On Memorial Day weekend 2022, I was driving to my house when a drunk driver failed to stop at a stop sign, crossed over into my lane, and hit me head-on going so fast his car turned completely around heading the other direction.
"My surgeon said I would never walk the way I used to and these pilon fractures are as if I jumped off a 5-story building and landed on my feet."
I was airlifted to the Atlantic City Trauma Center as a level 2 trauma, where I underwent 5 surgeries during my 9 day stay in the ICU:
- Surgery performed on my broken right eye socket which had a hole into my sinus cavity.
- Surgery on a pilon fracture in my left ankle.
- Surgery to repair my left knee cap.
- Surgery on my left humerus bone which now has 14 screws holding it in place.
- Last but certainly not least, surgery on my right ankle. This was a compound fracture that needed external fixation to be done the night of the accident so all my other injuries could be addressed. When that right pilon fracture was taken care of a week later, some skin had died around the rods which resulted in the need for skin grafting on the right ankle.
In addition to the areas requiring surgical intervention, I also had several broken ribs and T1,T2, and T3 in my neck were fractured. I had double vision for a month and still have vertigo. At this point I may never be able to drive again.
My surgeon said I would never walk the way I used to and these pilon fractures are as if I jumped off a 5-story building and landed on my feet. I thank God I don’t remember anything from the accident or my early days in the hospital.
After I was released from the hospital, I spent approximately one month in a rehab facility and a total of 12 weeks of being bed-ridden, no weight bearing, and unable to bend my left leg at all.
"I was getting scared that I would survive the accident but need a liver transplant due to taking so much acetaminophen."
As for pain management, my earliest memory was:
- Morphine in IV
- Oxycodone 10 MG every 4 hours
- Acetominophen every 8 hours
- Ibuprofen in-between
In the physical rehabilitation facility, I went between 10 MG and 5 MG of oxycodone as needed for pain. The doctor joked that they called me Humpty Dumpty, as they had never seen as much hardware as I had in the arm and legs.
Once I was home, much to my surprise, my family doctor would not renew the Oxycodone prescription, as he had stopped writing prescriptions for opioids altogether 2 years ago. He then referred me to my Orthopedic surgeon, who said I just needed to be patient as injuries of this severity would take at least a year or longer to fully heal.
He was quick to say no more Oxycodone scripts past September or I would need to be sent to pain management. I started cutting the pills in half that day.
I had my family doctor check my liver panel and they were already at high levels from taking acetaminophen for 8 months straight. I was getting scared that I would survive the accident but need a liver transplant due to taking so much acetaminophen.
When I had my follow up appointment and the doctor looked at my ankles and heard my story, she told me of your pain patch. You can't imagine my surprise when the Signal Relief patch arrived 8 days later.
I read the website, watched Youtube, and put on my first patch on Sunday 11/27/22. I got almost immediate relief but was afraid it was mind over matter, so I didn't say anything to my husband until Monday morning.
"I can't believe I am walking on my right ankle without the constant pain I have had the last 6 months!"
That night was the first night I had forgotten to take my 2 pills before going to bed (because I was in no pain). I also slept 11 hrs straight – another first since the accident.
I wore my patch for 7 days straight, only removing it to shower and it adhered back each time before I had to change the adhesive. I can't believe I am walking on my right ankle without the constant pain I have had the last 6 months!
On PT days when my husband picks me up, I am usually crying from the pain and he has ice and pills in the car waiting for me. After these 2.5 hour long sessions, I keep my legs elevated and iced and do not get out of my chair for the rest of the day. But last week with my Signal patch on, we went out to lunch and ran errands!