By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN When Vesta Todd fell down the stairs last November, it not only crushed her T-12 vertebra, but also put a squeeze on her financial situation.
“Medical expenses are mounting, and she just needs some assistance,” said Frank Muckenhirn of Delano.
Friends have organized a benefit in Todd’s honor at the Delano American Legion Saturday, Jan. 29 from 3:30 to 8 p.m.
Todd, a Rockford resident, has been a bartender at the Delano American Legion for nearly five years. Because of her injury, Todd won’t be able to return to work until June.
“I loved my work,” she said. “I miss my people.”
A painful fall
The night of Todd’s injury, Nov. 19, she had gotten out of bed at 2 a.m., and noticed that her basement door was open.
When she reached out to close it, she missed the step and ended up falling to the bottom of the staircase.
“I knew something had happened real bad, but I somehow managed to crawl up the stairs,” she said.
Todd endured an extensive five-hour surgery and now has two titanium rods permanently in her back.
Since the injury, she’s been wearing a “turtle shell” type brace that extends from her esophagus throughout the length of her back.
“That keeps everything straight and in line,” she said. “I’m getting better at getting it on and off by myself.”
In about a month, the turtle shell will come off and Todd will be able to start therapy.
Despite the severity of her injuries, Todd considers herself fortunate.
“I was so close to being paralyzed,” she said. “The doctor is a miracle worker.”
Todd’s surgeon works at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.
Thanks to him, Todd expects to have a relatively complete recovery. She will still need to be extra careful while lifting, however.
The pain is starting to subside, Todd said, but she still has trouble sleeping and usually gets up by 4 or 5 a.m.
“It’s been a nightmare, believe me,” she said. “The most comfortable is to sit in the wheelchair.”
Todd’s been told that she’s healing well, and doesn’t need to use a walker much anymore.
“I’m getting to where I can stand there and do the dishes,” she said.
Todd’s main goal right now is to take care of herself so that she can return to work.
She’s also hoping to be healthy enough to go fishing this summer.
“I love to fish,” Todd said. “I can’t wait to get back out there.”
Todd’s fishing friend, Carol Daniels, is helping to organize Todd’s benefit.
“She’s the one who has been in charge of donations,” Todd said.
The Saturday, Jan. 29 benefit will start with a silent auction from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
“I know several places have donated,” Todd said, adding that there will be restaurant certificates, gift baskets, baked goods, and handcrafted items.
A spaghetti dinner will take place from 4 to 7 p.m., with a meat raffle at 5 p.m.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a cash raffle. At 8 p.m., there will be a first-place drawing of $500, second-place drawing of $200, and third- through fifth-place drawings of $100 each.
“People don’t need to be present to win,” Todd said.
Todd said she is thankful for all the people who’ve helped her through her injury.
“Things are starting to look up,” she said.
Todd, who has lived in the Rockford area since age 12, has many friends in the Delano, Maple Plain, and Orono area. Before her family moved to Minnesota, Todd lived in Florida and Missouri.
To learn more about Todd’s benefit, or to donate items for the silent auction, contact Frank Muckenhirn at (612) 859-8534 or Carol Daniels at (763) 954-1375.