A native of Nashville, TN, Andrea Zink moved to Lincoln, Nebraska three years ago while her husband Joshua worked on his doctorate in music. On February 26, 2015 their plans almost came to a halt after an auto accident on her way from a work meeting in Omaha, which left her with extensive injuries. At 70 mph on the interstate, her sport utility vehicle collided into the back end of a box truck that was driving about 50 mph when a lane change occurred. Andrea does not recall the impact; just waking up at Creighton University Medical Center, where she remained for two and a half months. She had severely broken her left arm, both femurs, tibia and fibula, and her right ankle. Andrea also had internal injuries to her intestinal tract/colon, a liver contusion, plus a pancreatic duct injury was discovered later. She had also broken the talus bone in her foot, which initially led doctors to consider amputation, but that outcome was averted by an all night surgery the day of the accident.
A bright spot in her recovery came about a week before her discharge from Creighton. “I could not eat solid food for 48 days, so eating food again was amazing, and I knew exactly what I wanted,” said Andrea. As an excellent cook, her husband cooked up her favorite Thai dish as soon as she was able to consume food again.
After she transferred to Madonna, Andrea began about a month long inpatient stay, followed by outpatient visits that started in April to continue her rehabilitation. “Standing and walking without devices took a lot of work, but was very rewarding,” said Andrea, who has come a long way through her therapy. As a runner, she had been training to participate in the Lincoln half marathon before the accident. Instead, her first visit out of Madonna was to watch her husband cross the finish line in the full marathon in an emotional finish. He dedicated his race to her by wearing a shirt saying: “26.2 for my hero: Andrea.”
“I appreciate the little victories and am stronger every day,” said Andrea. “It feels great to get out and do some regular activities. I even tried wheelchair tennis." She continues to celebrate accomplishments, like being recently cleared to drive and returning to her work as Special Events Manager at the Omaha Kroc Center.