Home for Christmas

20:21, Dec 19 2012
Kirsten Steinke
Home for Christmas: Kirsten Steinke is ready to leave hospital where she has been recovering from a fatal Waikato crash in September.

Injured American tourist Kirsten Steinke will spend her final day in a Colorado hospital tomorrow before returning to her parents' Denver home.

Ms Steinke and her husband, Kallan Stithem, were on honeymoon in New Zealand when their car collided with a cement truck as the couple tried to exit Waitomo Caves Rd on to State Highway 3 on September 20.

Mr Stithem was killed in the crash while Ms Steinke, 28, was critically injured and spent a month at Waikato Hospital before leaving Hamilton on an international air ambulance flight to her hometown of Denver, Colorado.

Yesterday her father, James Steinke, emailed  the Waikato Times to say his daughter was finally ready to leave  specialist traumatic brain injury facility, Craig Hospital.''So [today] is her last day of inpatient therapies,'' he said.

While Ms Steinke has no memory of her time in Waikato Hospital, her father said she ''clearly remembers virtually everything in her life up until approximately an hour prior to the accident.''

Since returning to America Ms Steinke's rehabilitation has included occupational therapies, physical therapies, and speech therapies.


''These consume most of the daylight hours and have brought her to the point of complete independence for her day to day life,'' Mr Steinke said.

''Almost every day brings new advances - reduced or eliminated medications, new freedoms in mobility, travel, and exercises.''

Ms Steinke will live with her parents in Denver for at least three months as she continues her recovery.

''Kirsten writes daily, is completely independent on her social media, and regularly visits with friends and relatives.''

There really isn't a "typical day" as her progression has been rapid and consistent.