Posted on October 5, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Otto

Ankle Fracture: Otto Part Three

We pick up Otto’s story through the narrator of his wife.  He is still in St. Germaine and she is in Madison, there daughter Nancy made if through the initial surgery to fix her skull, in her phone calls with him, he doesn’t seem to be quite getting it.  He is still in the hospital to treat his ankle fracture and his orthopedic injuries.

They thought he had fractured his left arm.  That was just bruised badly but he had an ankle fracture, his talus bone in his left foot which was I think the part that was pinned in the wreck.

Otto Fractures His Talus Bone which is AKA an Ankle Fracture

Which is the talus bone, what does it do?

Talus bone it connects your heel bone to your ankle bone.  It’s a small little thing and it’s fed by a hair-like vessel; capillary if you would.  People who fracture that usually end up having to have it fused; your whole ankle fused which would not work for his job or for him.  It was unfortunate that the physician who had taken care of him just said let’s cast it and we’ll see what it looks like in a month.

And the – my best friend, Terry  had said when she had heard that she says “oh no.”  She says you get those X‑rays down here.  I’ll have one of my orthopedic physicians look at it.  My favorite one who does ankles, ankles, ankles, ankles.  And she says I’m going to have him look at it.

He (the favorite surgeon) actually had called Tom up and I hadn’t heard that we were just going to do – that he was just going to have his foot in this cast.  I didn’t know that until he came down for her birthday celebration.

And so I was, like, gosh, you know, isn’t that strange Terry?  And she’s, like, yeah; I don’t know why.  But anyway, neither here nor there but he – we ended up sending him down to the physician and he had looked at it and was, like, yeah.  This is a no brainer.

He called Otto at home and it was in the evening.  It was quite late.  It was after 7:00 and called and talked to him.  Said, you know, this is a no brainer.  Says I don’t know what his situation was, why the physician didn’t operate on you immediately.  He said but you need to come down here and we’re going to take of it.  Ignoring it  it’s just going to cause it to be injured.

How long after the accident is this conversation?

This is about 28 days after the injury.

Has he been to Madison yet?

Yes; he’s been there a couple of times on the weekends with relatives who have driven down and taken him.

Foot’s in a cast. Left; and so he gets down there and they’re going to operate, they’re going to operate the Friday before we are going to be discharged from the hospital.

They need our hospital room desperately.  While we were there, there were three other teenagers, teenage girls that had had winter accidents skiing or whatever and, I mean, the place was filling up.  It was a really icy winter, so we ended up having to move out of our room and go to the Ronald McDonald House for the weekend of his recovery from his ankle surgery and then I got to drive them both home which was interesting to say the least.

So you actually – they both came home from Madison on the same day then? And so you have a severely brain injured child and a husband with a – recovering from ankle surgery for his ankle fracture.


Otto explained more about his ankle fracture:

You remember having that the ankle surgery for your ankle fracture, more than a month after the wreck?

I do vaguely.  I remember bits and pieces.

Do you remember the trip to Madison to have it?

Yes I do.

Do you remember talking to the surgeon about the need to have it?

Yes, yeah.  He had called me, when I was at home and it was in the evening and he said that he had a consult with one of my wife’s best friends and he said that we got to have surgery now.  He said so.  He scheduled it for the, it was on Wednesday he called me and we had surgery on a Friday.  So it was that fast.  Then we had to go down there.

How long were you out of work?

About six months.

What did you do with yourself during that six months?    

I wasn’t able to do anything.  I had to have my ankle pinned back together, reconstructed . Then I had strict orders non‑weight bearing for six months.

Still have pins in there from your ankle fracture?

Yes.  I think there’s like four. So that makes both right and left ankle that have, have had surgeries so.

What happened to your right ankle?

Playing baseball.  My right ankle.

Sliding into second?

Uh, actually, first. Well it was a public park and there’s a little hole in front of first base and twisted.  That was, uh, just out of high school.

Which ankle did you fracture worse?

I would say that the the right one.  The one that wasn’t in the accident that was the baseball injury.

So your left ankle today is no worse than your right?

It’s fine, yeah, because I can do just about everything.  Long periods of jogging really irritate it because of the pins, I think but other than that.   I coach baseball and I try to get out there before the kids come out and I try to jog.

 Next in Part Four – No One is Paying Attention to Wife’s Concerns About TBI

By Attorney Gordon Johnson


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447