Luckily, however, luck was on Alfonso’s side and she should make a full recovery.
Doctors told her she was incredibly lucky to survive the accident, which left her with a fracture in her upper neck called a “hangman’s fracture”. After seven and a half hours of surgery, Alfonso’s surgeon told her she was “a walking miracle”.
Her doctors believe she survived the injury in part thanks to her regular yoga practice, which strengthened her neck muscles. At the time of impact, Alfonso had also reached out to grab her dog, Frankie, and the position she was in might have avoided more serious injury or death, she said.
“I had one hand on the wheel, and between yoga and saving [Frankie’s] life, it saved my life,” says Alfonso. “Most people don’t survive this break.”
Additionally, Alfonso was up and walking the day after the surgery and was cleared to return home five days later.
“I’m very lucky with this injury because most people are paralyzed and can’t walk, but I can move my extremities and I get up and move,” she says. “I’m going to wear a neck brace for three months and it will take me about a year to fully recover, but I’m very lucky.”
Alfonso was a self-employed delivery driver for the Interior for two and a half years, making weekly trips through northern Idaho and the Palouse. Our head of broadcast Frank DeCaro considers Alfonso one of the stars of the team, but Alfonso has no plans to reprise the role. This has been a side job to her full-time job as a counselor at a young adult transition program in Coeur d’Alene called Northwest College Support.
Supervisors there have told her that her job awaits her when she can return, but in the meantime she is racking up medical bills (even with health insurance) and regular living expenses. Because of this, a close friend set up a GoFundMe account for Alfonso, hoping to raise $20,000 to help with these expenses until she can return to work, and so that she could possibly buy a new car.
“One thing I’ve told people is the gift in all of this,” Alfonso says. “You never know what each day is going to hold for you, and the fact that I was so lucky in such a terrible thing. The way it brought the people in my life together and the strangers I met is that second gift and a whole new perspective.