Lori: Worth the Wait

Foot and Ankle Reconstruction

Complex Foot and Ankle Surgery

For all their outstanding qualities, according to Lori T., nurses have one persistent limitation: They have a tendency to want to nurse themselves.

“As a nurse, if I have a medical problem, I usually wait before I go to a doctor,” Lori said. “I want to see first if I can take care of it myself.”

Lori should know about these things. She’s a Senior Research Nurse in hematologic malignancies at a major hospital in Baltimore. She’s also a Type I diabetic, who for years suffered with arthritis and bunions on both feet. And while she did not hesitate to seek treatment for her diabetes, like a good nurse, with the foot problems she waited.

“It was really a combination of my nursing background and concerns I had about managing my diabetes if I did have to have surgery,” she said. “Our sugars can go crazy, and diabetics don’t heal well. That made me a little nervous.”

Her concerns and tendency to self-diagnose, however, met their match when Lori’s pain became so acute she could no longer walk without pain. “I couldn’t stand on my right foot and ankle,” she noted. “My life became going to work in immense pain and then going straight home. I couldn’t do anything else.”

Fortunately for Lori, another consistent quality of nurses is that they know good doctors. So when she knew it was time to contact an orthopedic surgeon about her foot,  Lori knew who to call.

Knowing the Right Doctor

“I went to Dr. Campbell because I’d heard he was the best,” she said. “He’d done surgery on some people I work with, one of them a doctor and another a nurse. They gave him great reviews. Dr. Campbell is what brought me to Mercy.”

Dr. John Campbell is a Board Certified orthopedic surgeon in Mercy’s Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction. He has expertise in complex foot and ankle trauma, reconstruction, arthroscopy and sports medicine. He also apparently has expertise in the area of treating nurses who think long and hard before seeing the right doctor.

Dr. Campbell wasted little time in treating Lori. He performed a multifaceted surgery on her right foot and ankle. The surgery included addressing the bunion, ankle stabilization, treating the ankle for hyperextension, and pulling a muscle down from the calf to support the arch. The surgery included adding seven screws and a plate to stabilize her ankle.

“Dr. Campbell told me I shouldn’t wait so long to get the other foot done,” Lori noted.

She was in Mercy recovering for three days, then began the long walk of rehab and recovery. The following January she would have one screw removed from the foot near the great toe. Over the ensuing months Lori would move from wheelchair to walker to cane to her own two feet, a position she strongly prefers. It would be five months before she returned to her busy job working with clinical trials as a research nurse; covering bone marrow transplants; and kidney living donor and bone marrow transplant simultaneously, among other duties.

Kindness and Care

“Once I made the decision to go to Dr. Campbell I never looked back,” she said. “He was very impressive from the consult to the surgery to the rehabilitation. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

And despite her initial hesitancy, Lori was extremely pleased not just with her doctor, but with Mercy in general, including her nursing brethren who made her feel exceptional.

“One thing happened at Mercy that really impressed me,” she said. “My family is scattered all over the country and so when I went in for surgery I told them not to come until afterward,” she said. “So I basically went to the hospital alone. I think because of that the nurses and the staff in pre-op in particular were so attentive. They kept checking on me to see if I was ok. It was a really nice touch.”

In the end, Lori noted, she may have been slow to make the initial move to Dr. Campbell and Mercy, but once she got there, she did nothing but move forward.

“I’m walking better now than before,” she said. “I really can’t say enough about Dr. Campbell and the hospital and staff and the way I was treated.  It was a great experience.

“I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a nurse, but they showed me a lot of kindness and care. I work in a big hospital so I know it can be challenging, but they made me feel special. I made the right choice going there.”

Lori's Treatment Team

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