Patient Overcomes Multiple InjuriesTheir lives were nowhere near parallel, but Fort Myers resident Linda Sinclair and stunt daredevil Evil Knievel had something in common broken bones; and more than just a few.
Since moving to Fort Myers in 1989, Linda has broken vertebrae in her back, both wrists, a knee and both feet, all at different times, in different mishaps. "I know it sounds like a lot, but it didn't happen all at once," Linda says. "And really, I've been fortunate."
Her first incident occurred in the early 1990s, when she was driving on McGregor Boulevard and hit the back of a car driving in front of her. She broke five vertebrae in her neck, but made a full recovery. Then, in 2006 she fell and broke her right wrist, an injury that required a 6-inch plate to repair. She was diagnosed with advanced osteoporosis.
"That was very painful," Linda says. "But I went to Dr. Abbott Kagan and he took great care of me."
A few years later, when she worked in the front office of a local school, she went to the lunch room and slipped on some food that had fallen on the floor. Once again, a bone was broken, this time in her knee. "I knew right away it was broken," she says. "I didn't even try to walk on it." She returned to work six weeks later, following surgery to insert a metal plate. She was in a wheelchair for five months.
Within a short period of time she broke both of her feet, one at school and the other at a neighbor's house. "Really, I'm not a sick person," Linda says. "You just have to take these things one at a time."
A few years later, Linda flew to Chicago to visit her sister. At first, the trip went well, but then when the two women walked into the garage, Linda missed a step and fell. The diagnosis: a fractured wrist. "It was not an operable fracture," she says. "I spent 16 weeks in a cast, and it was healed."
Dr. Kagan has treated Linda through most of her injuries. "Interestingly, the first time Linda broke her wrist, she had a fracture of such severity that we used a bone stimulator to assist in healing," Dr. Kagan says. "Not only did this accelerate the healing of the wrist fracture, we were able to use it when she broke her other wrist (scaphoid) bone. This bone, which has a bad reputation for not healing, also healed, thankfully."
In addition to her multiple bone breaks, Linda has dealt with other serious health issues, including open heart surgery and breast cancer. Yet, she has a clean bill of health now, except for arthritis and osteoporosis.
Dr. Kagan says that Linda has recovered from her injuries and just needs to exercise caution in her everyday life in order to avoid another trip to his office. "Anyone who has experienced a fall or has had one or more fractures should be tested for osteoporosis," he says. "That's often a cause for a patient who experiences multiple broken bones. Linda is managing her osteoporosis and living a normal life."
Vigilance also plays a role in maintaining good balance and a safe environment, Dr. Kagan says. "Make sure there are no loose wires or rugs to trip on," he says. "Use a bathroom night light. Don't climb on a stool or chair use a ladder. Be careful of balance. Moving your head quickly or putting your head and neck in an unusual position such as looking up can cause dizziness and a fall. It's the same advice I give all my patients who have experienced a fall."
It's advice that Linda takes to heart. "I think I'm still going because when something happens, I follow the doctor's instructions implicitly," she says. "I've had incredible doctors and incredible nurses, and really, every day is a blessing."
Bionic Man: Four Joint Replacements
Abbott Kagan II, M.D.
A. Kagan Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
8710 College Parkway
Fort Myers, FL 33919