Updated: Aug 27, 2019
From time to time, I will post stories about men or women who suffered broken bones as children and are now fully grown. Typically, these stories originate when I have only one or two pictures of someone in a cast but know the background of the injury and their subsequent journey through life.
Claire is a Michigan resident. On Memorial Day, 2003, Claire - then 7 years old - was in a serious bike accident. Claire hit a rock while riding - she was going a bit too fast showing off for a boy who was riding with her. Claire's bike flipped, she hit a tree, and rolled 20 feet down a hill. She broke both the tibia and fibula in her lower leg, dislocated her ankle, and broke two bones in her foot.
Because the weather was unseasonably warm, Claire was wearing shorts and flip flops at the time of the accident. That was the last time Claire would wear footwear for a year.
The boy she was showing off for was so impressed that he threw up when he saw Claire and her mangled leg laying at the bottom of the hill. Fortunately, the boyfriend rallied and ran to Claire's house to get help.
Claire was transported by ambulance to a hospital 45 miles away. Claire described the ambulance ride as the longest ride of her life.
Upon arriving at the hospital. Claire's ankle and leg were set without the benefit of pain medications. Claire was given a small wooden block to bite on while her leg was pulled and twisted into approximate normality. Claire is still so haunted by the 10 minute reduction process that she refuses to discuss the matter. She told me a few years ago'The entire ER medical staff should have lost their licenses to practice medicine'.
Claire was placed in a soft splint, spent two nights in the hospital for observation, and then returned to her home town to see the only orthopedic specialist in the town. The specialist, being an ultra conservative, recommend 7 months in a full leg cast followed by 2 months in a shorter below the knee cast.
By Easter of the following year, Claire was able to walk again - albeit with a slight limp.
Today, Claire is a student at the University of Michigan. Ironically, Claire's parents are both avid bicyclists. Claire has not ridden a bicycle since the day of her accident 16 years ago.
Claire no longer shows off for boys. She is a staunch woman's right's advocate. And a vocal lesbian. She has led marches for woman's rights at the University of Michigan and is considering a career in public service.
2003 was a bad year for 7 year olds and broken legs. Shortly after Claire did her face plant off of the bicycle, Haley was playing with friends at the family pool in Gainseville, FL. The rambunctious Haley jumped into the shallow end of the pool and accidentally landed on the pool steps leading to the shallow end of the pool.
Haley felt a shooting pain just above her knee and was in immediate agony. The girl tried to shrug the injury off but she and her father ended up in the ER that night. The diagnosis was a non-displaced fracture of Haley's femur.
The ER staff placed Haley in a soft splint that night. Two days later, the girl was placed in a toe to thigh hard cast.
Haley's recovery from the injury was fairly non-eventful. She enjoyed showing off the cast and using crutches at least for the first week or so.
Haley turned out to be a tall girl. She played volleyball in high school. At one point, Haley had dreams of playing volleyball in college.
However, the leg injury she suffered at the age of 7 turned out to impact her life going forward. The break was very close to Haley's knee and Haley ended up developing osteo-arthritis in the knee at the age of 16.
Haley's younger sister Hannah- also a volleyball player - suffers from knee problems as well. She has never broken a leg although she broke both arms in a 4 wheeler accident when she was 13. Hannah's knee problems have been attributed to ligament issues. Fortunately, nothing has been torn yet.
Today, Haley is a mature woman. She graduated from the University of Central Florida in May of 2018. She now works at a major defense firm in Florida. She married last year and plans a large family.
Because of the femur fracture and related knee issues, Haley ices her knee several times a week and walks with an occasional limp.
It amazes me how small things that happen at a young age can impact an entire adult life.