Conditions + Treatments
I was diagnosed with a condition known as ITP in May of 2009. ITP is short for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, a bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets, which are necessary for normal blood clotting. Essentially, I have too few platelets in my blood.
We sought treatment locally, but our primary provider for the disease is a physician at MD Anderson in Houston, TX. In January of 2010, my husband and I flew back from Houston on a Wednesday evening. There happened to be a snowstorm taking place across the south, including our hometown of Carrollton, GA.
When I stepped out of the car at our house, I slipped on our ice-covered driveway and severely injured my left leg. The pain was very intense, so my husband, Ron, rushed me to the local ER. The ER staff confirmed I had broken both the tibia and fibula in my left leg. They stabilized my leg, but told I needed surgery asap.
My husband called our local orthopedist in Carrollton; however, he was told that due to the large quantity of similar injuries from the snowstorm that they could not see or operate on me until the following week.
The next morning, which was a Thursday, I called Andrews Sports Medicine. After I explained the situation and severity of my injury, the person on the phone asked if we could come in that day since I had a serious acute injury. I explained that we lived hours away and that the bad weather would hinder us getting there that day. So we scheduled an appointment for the next day (a Friday) to see Dr. Tracy Ray (whom is no longer with the Andrews practice). Dr. Ray confirmed the severity of my injury and I was scheduled for surgery the following Monday morning with Dr. Jeffrey Davis.
During my initial meeting with Dr. Davis, I mentioned the importance of being restricted and to have some independence – including my desire to carry out my judging duties at a registered retriever competition event in Florida in six weeks. Dr. Davis assured me he would do everything he could to insure that both my short and long-term active lifestyle would not be hindered or severely affected.
During my pre-surgery testing on the following Monday, the nurses said my platelet count was 5,000. This was extremely low since 250,000 is normal and they were very concerned about my overall health. Dr. Davis and the pre-surgery team conversed and collectively decided I should be immediately admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital.
In the meantime, Dr. Davis reached out to my MD Anderson physician explaining my current situation. The duo quickly came up with a plan that included multiple platelet and blood transfusions in hopes of getting my platelet count to a healthy level. The St. Vincent’s nursing team compassionately worked to get me stabilized.
Later in the week, when my platelet count was at a comfortable level, Dr. Davis performed surgery to repair my injured left leg. The surgery was a success! I left Birmingham with a mended leg and a knee scooter.
When I returned home to Carrollton, I worked with our local physical therapist. He was amazed by not only my progress/recovery, but that Dr. Davis had repaired my tibia and fibula without fusing them together. My therapist explained that if Dr. Davis had fused the bones, I would most likely have a limp the rest of my life. Six weeks later, Ron and I drove to Florida. I successfully judged the retriever competition (on my knee scooter), but I didn’t miss a beat.
As I type this seven years after my horrific injury, I walk perfectly normal (no limp) and have no lasting effects. My ITP is in now in remission and periodically see my local ITP doctor. Due to Dr. Davis’ compassion and amazing job with my surgery, my husband has since become a patient of Dr. Davis, who replaced his knee a couple of years ago.
Dr. Davis, your compassion and caring nature years ago have ensured we and all of our friends from Carrollton, GA will be making the trip to Birmingham for all our orthopedic needs!