• Cindy

Smart Girls Break Legs Too

The gorgeous Michele shown in the last of her three full leg casts

Michele in a 38 year old Mensa member who has a PhD in Medicine from Brown University in Rhode Island. Now there are three things in that sentence that I want to emphasize.

The first is that Michele is a member of Mesa - an organization of highly intelligent people. To join the organization, members must score in the top 2% of the general population on a standardized intelligence test. Members have included Issac Asimov, General Norman Swartzkoph, and Joyce Carol Oates.

The second is that Michele attended Brown University. This is not your average US college. Brown was founded in 1764 and is based in Rhode Island. It is an Ivy League institution with a reputation for advanced research programs. Fewer than 10% of the students applying to Brown gain admittance. This is on par with the admission rates for other Ivy League schools including Harvard and Yale.

And, finally, Michele is PhD. In the US, this means she has achieved the highest level of education in her chosen fields of study. In her case she majored in both medicine and mathematics. Michele is not a physician. She is a doctor of medicine and mathematics focused on conducting medical research.

Michele has been widely published. Some of her research papers include:

How's that for some light bathroom reading? I think we can agree that Michele is smart.

How the point of this Blog is that smart people do not always make good decisions. Smart and decision making are two very different skills. Just ask Michele.

August 25 of this year, Michele decided to take her 9 year old daughter's skateboard for a test drive wearing flip flops. In front of half the kids in the neighborhood, Michele went down violently in her driveway with a broken tibia and fibula. Michele's screams were so blood curdling, skate boarding has essentially ceased to exist in the neighborhood.

Michele's X-rays showed a reasonably aligned tibia break as well as a fibula break just below the knee

Here was Michele's treatment in her own words:

"I was x-rayed and treated in the ER with a splint - I don't think they did much to manipulate the break there. I was in shock so things are a bit hazy. The recommendation from the OS was not even equivocating - no surgery. 3 days later, I had the splint removed in the orthopedic clinic, and they essentially put some pressure on the break when applying the long leg cast. The process was awful and all I got for it was a Valium after essentially begging. (I still can't believe they do this without sedation!??!). The cast is definitely tighter against the side with the break even to this day, but by week 2 or so the pain was well under control and it's all quite comfortable now. I was told to start partial Weight bearing by 3 weeks, which I did."

Michele's full leg cast. The cast was changed three time. She was in the cast for a total of 12 weeks

After four weeks, the doctor brought up the topic of non-union and the need, potentially, for surgery. Michele's research background went into overdrive. She read everything she could find about non-union fractures and IM rodding. She scorched one social media site with 200 plus posts asking for feedback about whether she she elect surgery.

Michele works at a Research House in Raleigh, NC. Her co-workers sometimes worked out of her home while she was in the cast. Lucky co-workers

After conducting her research, Michele made her decision - no surgery. She persevered in the cast until late November when the cast was finally removed and she was placed in a boot.

Michele taking a bubble bath the day her cast was removed

Michele posted the following on one of her social media sites the day the cast was removed:

Oh my God, you guys. Miraculously, they took my cast off today and gave me a boot with WBAT! It is so, so amazing and weird to see and touch my leg. I took a bath and it was heaven. I shaved...more heaven. Tonight I will sleep with it encased in pillows 😬. I know there is still a stretch of tunnel ahead, but I'm finally starting to see the light.

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