in October. "I'm a changed person.I'm going to take time to smell the roses.I'm going to get off the fast-track.I'm going to retire and then when I'm fully recovered, about three months from now I'm definitely going to come back to Sweet Brook
and volunteer," Ranzer
, 61, a rehabilitation patient at Sweet Brook Transitional Care and Living Center
, was released Friday afternoon after 12 weeks of bed rest, which were accompanied by grueling hours of intense physical and occupational therapy.The therapy helped the Merrill-Lynch
vice president regain the ability to walk and use his
left wrist - two things an October accident could have stripped from him forever. "It was Oct. 25.I was traveling to my home in Williamstown
from the Merrill-Lynch
office in Pittsfield.It was the first snowfall of the season," Ranzer
said. On the outskirts of South Williamstown, Ranzer
saw a bus approaching in the southbound lane, but determined it was OK to proceed.
was later told Krant, a fellow communicant of Congregation Beth Israel
, had come to his aid moments after the accident.
was taken to Berkshire Medical Center's
trauma center, where it was discovered he
had not only a broken vertebrae in his
back, but several other critical injuries as well. "I learned later on that I had head trauma, broken ribs, a collapsed lung, as well as a compromised one, and that I had broken and crushed my left wrist," he
said.Doctors put him into a morphine-induced coma during his
initial days at the hospital. "I was under the morphine for at least five to six days.But I had at least five full-length, full color, dialogue dreams," he
said. In one of the dreams, Ranzer
believed the hospital was in the middle of a merger that was going to be bad for the hospital staff.He
was attempting to organize the lower-level workers, which caused him to be chased by someone. "I never determined who it was, but I determined that in order to be safe, I had to pull out all these tubes that were in my body.I really did that," he
said."The nurses tell me there's a study that shows that patients who rip out tubes during a medicine-induced coma have an incredible determination to live." Unfortunately for Ranzer
real-life episode caused spinal surgery to be canceled for a second time.The operation, which is not without risks, has a recovery time of a week. "The second day I was there the doctors tried to operate.They had begun the procedure to fuse my spine, when I became unstable," he
said."The second time, surgery was canceled because of an infection caused by a bacterial spray from when I pulled out the tubes." Ranzer
was rescheduled for surgery, but the night before his operation Dr. Sheldon Brotman, director of the trauma center, noticed something unusual.
brought in a sonogram machine and found my thighs and legs to be full of blood clots," Ranzer
said. Treatment options The next day a team of doctors began discussing his
treatment options with him, which included traditional treatments of bed rest and therapy - a Computed Axial Tomography scan revealed that not only was his
broken vertebrae in the correct place, it would respond to such therapy. "One of the doctors said, 'There are forces here operating against us.' I had to respect that," he
said."They were always extremely confident that I would make a 100 percent recovery." So, nearly immobile, Ranzer
entered Sweet Brook
with the idea that he
never thought the experience would change his
life. "The staff here is unbelievable," Ranzer
said."They truly made themselves available.Whenever they had a chance they stopped by to say hello.I'm a Wall Street guy; I would have never met these wonderful people if I hadn't been put in the hospital." Ranzer
accident, and the experiences afterwards were meant for a reason.
I'm grateful for a second chance," Ranzer
, now in a wheelchair and able to walk with the assistance of a walker, returned home to his wife, Joanne, and their dogs Friday afternoon.
...Jane Edge, director of rehabilitation at the Sweet Brook care center in Williamstown, gives David Ranzer, who was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident in October, physical therapy for his left hand.
rehabilitation has changed his
life.Photo by Gillian Jones/North Adams Transcript Saturday, February 11David Ranzer
Best as always, David
...Sweet Brook Director of Rehabilitative Services Jane Edge and David Ranzer of Williamstown.[see related story "Sweet Brook Services" on Community News page]
- In a matter of seconds on Oct. 25, David Ranzer's
life was forever changed. Ranzer
, 61, was driving north on Route 7, heading toward his Sweet Brook
Road home.There had been snow that day, but the road home seemed safe, Ranzer
remembers passing by a southbound school bus, and then, chaos.
"I went into a skid," Ranzer
said during an interview from his
room at the Sweet Brook
Transitional Care and Living Center."I seem to remember as I skidded off the road that I may have driven into the skid." His
vehicle struck and wrapped around a tree, and a critically injured Ranzer
was plunged into unconsciousness, he
The school bus Ranzer
saw had stopped at the home of Dr. Jonathan Krant to discharge a passenger, and Krant either saw or heard the crash, Ranzer said.
Krant ran to the scene and delivered aid to Ranzer
"Apparently, Jon was right there," Ranzer
was taken to the Berkshire Medical Center
and admitted to the BMC Trauma Center
injuries were life-threatening and included head trauma, broken ribs, collapsed lung, and broken bones in his
sustained a spinal injury and was kept in a medically-induced coma for several days, Ranzer
said. Things initially appeared extremely bleak for Ranzer, a vice-president of the Merrill-Lynch company in Pittsfield, but on Feb. 1, a talkative, smiling, and clearly appreciative Ranzer appeared well on the road to recovery.Ranzer
dramatic progress a "miracle," and credits his
recovery to medical care he
received at BMC
and physical and occupational therapy programs at Sweet Brook
"In two months of therapy, nearly all my function has been restored," Ranzer
said."[Therapists, nurses, nursing assistants] are just so incredibly good, and I'm not talking about just doing their job.They bring so much education to it and I am in awe of the care, the skill, and the dedication of this place." Ranzer
had equally high praise for his
care at BMC
acknowledged the efforts of BMC Trauma Center Medical Director Dr. Sheldon Brotman ["He's
a lot of fun to be around," Ranzer
said,] and neurosurgeon Dr. Todd Lasner.
"I think the care I got from the doctors, the nurses, and the aides was wonderful," Ranzer
said."The quality [at BMC] was at a wonderful level."
While at BMC
endured several complications; while under the influence of morphine and in the medically-induced coma, he
experienced hallucinations that made him pull out various medical tubes connected to his
The tube-tearing caused a "bacterial spray" that led to an infection, which was successfully treated but caused a cancellation of spinal surgery.The surgery was re-scheduled and Ranzer
was about to undergo the operation when he
was found to be suffering from a significant number of blood clots.Surgery was again cancelled.
For surgery to occur, Ranzer
had to be free of all blood clots.
opted against the surgery.He
was bedridden and nearly immobile when he
arrived at Sweet Brook
for rehabilitation services, he
A Long Road And "Wonderful People" Sweet Brook rehabilitative services staff members Laura McGrath and Martha Leja are with Ranzer.
"I came here and here I have this incredible bed," Ranzer
said."And there are these wonderful people, Paul Jangrow [director of Social Services], Cindy Dix [transitional care manager], all these nurses and these wonderful CNAs [certified nursing assistants].They did so much; Cindy Dix made it her
business to learn how to operate this complicated bed.And it isn't anybody's job to stop by [his room] just to say 'hi,' but they do it." Ranzer's
spinal injury had to be completely healed before he
could begin the therapies that would hopefully set him on hi