"I had to learn to stand and walk again": how a Hospitaller get back to work after an accident
In the summer of 2022, anesthesiologist Katya Seliverstova and paramedic Nataliya Frausher had an accident on the "Kraken" ambulance bus. Nataliya died, and it took Katya 8 months to learn to stand and walk again.
"LIFE IN TWO SHIFTS"
The "Avstriyka" evacuation bus has been taking out seriously wounded soldiers from the front for several months now. This is an ambulance bus of the Hospitallers Volunteer Medical Unit, which can transport at least 10 wounded at the same time. The bus was named after Katya's deceased friend and fellow - Nataliya Frausher.
Katya Seliverstova works as an anesthesiologist at the Institute of Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Gynecology. In order to have time to go on rotations as a member of Hospitallers, Katya switched to a part-time job, as she believes that the wounded also need her help.
"I don't quite understand this 'it is no business' position. During a war, a full-scale invasion, I think there should be a completely different position. I support the idea that everyone should be in their place, not everyone should be in the trenches - some should be at stabilization points, in hospitals, for example," the woman says.
Katya is sure that the anesthesiologist plays a key role in the full functioning of the evacuation bus.
"In projects like 'Kraken' or 'Avstriyka', anesthesiologists are very important now, they are practically the head of the bus, they must come to the rescue if something happens to the wounded during transportation," she says.
Between evacuation trips, Katya shows her fellow soldiers photos of her little patients and shares her experience of putting IVs on babies, because due to the size of their veins, it's almost like working with jewelry.
"I like to joke that patients are my children. I never know how many children I'll have today - 3 or 8. In essence, something similar is happening here, on the 'Avstriyka' bus. Adults are also like big kids," smiles Katya.
"IT WAS LIKE A BAD DREAM"
Katya joined Hospitallers shortly before the Kraken accident.
"It's terrifying when you fall asleep, and everything is fine, you're so upbeat, in a good mood, about to do a good deed, and then at some point you open your eyes and just don't see half the bus in front of you. And you don't know whether it's a stupid dream or you're overtired and imagining it..." the girl recalls.
When Katya woke up, she realized that she couldn't move her legs and, at first, thought she would never walk again. Katya says she wasn't afraid then but began thinking about how her life would change. However, after eight months of rehabilitation and daily sessions with physical therapists, she got back on her feet.
"It took me a long time to recover. I was in the hospital for over a month and had about eight surgeries. I had a pelvic fracture, iron plates were put in, and I had problems with my knees - I got a little bit of everything," says Katya.
"I DIDN'T KNOW HOW I WOULD BEHAVE WHEN I GOT ON THE BUS"
Now Katya is the head of a crew of six. She made a decision to return to evacuating the wounded while still in intensive care, but she was terrified of getting on the bus after the accident.
"I didn't know how strong the flashbacks would be because I hadn't even been on a bus for a long time. In fact, the first bus that I got on was the Austriyka. But despite all this, I knew that I had to be there at least once. I was drawn there and tried to get on this trip with all my strength," Katya says.
Her fears about her emotional state didn't materialize. Katya says she has entered the Austriyka and felt incredibly calm: "Maybe I'm going to say something strange, but they drew us a picture of our bus, an escort car, and two palms, like the two palms of "Austriyka" - our Natalia - and I think she is protecting our bus with her palms, and that's why she is calm, which means everything will be fine."
Not all members of Katya's family supported her decision to return to work, but they couldn't dissuade her from another rotation.
"They tell me that God has saved me, and I don't need to go there since I'm so unlucky. On the contrary, I think I'm lucky because I'm alive despite the accident; all parts of me are with me, and it is good. There are nuances, but everyone has their nuances..." Katya laughs.
On the first trip, the bus crew took ten soldiers to one of the rear hospitals. In total, "Austriyka" has evacuated more than 500 soldiers. #Hospitallers #Paramedics #UkraineParamedics #HospitallersUkraine #HospitallersUK #HelpHospitallers #Ukraine #SupportUkraine #HelpUkraine #StandWithUkraine #HelpUkraineNow