to regain some sensation in her lower extremities while working to regain mobility.
“I now am able to feel my legs from my waist to my toes,” she said. “I can even wiggle some of my toes and can bend my right and left knee up some. My left leg is a little weaker than my right leg though.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented the Montgomery’s from returning to St. Louis for doctor’s visits, but they have been able have Zoom meetings with the physicians who are monitoring Hannah’s progress remotely.
Prior to coming home from St. Louis, Hannah was fitted with braces that run from her feet up to her knees and help her stand.
“They didn’t give my knees any support so it was hard to stand as my knees would buckle,”‘ she said.
During her work with the local therapy department, it was determined she might benefit from a machine to assist her standing.
“The Therapy Department did some searching and was able to find a stand up machine for me to use,” she said. “I sit in it and then I strap my feet and knees in and then I pump it to make me stand. I stand for awhile and sit for awhile.”
Her mother then started working with the therapy department and the St. Louis hospital to see about getting some new braces that would lock Hannah’s hips and knees in place when she stood.
“So in May, Mom, Grandma Mary and I went to St Louis to get measured for the new braces,” said Hannah.
The group returned to St. Louis on June 8th to pick up the new devices.
“Now I put my braces on in therapy and can walk with a walker or lofstrand forearm crutches,” she said. “I’m not real fast walking. My right leg does pretty good but my left leg is a little weaker and a little harder to move.”
Montgomery is able to walk for short distances before sitting in her wheelchair take a break before getting back up to walk again.
“It takes me a couple breaks but I can walk across the room in therapy,” she said.” “I have therapy two or three times a week and I enjoy working with all the ladies and Andrew.”
The therapy program also takes Hannah to the Memphis Swimming Pool were she does water exercises.
“I love to swim and my legs feel a lot lighter in the water,” she explained. “I can swim. I really enjoy doing therapy in the pool.”
While Hannah admits the healing process has been slow, she has remained confident in her efforts to keeping moving forward.
“I’m making some progress,” she said. “It is slow, but I’m hanging in there and staying strong and determined, never giving up. I keep trying and praying, it will come.”
As they have battled through the hardship, Hannah and her family say they have been blessed with local support.
“We cannot say thank you enough for all of the meals, cards, care packages, visits, farm help, construction help and prayers,” said Hannah’s mother Paula. “Keep the prayers coming. We truly do live in the best community.”