Darke-County-Resident-Cathy-Peters-starts-her-miracle-recovery
The photo on the left is 1 minute before things changed for Cathy Peters on Dec. 16, 2021.

Miracle recovery underway in rural woman’s life

VERSAILLES– Little did Cathy Peters know what Dec. 16, 2021, had in store for her.

“On that morning, I went to the barn to feed our sheep and horses,” she recalled. “My husband, Scott, was in Nashville, Tenn., on a business trip so I was doing the chores. I was just about finished feeding and I took my phone out of my pocket to take a Snapchat to let Scott know everything was going well.”

It was then she put the phone in the front pocket of her barn coat and grabbed the last flake of hay to place in the feeders.

“As I turned, I heard or sensed something and, as I Iooked  up, I saw the stack of four large square bales falling toward me,” she remembered. “There was no time to get out of the way and the only thought running through my head was ‘I’m going to die in the barn today.’ I must have had a guardian angel because the top bale somehow missed my head.”

She said the second, 1,000-pound bale landed on her, pinning her to the ground.

“I believe I hit my head and briefly lost consciousness,” she said. “When I came to, my dog was there by my side. When I realized I was trapped with no way to get out, I began feeling around for my phone. Fortunately, it was reachable in my front pocket and not damaged by the impact. I called 911 and told the operator that I was trapped and needed an ambulance and possibly the fire department in order to get the bale off of me. The operator wanted to stay on the line with me until help arrived, but I told him I needed to call my daughter who was in the house.”

Daughter Ellen had come home the previous day to start her Christmas break from Ohio State.

“I called Ellen and told her I needed help,” Cathy realled. “She quickly came to the barn and I told her to get the skid loader to lift the bale off of me. She was afraid to do that for fear of hurting me more. Ellen leaned down beside me and said, ‘Mom, on the count of three, pull your legs out!’ Suddenly I felt the crushing weight of the bale lifted and I used my arm to pull my legs out then I heard the bale hit the floor. With superhuman strength and the hands of God, Ellen was able to lift the bale off of me long enough for me to get unpinned.”

It was at that time they could hear the sirens of the emergency vehicles heading their way.

“I told Ellen to call her dad and tell him what happened, then call my office and tell them I wouldn’t be in to work today,” Cathy said. “The Versailles EMS arrived, assessed the situation and went right to work to stabilize me for transport. The ambulance took me to the Darke County Airport to have CareFlight transport me to Miami Valley Hospital (MVH). I was transferred from the ambulance to the helicopter. At this time, my blood pressure dropped dangerously low and I thought there was no way I would survive. The helicopter took off but, after just a few minutes, the pilot said visibility was too poor to continue the flight so we would need to go back to the airport. Once again, I was transferred back to the ambulance. The CareFlight crew stayed with me as they transported me to Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC), where I was to be evaluated. The ER doctors assessed my injuries and determined I needed to go on to MVH.”

According to Cathy, when she arrived at MVH, she was taken into the trauma area and the team went into action.

“Many X-rays were taken to assess the extent of my injuries,” she said. “My right leg was badly broken and disfigured. Thankfully, they put me into a twilight state in order to stabilize my leg. Once all my injuries were assessed, it was determined that I had 18 broken ribs, broken right tibia and fibula, broken big toe, broken scapula, broken sacrum and L3,4,5 and 6 displaced fractures in my pelvis.”

Cathy was taken to the trauma floor and scheduled for surgery the following day.

“Going into the surgery, the surgeons were concerned that I might require external fixation devices to stabilize my leg and pelvis,” she said ” After six hours of surgery, the surgeons were elated that they were able to repair everything with internal devices, meaning I would not have any pins or halo on the outside. After surgery, I was in the ICU for six days then moved to the trauma floor for three days. The doctors had expected at least a two-week stay but felt I was ready to move to a rehab facility after eight days.”

From Miami Valley Hospital, she was  moved to the inpatient rehab facility at UVMC, Troy.

“That is where I spent Christmas this year,”she said. “Some may say it was unfortunate to have this accident so close to the holidays. I say it was a blessing because my kids were all able to be home for an extended period of time and, for me, family is the best medicine. I was told I would be there for at  least two weeks. But, with the help and guidance of really great nurses, occupational therapists and physical therapists, I was able to come home after just one week. I still have a long way to go with my healing and recovery. At this time, the recommendation is that I am non-weight bearing on my legs for two to three months. There will be lots of therapy to get me back to living the active life I am used to.”

In the meantime, she is anxious to get back to her job.

“I love working as a dental hygienist at Versailles Dental where I have the best co-workers patients anyone could ask for,” she said.

“Through all this, the blessings have been abundant. The outpouring of love and support is humbling to say the least. My friends organized a prayer service in the first few days after my accident. It was attended by local friends and family and several who traveled quite a distance to attend. I have received so many cards of encouragement and beautiful flowers that bring me joy to look at each day. There have been many thoughtful gifts sent from near and far.”

She said a “dear friend” has organized a meal train where the family has been provided with the “most delicious meals” for many days and many yet to come.

“There have been some unexpected connections to people and ways to witness God’s presence,” she said. “Each day I feel the love and prayers sent from so many people. I know that this is responsible for faster than expected healing I am experiencing. God’s healing hands have been present all along and there are so many things that happened along the way that I consider miracles. So many things had to go right in order for me to be here and able to share my story. The only explanation for that is the miracles and guardian angels that I know were with me that day.”

Husband Scott and their children, Collin, Ellen and Emma, provided her with what she called wonderful care.

“My husband and kids have been amazing in making sure that all my needs are met and that Iā€™m taken care of like a queen,” she said.

The couple has been married 28 years.

Cathy noted that Collin is a graduate of Miami University and is working as a pharmaceutical rep in Columbia, S.C.; Ellen is a graduate of Miami University and in her first year of dental school at Ohio State.; and Emma is in her second year of college at Lincoln Land College in Springfield, Ill., where she is majoring in ag business and on the livestock judging team.

Cathy is the daughter of the late Eddie and Phyllis Collins and her parents-in-law are Bob and Donna Peters, who live in Dawn between Ansonia and Versailles.

A very recent post on Facebook had Cathy sharing this: “So it has been almost a month since the accident that changed things a bit for me.

I saw the surgeon yesterday. They took follow-up X-rays of my leg, pelvis and scapula. She was very pleased with the way things are healing. The cast was removed from my right leg as well as the sutures. I am now in a boot and not a cast. The great thing about that is I can take it off when I take a shower.  It is now OK for me to move my left arm away from my body. Still no lifting or pressure but at least I can move it.”

Her next appointment is in a month.

“Until then, I continue to be non-weight bearing on my leg and pelvis. So that means another month in my wheelchair,” Cathy concluded, adding, “Time to start decking it out and making it stylish!” 

Cathy Peters is shown in the Snapchat she took the morning just prior to her accident  to send to her husband, Scott ,who was out of town on business. (Courtesy photo)
Cathy Peters is shown in the Snapchat she took the morning just prior to her accident to send to her husband, Scott ,who was out of town on business. (Courtesy photo)
Cathy Peters is surrounded here by her husband, Scott, and three children, Collin, Ellen and Emma, at the Dayton medical facility after she was crushed by heavy bales of hay in the family barn.  (Courtesy photo)
Cathy Peters is surrounded here by her husband, Scott, and three children, Collin, Ellen and Emma, at the Dayton medical facility after she was crushed by heavy bales of hay in the family barn. (Courtesy photo)
With a smile on her face as usual, Cathy Peters  enjoys some of the manhy flowers she received during her hospital stay, (Courtesy photo)
With a smile on her face as usual, Cathy Peters enjoys some of the manhy flowers she received during her hospital stay, (Courtesy photo)
A family Christmas photo was taken at the hospital during Cathy's stay there. Cathy, in the wheelchair, is surrounded by daughter Ellen, husband Scott, daughter Emma and son Collin. (Courtesy photo)
A family Christmas photo was taken at the hospital during Cathy’s stay there. Cathy, in the wheelchair, is surrounded by daughter Ellen, husband Scott, daughter Emma and son Collin. (Courtesy photo)
Darke County Now Staff - Linda Moody - Staff Writer

Linda Moody / Staff Writer

I am a Darke County native living in the Ansonia area with my son. I have been in journalism 50+ years and enjoy what I do.

Contact Darke County Now Media Correspondent Linda Moody @ lmoody@darkecountynow.com or 937-337-1955.

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