Euphemia: Back on the Road

Euphemia is not one to sit still for long, and thanks to Mercy Medical Center and Dr. Charles Park, she isn’t just sitting anymore.

Euphemia was a bus driver in Baltimore City, an often hectic job that kept her continually moving. But all that came to a halt in the Spring of 2006 when the Northeast Baltimore resident was injured on the job. “There’s a wheelchair lifter on the bus that wasn’t functioning, so I had to lift it by hand one day,” she said. “When I did, I knew something was wrong.”

What was wrong was that Euphemia had injured a disc in her spine, causing her pain, numbness, and eventually limiting her mobility.

“The pain just kept getting worse and worse,” she said. “Eventually my legs began getting weak. The pain got so intense I couldn’t even socialize with people. I was always sitting down like I was old, and I’m not old.”

Euphemia found the road to recovery through worker’s compensation, which recommended she see a specialist. “I went to Dr. Park,” she said. “And I was really glad I did.”

The Recovery Road

Dr. Charles Park is a neurosurgeon and Director of The Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Center at Mercy Medical Center. He specializes in minimally invasive procedures for conditions and disorders of the brain and spine. He was the driver who would get Euphemia moving again.

Dr. Park initially did not recommend surgery. Instead, Euphemia followed a treatment regime that began with physical therapy then moved to injections to help relieve her pain.  Eventually, however, her condition worsened. “I was losing my balance,” she said. “One day I even fell down the steps at home and fell into the bushes. It wasn’t getting better.”

In August 2015, Euphemia had surgery to relieve the pressure of a disc, which had shifted, and was pressing against a nerve on her spine. And if she’d had any doubts about the procedure, they were erased just before she was taken into surgery. “Dr. Park prayed with me, and then he said ‘Everything’s going to be okay,” she said. “I felt the spirit. I wasn’t afraid anymore.”

The surgery was a success. Euphemia stayed at Mercy for a little more than two weeks, starting therapy the day after the surgery. “That very next day I was able to walk,” she said, “and little by little I’ve gotten my strength back. I have minimal scars but they’re continuing to heal. I’m just so glad I had the surgery.”

The Road Ahead

Euphemia plans to eventually return to work, and as she continues on her recovery road, she repeatedly gives credit to the doctor and the hospital that started moving her forward, pain free again.

“Everyone at Mercy is so nice,” she said. “The nurses, especially. I loved them. Anything I needed they got it for me. They just made me comfortable.

“And I just love Dr. Park. He’s really the best doctor I’ve ever been to. He’s funny and talented. I’d recommend him to anyone.

“I would put my life in his hands again. No question about it.”

Euphemia's Treatment Team