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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Ruthann Gimbel has a new direction in life after an accident

  • Ruthann Gimbel used to be a perfectionist, a high-energy person who traveled extensively and never had trouble getting good jobs.



    That was before July of 2005.



    “Seven years ago a semi changed lanes into me,” she said. “It changed my direction and my life.”

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  • Ruthann Gimbel used to be a perfectionist, a high-energy person who traveled extensively and never had trouble getting good jobs.
    That was before July of 2005.
    “Seven years ago a semi changed lanes into me,” she said. “It changed my direction and my life.”
    Now she’s in Pittsburg, still healing and adjusting to a new way of life.
    Gimbel was born in Iowa, grew up in Minnesota and then moved to Colorado. She also lived 19 months in Taiwan, was in North Carolina for three years, and spent seven months is Israel.
    “I left there the day before the United States started bombing Iraq,” Gimbel said.
    She also went to Spokane to spend a summer with a friend, and was in Texas, with time in Kansas  City in between.
    “Kansas City is probably where I’ve been as an adult more than any other place,” Gimbel said.
    She worked, primarily office jobs, for which she was highly qualified.
    “Jobs were easy to find, usually the first place I’d go I would get a job,” she said.
    But that was before the encounter with the semi. She did go back to office work after the accident, but found something had changed.
    “Before the accident I was working with billion-dollar contracts,” Gimbel said. “Afterward, I could barely count to five. Several months later somebody referred me to a doctor who said I’d had a traumatic brain injury.”
    She had evidence of that back in Kansas City.
    “Three days after I arrived, I was going to leave to go to my niece’s wedding, and I went to a library to print out a map quest,” Gimbel said. “I had a bad seizure. A woman there who had lost a daughter to seizure syndrome timed me, and I had a seven-minute seizure.”
    Extremely healthy before the accident, she was now faced with the brain injury and a bad, painful limp.
    “Friends who knew me before said I was completely changed,” Gimbel said. “A friend took me in, and then I was in a homeless shelter in Paola. In May of 2011 I found myself here. In October 2011 I had just gotten in the bank and I had another seizure. That’s how I broke my hip.”
    She now uses a walker to get around.
    “The doctor says it’s all right to move my leg, but I shouldn’t put weight on it,” Gimbel said. “I had been in physical therapy, but met the cap on Oct. 1 so I had to quit that.”
    She resisted going on disability.
    “I thought I would get stuck, but they said no, that I could be on it for a limited time,” Gimbel said.
    Page 2 of 2 - At this point, she said, she’s trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up.
    “It’s difficult when you go from high energy to having to budget your energy, to trying to decide if  you have enough energy to do this and that,” Gimbel said.
    She has been sustained by her faith.
    “I believe that everything we experience is Father-filtered,” Gimbel said. “There are some definite pluses, though I wouldn’t have thought there would be any. I used to be a major performer, and I had to realize there are some things I can’t do. I still try to be independent, but the maintenance man here is marvelous. When daylight savings time goes off, there’s no way I can reach my kitchen clock to change it, so I’ll have to ask him to do it. The Care Van driver is so nice.”
    Formerly on the go, she has learned to relax.
    “I used to be a perfectionist, but when you have a traumatic brain injury, this changes,” Gimbel said.
    The former  world traveler is happy to be in Pittsburg.
    “I can’t think of any place where I could have had the services I’ve had except here in Pittsburg,” Gimbel said. “I really like it here. I’m not really sure why I’m here in Pittsburg, but I’m sure there is a specific reason.”
    She has made friends and strives to keep up a positive attitude.
    “I could moan and groan about all this, but I can’t turn back time and live in the past,” Gimbel said. “It is tempting to live in the future when I’m better and can do more, but that’s not healthy either. My Father gives us grace sufficient for the moment.”

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