Looking forward – Carole Wallace’s recovery from last year’s boat accident

More than one year ago, Carole Wallace's life was changed forever. Carole was seriously injured last fall after a boat fell on her near her property on Swift Bay. But even as disaster struck Carole said she felt the presence of her faith.

More than one year ago, Carole Wallace’s life was changed forever.

Carole was seriously injured last fall after a boat fell on her near her property on Swift Bay. But even as disaster struck Carole said she felt the presence of her faith.

On the night of the accident, I looked up into the sky and thought everything is going to be okay,” she said.

The boat broke her third lumbar in her lower back and bruised her spinal cord, but it did not sever the spine. Finding out that she was not paralyzed after the accident was a miracle for friends and family.

The hospital staff calls her Powerhouse Wallace,” said close friend Tammy Pal several days after the accident in an interview with the Weekly.She is strong mentally and physically, refusing to let in any negative thoughts come in.”

Carole calls the last year a journey that started when the 42-foot boat was blown onto the nearby bay on Oct. 3, 2012 and was grounded. Carole’s husband David Wallace called the owner, his uncle Bob Graves, who drove up the next day from his home in Eugene, Ore. They immediately attempted to push the boat into deeper waters, but were unsuccessful in moving the 16-ton vessel.

So the next morning, at 1 a.m., when a higher tide appeared, Graves decided to start digging a channel in hopes of pushing the boat out.

I couldn’t let him do it by himself so I went out too,” David told the Weekly last year. “And Carole wanted to help. I told her she should stay in bed, but she said she could at least hold a flashlight.”

David recalled that they all started digging in the wet sand that was covered with seaweed. Carole and Graves were digging near the bow, when all of a sudden the boat rolled over onto them. Carole said the shift could have been due to the digging and the tide coming in under the sand. The two opposing catch lines’ anchors could have also shifted in the sand.

Carole was caught under the boat, her back and legs practically closed together. Graves’ hips were crushed by the boat.

An account was set up almost immediately at Islanders Bank in Carole’s name to help provide medical and logistical expenses.

I’m so grateful for all the community support,” she said. “So many people were generous not just with money, but sending letters of support.”

Graves has fully recovered from injuries to his pelvis. He has been able to return to his karate, said David. And after initially fearing that Carole would be paralyzed because of her injuries, the Wallaces were happy to find that she had some mobility in her lower body. Now her spine has pins fusing it back together.

She also has leg braces that help her to walk. Her favorite place to take a stroll is at the grocery store where the aisles are wide, the ground is flat and there are plenty of familiar faces encouraging her on.

Walking is one of the best things I can do,” she said.

She tries to work on her physical therapy everyday, but “sometimes every day life gets in the way,” she said.

She added that having the help of her husband and family has helped her deal with her injury. Needing help has also taught her the “lesson of letting go and learning to accept and appreciate the offering.”

She describes herself as 90 percent of the time happy, strong and motivated, but every once in a while things catch up to her.

She said her biggest trial is managing her pain. Sometimes her legs feel like she’s walked through a patch of stinging nettles and other times she feels ice cold and can’t warm up for hours.

This is a test of patience, to not get discouraged, to be grateful for all I have,” she said.

But the prognosis of her recovery is unknown. She said in two more years she will know the full extent of her ability to move. Until then she will take it day to day.

A bright point on the horizon includes her learning how to drive using hand controls.

“I’m excited to get my independence back,” said Carole.