Dr. Turner's Foot Fracture Recovery

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Surprised doctor

Dr. Turner's Foot Fracture Recovery

An Insightful Interview by Holly Faris 

1.
What happened to your foot?
I broke it walking down the stairs. I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. It was a fluke.

2. Have you had any previous foot injuries?
Yes, from my first wedding. I went to the shoe warehouse and bought a pair of $9.99 white flats. At the end of my wedding day, I couldn’t walk. My foot swelled up and it was injured for months afterwards.

3.
How long has this injury taken to heal?
It was a serious fracture. In fact, it was three fractures in the back part of the foot, affecting the joints. Which means that it is very important for those bones to heal back in place properly. 

So, it was 6 weeks of non-weight bearing, followed by learning to walk again. Which I am 2 weeks into, and still walking with a limp. I am not able to put my weight on my foot going down the stairs.

4.
You’re a foot doctor, did you treat your own foot?
Absolutely not. It was very upsetting emotionally and in fact, there was a period of shock right after the injury. When I realized this was a serious injury, I hired my colleague to look after me. I did, however, look at and read my own X-rays and CT scan. But I did whatever my doctor told me to do, even if I didn’t think I needed to.

If you look closely, you can see 1 of 3 fractures in Dr. Turner’s x-ray… 

5. Did you make any mistakes you normally advise patients not to?
No. I was a good patient.

6.
How was the recovery process for you?
It was humbling. And I learned some things about being disabled that will definitely improve my life in the future. The main thing being that, when people are hobbling around with crutches or canes or wheelchairs or mobility devices, I will now always ask if they need help and do whatever I can to make life easier for them. Before the injury, I didn’t have a lot of compassion for these people.

An anecdote:
I was on a WestJet flight, coming through customs and I rolled on my knee scooter up to the customs line-up. Immediately, a big, burly man with a WestJet jacket on, pushed himself through the crowd, came up to me and with his hand, waved me to the front of the line up. He was so kind and so committed to look after my needs. I nearly cried.

7.
What advice would you give to those suffering from a foot injury now?

#1: See a Podiatrist immediately. Regardless of any other care you may be getting. Fractures can be very difficult to detect on X-ray and a Podiatrist knows exactly where to look. Don’t let a foot fracture go undiagnosed.

#2: Use it as an opportunity to slow down and find the people in your life who are willing to help you. Take all the help you can get. Do as little as possible, and maybe take up a new hobby.

#3: Expect a significant dip in your mental and emotional state. It’s a trauma to the body and in our DO-DO-DO culture, it can be challenging to not have all of your ‘doings’ to distract you. And, not to mention that pain can be depressing.

#4: Expect it to take 6 weeks to 6 months to heal, and don’t try to rush it. But DO get the best possible professional care that you can get.

#5: Use acupuncture, massage and physio to speed up healing. But primarily, do what your podiatrist says to do.

The Final Word:

At first it was a little embarrassing to be a podiatrist with a foot fracture and a disabled person. I found myself hobbling around in public and seeing people look at me differently and I found myself wondering if they felt sorry for me. The mind loves to play games. But it’s been really good to have to deal with such a big breakdown in my mobility. I rediscovered my friend Sharon Hill who basically looked after me for two months, who let me stay in her office-bedroom. That was fun. Especially with her two parrots and beautiful whippet. But the final word is this: Life can be the shits or a barrel of laughs. And after an initial period of resistance (suffering) I was able to have a lot of fun with my situation. And, if somebody looks like they’re struggling, they probably want you to at least offer to help.