Because of my orthopaedic care, I can spend another day doing the job I love; teaching my first grade class.
Excerpts from Rebecca’s story as shared by the Campbell Foundation:
Rebecca Oliver Foreman describes herself as a “never-sit-down kind of teacher.” An observer looking in on her first grade classroom at Sloan-Hendrix Elementary in Imboden, Arkansas, would see a whirlwind of energy wearing a sunny smile as she spends another day doing a job she loves.
What a visitor to Becky’s classroom could not see are the scars on her left arm from repeated skin grafts, hidden under the long sleeves she wears summer and winter.
Last year, not a single student noticed that “Miss Becky” cannot straighten her left arm. What she describes as “a little glitch” in her gait doesn’t slow her down. Becky’s students are too young to remember the day and the accident that many people in her hometown have not forgotten.
Her scars are a reminder of how far she’s come since August 25, 2003, when Dr. Edward Perez of Campbell Clinic first saw Becky in an emergency room.
“Dr. Perez says I was a bag of bones when they brought me in,” Becky said. “He and the other doctors and nurses at The Med put me back together again.”
During an after-school shopping trip to Jonesboro, Ark., the Oliver family’s SUV veered across the center lane and into the path of an 18-wheeler. Becky’s husband and daughter were killed instantly. She has no memory of the accident. One of the men who pulled Becky’s broken body from the wreckage called her survival “a total miracle.”
Paramedics in the helicopter that airlifted her from the scene at first headed for St. Bernards Hospital in Jonesboro. Realizing the extent of Becky’s injuries, they decided to bring her to a Level One trauma center in Memphis serving a five-state area of the Mid-South.
The medical team found that Becky’s injuries were extensive. She had six broken ribs, her lungs had collapsed, and she had spleen and liver damage. Both her femurs were fractured, her left arm was broken, her left elbow was shattered, and she had other broken bones.
The team applied an external fixator to Becky’s badly-broken left arm. They inserted a rod into her left leg to help the femur heal. There were problems with wounds not healing, a common occurrence in trauma cases.
Becky spent a month in the hospital, returned to her parents’ home in Ash Flat, Arkansas, to recuperate, then came back to Memphis for five skin graft surgeries during the first four months after leaving the hospital.
A local physical therapist helped Becky follow the program prescribed by her physicians. Her sister, a nurse, administered shots and helped with wound care. For seven months, she was in a wheelchair and slept in a hospital bed. Her son Payton, who was not in the family vehicle at the time of the accident, slept on a sofa beside his mother’s bed.
“I tell people my three sons carried me through the ordeal,” Becky says. “I had faith that the Son of God had a plan for me. I had my son, Payton, who needed me. And I had the sun that came up every morning, proving that life goes on.”
A year after the accident, stiffness in Becky’s left knee made walking difficult. Surgery was performed to remove scar tissue and manipulate the knee to increase joint mobility. An extended period of physical therapy followed. In January 2005, Dr. Gregory Dabov performed hip replacement surgery on Becky’s right hip.
“She developed osteonecrosis in her hip,” Dr. Dabov said. “That’s a medical term that literally means ‘bone death.’ Her joint had lost blood supply, which caused the ball of the hip joint to collapse and die. Hip replacement was our only option.”
Becky now functions without pain in the hip, and she can participate in most activities. “This patient handled everything we threw at her,” Dr. Dabov said. “She always had a smile on her face and a great attitude. She had a strong desire to get well.”
Remarried, back in the classroom, and enjoying the simple, small-town life she loves, Becky Oliver Foreman said people often come up to her and praise her strength, perseverance, and indomitable spirit in the face of great personal loss and formidable injuries. “I remind people that I didn’t do it alone, that I had a lot of help,” she said.
Ortho-Pinion: Bearing Surface Options in Total Hip Replacement
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