On October 6th, 2004, while trimming a tree, the limb I was cutting bounced off the ground and knocked the ladder from under me. I fell about 15 feet and suffered a compound fracture of the lower left leg and two calcaneous fractures (broken heals). The compound fracture was severe causing my broken tibia to puncture my skin and Levis, and touch the ground.
I was fortunate my son was nearby, who called 911 immediately. It seemed as though the local rescue squad and ambulance arrived in just five minutes to take me to the local hospital. The local hospital removed my pants, x-rayed the legs, and told me I would need treatment from an orthopedic surgeon. The doctors and nurses asked me if I wanted any pain relievers and I told them, “no, the pain in my legs was bearable.”
I had two choices. I could go to St. Louis, MO or Springfield, IL, both were a two hour drive. I chose Springfield, and when I asked how I would get there, the doctor asked me if I had insurance. I said I had absolutely no insurance. He told me I would be going by ambulance (and not helicopter). Since that moment, my neighbor told me of a company called Air Evac Lifeteam, which offers insurance to pay for air lifting in emergencies.
The ambulance ride would not have been so bad, except that I had not urinated since before lunch and my bladder felt it was near the point of rupturing. In my prone position I was not able to relieve myself. Six hours after I had broke my legs, I was at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. The first thing they did was insert a catheter, to my great relief. Next, the nurse asked me when I last had a tetanus shot. I informed her that I have used an herbal remedy (yarrow) to cure tetanus in the past and continued to take this herb even up to the morning of my accident. She acted like she was going to have a stroke, so to calm her, I allowed her to give me a tetanus shot.
Memorial Medical Center is a teaching hospital. Most of the emergency workers were students. One unfortunate young man could not find a decent artery to take a blood sample and gave up, even with my encouragement to try again. It must have been the first night for several of these workers as they were continually seeking advice from other staff members for normal, routine processes. I didn’t mind at all letting them practice on me.
After about an hour, and after my son and mother arrived at the hospital, I was wheeled off for surgery. Just before surgery I was given some papers to sign. I always read what I sign, having been a finance manager for several companies. Right at the end of the consent form was a clause stating I agreed to pay 26.5% interest on any unpaid balance after 45 days. I told the nurse at the counter my income was less than $5,000 per year and that I had no insurance. I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, sign that paper since I knew there was no way I could pay the bill.
After about an hour of calling the hospital administrators, I was told I could write a comment stating that I did not agree with this clause, and initial it, before signing. I did this. The hospital at no time after tried to charge me interest on my outstanding balance.
After signing the paper, I met my surgeon. He was a friendly man who offered me moral support and told me that he would be able to fix my leg. He told me he had the same injury as I did when he was younger. He further went on to say they were just going to clean out the wound that night and focus on keeping any infection from developing. The doctors would not attempt to reconstruct my leg until the infection was clear. I placed complete trust in him.
When I awoke the next morning I was receiving strong antibiotics through my arm and was told to use the morphine button every hour to keep the pain down. The nurse pushed it for me the first time. I didn’t have pain when I broke the leg, but I did start to feel pain when I awoke, although it was more of a feeling of being uncomfortable than a sharp pain. I used the morphine button, as I was told, throughout my nine days in the hospital. There were three surgeries, total. The second surgery was also only for cleaning the wound. The third surgery was for setting the bones and installing an external fixator. There were also 11 screws and a titanium plate installed. The titanium plate was put on my fibula near the ankle and required four screws. One screw was put through my ankle to prevent my foot from moving. The six remaining screws were placed throughout the leg to hold various chunks of bone in place. The doctor told me that when I healed I would be able to leave the screws and plate in my leg for the rest of my life and never know they were there. I looked at him skeptically and told him I didn’t plan on having this hardware in my leg any longer than necessary, and intended to make a full recovery. I can understand the doctor’s skepticism, but he didn’t seem to understand my resolve to heal my leg.
I was sent home with the external fixator, and a prescription for antibiotics, children’s aspirin, and Vicodin. I took the antibiotics for a few days and then stopped taking them. I took the aspirin for two months, as the doctor said it was important to prevent blood clots in my leg. I took the Vicodin for a few weeks and then stopped when I found out it was addictive. Sure enough, I experienced withdrawal symptoms when stopping the Vicodin.
Being curious about how other people dealt with a compound fracture, I searched the Internet for personal accounts. I was surprised to see that many people have been discussing their experiences for several years on various health related web sites.
Of particular interest was a web site titled “Fracture Healing”. Here I learned how several supplements to the diet were helpful for regenerating the bone and tissue. So I ordered the following supplements from Total Health Discount Vitamins. Be careful, I coded my email address and found out that despite their promise not to sell my email address, they did. I started receiving spoof emails looking like eBay and PayPal to the email address I only used for placing orders at Total Health Discount Vitamins. It is only a minor inconvenience compared to the good service, good selection, good quality, and excellent prices of this online retailer.
Below are the supplements I purchased and their product numbers:
Glucosamine Sulfate NW-3239
Bone Calcium NW-1227
Multigland for Men SLRY-5095
It is my belief that the body will learn to extract all the nutrition it needs from a supplement, regardless of the quantity taken. At first I began by taking one each, twice a day. After a few weeks, I took only one each per day. I bought the largest quantity of each supplement. When the OptiZinc, l-arginine, and l-glutamine were gone, I did not replenish them. The other supplements also contained these minerals and amino acids.
I also tried magnetic healing.
In all, the above supplements were very helpful. After one year, I had the screws and plate removed as I had planned to do. I used other herbs and supplements as mentioned elsewhere on this web site. I have made a perfect recovery. Aside from a little stiffness in my ankle, after five years my leg is as good as new.