Karen’s Story: Back On Her Feet After Gas Explosion

Karen Blocher was cooking breakfast in her family’s camper. She was unaware that there was a gas leak underneath it, and when she lit the stove there was an explosion. She, her husband and grandson were all badly burned.

Karen definitely took the brunt of the blast: “I was pretty much at the center of the explosion.”

The three exited the camper quickly, and Karen’s son-in-law helped them drop and roll to extinguish the flames. CareFlight flew Karen and her husband to Miami Valley Hospital, where she was immediately transported to the Adult Burn Center.

“I was sedated the first month I was there. They say I would not have been able to bear the pain,” she said. Her second month at Miami Valley Hospital was spent in the inpatient rehabilitation unit of the Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio (RIO). When she arrived there, Karen was not able to do anything for herself. “In the Burn Center, they had been trying to get me on my feet, and I’d take two steps forward and two steps back,” she recalled. The staff told her they would have her walking in two weeks. Karen was skeptical. “I was so weak from being in bed for two months.”

Persistence — the staff’s and Karen’s — paid off. She was able to walk with a walker in two weeks. The RIO therapists also helped Karen move her shoulder, which was “frozen” in place. This enabled her to feed and better care for herself when she was discharged to go home.

Karen continued with therapy at RIO’s Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Program (CORP). Karen’s hands and arms were severely burned and the hand therapy helped her immensely. “The staff seemed to be understanding of my discomfort. They were right there. They tried to stay ahead of any pain that I might have encountered.”

RIO’s friendly, knowledgeable staff enhanced Karen’s progress. “They sent me home with a lot of exercises I could do in conjunction with my work at CORP, which I tried to faithfully do. It seems every week there’s something new I can do that I didn’t do the week before.”

Contact Us

Our rehabilitation team is ready to help you get back to the things that matter most in your life. We offer locations close to you throughout Southwest Ohio, in our hospitals and in outpatient facilities. Check out our list of locations, or call the number of the hospital near you to learn more about rehabilitation services in your area.