It started out as another blissful day in retirement, doing whatever she wanted. On this particular day in mid-April, Robin Blossom decided to drive her friend, Betty Jane Sitton, to Fresno for a doctor appointment. Blossom ran errands, and then she and friend met up with her son for a leisurely lunch before heading back home to Coarsegold.
Five days later, Blossom woke to find herself in a Fresno hospital.
“I don’t remember the accident,” Blossom said. “I remember driving into Rocky Cut, and floating bright yellow lights. It was like I was in a dream. I was very far away. I wasn’t afraid. I was just puzzled. I had been in and out of the lights three or four times. I guess I was on the edge and got sent back. That’s all I can figure. My heart breaks for the family of the man who died in the accident.”
Blossom, a retired nurse practitioner widely known in the Mountain Area, sustained major injuries when her vehicle was hit head-on, April 15 on Highway 41 just south of Road 406.
The accident caused multiple injuries including fractured legs, knees and ankles smashed into the joints, and two collapsed lungs. The impact from the air bag broke several ribs and her sternum (breast bone). Blossom and her passenger, Betty Jane Sitton, were transported to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.
Blossom underwent 12 hours of surgery on each leg, with surgeons “trying to put pieces and parts back together.” She also required surgery to have chest tubes placed to re-expand her lungs.
Just recently, Blossom left her hospital room in Fresno for a bed at the Oakhurst Healthcare & Wellness Centre. Because she can put no weight on her legs, and requires 24/7 care, that will be her home for at least another two months.
Pre-accident, Blossom called life wonderful and amazing. Post-accident, she sees life the same. It’s her activities that have changed. She sees a physical and occupational therapist, and requires assistance with mobility.
“I live moment to moment,” she said. “Right now there are restrictions on what I can do, and each day, I see little improvements. Small baby steps add up ... that’s how you climb a mountain.”
It was less than a year ago that Blossom retired from her duties at Oakhurst Medical Group. She had served the Mountain Area for more than 25 years as a nurse practitioner, and called her patients “friends,” not only assisting with medical issues, but teaching the importance of maintaining a healthy body and mind, as well.
It’s a philosophy that she lives by, saying her attitude, plus community support are the reasons she’s improving day-by-day.
“I love life more than ever, and have peace inside,” Blossom continued. “I realize that negativity just drains you, so that’s not allowed. I feel so blessed, and feel all the love and the prayers in my soul. I can’t say thank you enough. This community has been so wonderful and so supportive. One of the staff came in the other day and told me I was glowing. I responded that if she had as much love and prayers coming into her heart as I do mine, she would glow, too.”
Blossom believes her accident should be used as an impetus to improve Highway 41.
“That road hasn’t changed for 30 years,” Blossom said, “and enough people have died. Something has to be done ... maybe it’s time to stand up and say enough is enough ... do something, now.”
A true fighter with an enthusiastic outlook, Blossom added, “You can’t keep me down. Prognosis is what I make of it ... I’m the best patient they’ll ever have here, because I’ll do whatever they say needs to be done. I have a place in Costa Rica and I need to be able to walk. That’s the dangling carrot.”
Blossom’s passenger, Sitton, uses a walker and is currently staying with a friend. She plans on moving back home any day now.