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‘It has been a journey.’ Local woman returns home from hospital after bike accident in California.

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IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls woman who was in the hospital last month in California with significant injuries, including a brain bleed, has returned home safely.

ZoAnn Keck returned home on July 8. She and her friend Ebony Gardner went on a trip together last month to California. It was supposed to be a quick, fun trip, but unfortunately, it turned into a lengthy ordeal involving injuries that landed both friends in the hospital.

“It left me with a fractured skull, a brain bleed. It’s messed up my right eye and my right shoulder. My mouth has some issues. I have some memory issues that just come along with the concussion. My words don’t come easy,”
 said Ebony Gardner in an interview last month with EastIdahoNews.com.

Gardner doesn’t remember much. All she remembers is riding on e-bikes at Balboa Island in Newport Beach, then waking up with a woman kneeling over her telling her not to move. Her head was gushing blood.

RELATED: Two friends land in hospital after bike accident, family raises funds to help

Keck told EastIdahoNews.com on Wednesday that she doesn’t remember riding bikes and doesn’t even remember the trip to California.

“The first memory I have at all is I woke up and it was dark in the room. I was in a hospital bed. I felt terrified. I felt pain. I felt cold. I just had no idea what had even happened. I turned and I saw my husband. At that moment, I couldn’t have told you that he was my husband,” explained Keck. “I just knew I belonged to him. All those feelings of being terrified of the pain, everything, it just kind of settled and left me. I just knew I belonged to him, but I didn’t even know if he belonged to me.”

Keck said at that moment, she knew she could just lay down and rest and that she would be okay because he was going to protect her.

husband and ZoAnn
ZoAnn Keck and her husband, Dave Keck. | Courtesy ZoAnn Keck

She stayed at Orange County Global Medical Center with Gardner. Gardner came home to Firth a lot sooner than Keck.

Keck suffered a brain bleed and broken ribs from the accident.

“It has been a journey for sure. Every day is getting better for me,” Keck said. “What I have been told is my short-term memory is what I struggle the most with.”

She says she is so happy for the people that took care of her in California.

“They were absolutely incredible. I do attribute a lot of where I’m at and how they helped me through and the people they have are amazing,” she said.

Keck explained she has been struggling with therapy to get her muscles moving because she still experiences a lot of pain. However, she has been going to a good physical therapist and chiropractor that have been helping her significantly.

“Nights are my hardest. That’s when the most pain comes, and then when I get pain, I get anxiety. I have a great husband who has just been really patient and kind with me,” she said.

She has been able to see Gardner since she has been back and has talked to her every day.

“I am absolutely happy to see that she’s okay,” Keck said.

Keck said if there’s one thing she has learned from this entire experience, it’s that memories matter, relationships matter, and the moments spent with family matter.

Gardner is glad to see that her friend is back in Idaho and recovering.

“We are both extremely blessed. I am just so happy that ZoAnn is back and is doing as well as she is doing because it was pretty scary there for a while,” Gardner said.

Gardner is still recovering from her injuries. She has good days and bad days due to her brain injury.

“It’s only been about a month and a half and to be doing as good as I am, I cannot even believe it. I know that it’s because of all the people that have prayed for us and just all the amazing people in our life. It’s pretty awesome,” Gardner said.

As for the trips Keck and Gardner like to take together, they have planned to take a step back and maybe do activities together locally from now on.

“We did decide that we are toning down our activities from here on out,” Gardner said, laughing. “We are going to mellow down for a while. Maybe forever! Who knows.”

on their trip
ZoAnn Keck (left) and Ebony Gardner. | Courtesy ZoAnn Keck
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