Walking with a limp and speaking softly, Franklin resident Lauren Molitor walked unaided out of Froedtert Hospital last Friday, 41 days after nearly being crushed to death in a grocery store parking lot.
Wearing a green sweat suit and breathing with the aid of a portable oxygen tank, Molitor, 22, said she wanted to go home, take a shower, see her puppy and resume a normal life.
“It’s exciting,” Molitor said before slowly shuffling out the lobby surrounded by mini-cams, flashing digital cameras and the stares of hospital passersbys. “I just want to get a little better each day.”
Flanked by her parents, Randee and John Molitor, and her sisters, Liz and Michelle, Molitor spoke briefly at an informal news conference in the hospital lobby before she departed for her parent’s Franklin home.
A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee undergraduate student, Molitor was critically injured in early September after being pinned between a van and a truck during a sorority fund-raising car wash in Franklin.
Molitor said she did not fully recover consciousness until about Oct. 1 and had no memory of the accident. She suffered a serious lung injury, adult respiratory distress syndrome. Her hushed voice was the result of a tracheotomy that helped her to breathe while she was in critical condition.
“I tried to stay positive. I made (progress) by looking forward to something new each day. I’d say to myself, ‘Today is the day I’m going to sit up,’” she said.
Molitor said she was overwhelmed by an outpouring of get-well messages, cards and e-mails she has received since the accident.
“I just wanted to say thank you. It’s just amazing. All these different people have come together and supported me,” she said.
Randee Molitor said she was ecstatic her daughter was able to walk out of the hospital unaided.
“This is the day of all days. This is a day of miracles. A day of celebration,” she said. “We are just so grateful to Froedtert Hospital. The care here has been absolutely fantastic. We’re amazed at the recovery she has made and couldn’t be more blessed to have her come home with us.”
Lauren Molitor said she will undergo a lengthy recovery with intensive physical and occupational therapy. She intends to return to UW-Milwaukee, where she will eventually resume practice-teaching.
“But I don’t think I’m going back to school until next fall,” she said.
John Neville can be reached at (262) 446-6609.
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