Becomming Whole Again NULL

We all have our own story filled with chapters about people and events unique to us and I will never forget where my life story took a sudden change of course and brought about my most life altering events with people I'll never forget.

I had a routine operation on my knee go wrong and developed a life threatening infection. I was rushed into the first of many emergency surgeries with a doctor I trust and in the end, am grateful for. I was told later that had we waited just one more day, the infection would have become fatal. There are no adequate words to describe what it feels like when your doctor looks into your eyes and informs you just how close to death you had come. The infection cleared with IV meds and surgical debridement only to return a month later which was a sign of a vicious cycle beginning. He took me into the OR a total of 4 times including the first operation and when the infection returned again, he made a decision that altered my life and one I am most grateful for.

He called in another doctor—a board certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in musculoskeletal trauma, bone infection and post-traumatic reconstruction. My doctor's receptionist made the first call and was told I could be seen in two weeks. My doctor excused himself from the exam room only to return several minutes later saying that he had made the magnitude of the situation known and that we had an appointment with Dr. B. the very next day.

I still remember my first meeting with Dr. B. We'd been to Baltimore only once prior to that day and had no idea where we were going. My oldest sister came along to help navigate and also because I needed her. Dr. B. was kind, patient, and matter-of-fact. He spent a lot of time with us that day telling us about himself, why he'd left Shock Trauma and had started a family late, and explaining what he was going to do to heal me. My family looks back now and laughs at how he hadn't even begun to unwrap my leg and look at my wound when he looked me in the eye and said, "So when are we going to operate?" It was apparent by my face that I'd been taken completely off guard because my mind was spinning and digesting the information I'd already given and I looked right back at him and said, "we're not." He informed me that, yes I would be having surgery and that if we wanted to he could admit me right then and there and operate the following morning. Ultimately, we opted to wait a few days to allow us to get things in order and come to terms with the idea of an external fixator and muscle flap—both new concepts to us.

I remember bits and pieces of that week. I remember having to put off the muscle flap until incredibly late at night and waking up afterward in so much intense pain that I thought for certain I was going to die. I remember getting up on crutches for the first time with the fixator and doing my best not to cry as intense pain ran down my leg. I remember Dr. B. laughing at my hat one day and then calling me "Adidas" the next day after being told by my mother that my hat served as a security blanket for me. The recovery process was long but everything healed nicely and eventually the PICC line was pulled and the fixator was taken off and I was back at physical therapy learning to use my leg again with a relief at knowing that it was over. However, we were all soon to find out that it was far from over.

I awoke one morning to the realization that my leg was swollen, red, and painful. The infection was back. We called the doctor and though he didn't truly believe that it was anything serious, he arranged to meet us at the ER on Saturday to take a look. He did take a look and immediately said, "That's one angry knee." It was tapped and I was admitted.

Surgery after surgery was performed on my knee, sometimes by him and sometimes by Dr. Higgins, while everyone struggled to solve the mystery of why the infections simply wouldn't die. Somewhere in the middle of everything I also learned that Dr. B. truly cares for his patients and that he had done some reading on Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic, progressive, debilitating disease that I suffer from, trying to understand the disease and what effect it might have in the battle against the raging infections. We tried everything that anyone could come up with but the infection wasn't going to give up easily. Dr. B. never once hesitated to admit that he didn't have the answers.

I will never forget the day I hopped into his office, handed him a list to help explain that I wanted an amputation. That decision was perhaps the hardest yet easiest decision of my life. From day one with the first infection my fear had been that I would lose my leg and I didn't think I could live like that. However, time went by, the pain increased to being constant, and the infections refused to stop. I did a lot of research, talked with each member of my family individually, spoke with my family doctor and sat down with my physical therapists. Dr. B. wasn't happy but he had told me before and told me again that he would do whatever I wanted him to do. In the post-op appointment he admitted that he'd posed my case as a hypothetical to other doctors and that the general consensus was that in conjunction with MS, amputation made sense. He eventually agreed.

I wrote him a long letter when all was said and done because I wanted and needed him to know that it was the right decision. I know he had his doubts and fears and so did I. That morning as I sat in the pre-op room looking down at my leg and the Genie drawing saying "good-bye leg," I told myself that I could back out of this. I still had time to cancel the surgery. That moment passed, he came into the room to talk, and as I was pushed down the hall to the OR my last thought was, "this is the right thing." It was. Learning to walk with the prosthetic will be another long haul in which patience is most certainly a virtue but I know I'll get through it and walk again and get back to my life.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't afraid during all of this time. The fact is that I was terrified every time I realized that something wasn't right and my knee exploded with a full blown infection. I was afraid of losing my leg but mostly, I was afraid of losing my life. Unlike a lot of people, I like to know what is going on and I do my research. I have always been acutely aware of the fact that infections kill and they can kill quickly. When I look at my doctors over the past years, I don't just see my surgeons. I see the men who repeatedly saved my life.

People ask me if I hate my surgeon because he didn't fix the problem. My answer is, "no, I love the guy." Dr. B. went above and beyond to help me and keep me safe. He did everything in his power to fix it and I know the frustration has run deep in him just as it has in me. He put me at ease no matter what hell was circling me. He took his time during appointments to just talk or share a funny story. He came to my hospital room twice and sat down in the chair to stay and talk with me and find out where my head was at, what I was thinking, how my MS was holding up, and what my plans for the future were. He trusted me and my mom. If we called to say that something wasn't right he didn't doubt us and took us very seriously. When his family was out of town he sat in the waiting room with my family and just talked while I underwent another surgery.

Ours is not a typical doctor/patient relationship. In surgery, you fix whatever problem the patient has, you follow up with post-op appointments, they heal and it's all over. I kept coming back. We got to really know each other. I can't thank him enough for everything he has done. There simply aren't enough words in the English language to describe it. When he told me that we had just had our final visit as doctor and patient, it hit me harder than I ever thought it would.

Those are events that have greatly impacted my life and will always stand out. Dr. B. is one of the people who left a mark on my heart and in my life. My many thanks go out to him from the bottom of my heart for everything that he's done and for being in my corner and helping me get to a point where I can finally start to take control of my life and become whole once again.

Submitted by Anonymous


Rising Above
Pass It On®
Pass It On®

  email

Your Comments
Here are some other inspiring stories you might like.
CARING
BETTY DRUCK I want to tell you about my grandmother,she is in her late 50's,she has spent everyday of her life caring for everyone she meets.She has had multiple surgeries and other problems of her own and yet she has given everything for her family,she has spent every christmas with my dad,even when she was in other...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
BEING THERE
BK SAINI SAINI My husband helped me since he knew me since 1975. He is there for me every single day. He is so kind all the time. He took care of me during any need except not when he is at the job. He comes at home if any emergency arrives. For God’s grace he was never called till today. I still remember when our second baby...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
PEACE
DANA W Grieving (Fly High Dana Wilson Jr.) On March 7, 2022 my only little brother passed away at home in his bed. This has been one of the hardest things to deal with. I dont think a day goes by that i dont find myself breaking down crying. I think my eyes are puffy did alot of crying yesterday..omg this is really...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
KINDNESS
WENDY T Wendy was my wife of 4 years. We dated in high school, over 30 years ago. Eight years ago, we reconnected, and fell in love all over again. I quickly became attuned to why she was so special: Her kindness. I had never met anyone before, who showed as much kindness to everybody, as Wendy had. It wasn't one...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
LOVE
AMARA OKEKE My hero is my late mother Since 2000, she fells sick. She was diabetic, all my life I have taken care of her , I abandoned my school, my Visa and career to taken care of her , after 19 years of my sufferings she died last two Saturdays..I was actually 6 years when I started cooking, doing house chores for my...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
KINDNESS
MOTHER TERESA Mother Teresa was born in Albania and left her home country very early in life. She lived in Ireland to learn English, and ultimately went to India where she resided until her death. She was a beacon of hope for many. She did not look to caste, class, religion, skin color, or any other identity to separate...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
MENTORING
MISTY WELLS 5 Years ago Misty saw a need in children in Foster Care and she took action. For the past 5 years going strong Misty started a non profit called " A Reel Future" where she takes children in Group Foster Care fishing. She has single handed taken over 3,000 foster children fishing. She is showing them...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
BRAVERY
HARRIET TUBMAN Harriet Tubman freed 300 slaves she was so brave that is why she is my hero
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
HELPING OTHERS
SAWYER A. After learning about children and families in the poverty-stricken villages of Zambia; a country in south-central Africa, Sawyer Anderson wanted to help bring clean, safe water to the villagers. At age 9, Sawyer wrote and illustrated the book, Water Works, which is published in America, Vietnam (in Vietnamese)...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
COMPASSION
CHARLIE SCHULZ My son, Charlie, was an inspiration to many during his 19 years on this earth. When Charlie was in 5th grade, despite what we learned later was severe social anxiety, their strong sense of what was right led them to circulate petitions among their 5th grade schoolmates and write and present a statement (through...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
WISDOM
JAHSEH O There are many heros I look up to, but Jahseh Onfroy helped me through the darkest times in my life. His music did not only help me but it helped countless people. When he spoke to us, it was always about growing and becoming better than what we are. I have learned many valuable lessons from him, and I constantly...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
LORI R. In 2012 Lori, along with her then high school age daughter Shira, began to keep their vehicle filled with pet supplies to hand out to the pets living on the streets of Riverside, CA with their homeless companions. They would give out pet food, leashes, collars and water so the pets would be fed well and kept...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
CARING
TISH R My former wife is an amazing individual. She works as a behavior analyst, and has been helping injured others achieve a much greater quality of life. In one of my proudest specific memories, she facilitated a transition for a man who was in an ALF, brain-injured, from wearing diapers in a wheelchair to...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
STRENGTH
ANDRE D On May 2, 2014 Andre' MY HUSBAND at the age of 42 suffered a massive heart attack, he was without oxygen to his brain for several minutes. It caused an Anoxic Brain Injury and other problems such as cortical blindness, seizures and he is bedridden for the rest of his life and resides in a nursing home. The...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
ACHIEVEMENT
AXANA SOLTAN Axana’s steadfast commitment to service made her not only an international voice of activism, but also a champion for the minorities. For the year of 2018-2019, Axana was selected as one of the United Nations finalists to serve as the U.S.A Youth Observer at United Nations Headquarters. The following year, Axana...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
FAMILY
PAT C Next to his faith in God, the most important thing in my Dad’s life was his family; my Mom who was the love of his life, his kids, grandkids, great grandkids, brothers, and sisters. One of the ways he made life better for all of us and left his fingerprint on our lives was through the use of what I like to call...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
Where did your values come from?

We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.

Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories