Patty Chomeau lives in Fish Creek. She's a wife, a mom and a new grandma. "My granddaughter was born in October," Patty says, adding, "She is just a little snuggle bug—tons of smiles—there's nothing better than a baby's smile." Patty clearly loves her granddaughter, she loves her friends and family, and she also loves living in Door County. "I enjoy the community here," she remarks, "and everything that it has to offer—I'm very, very fortunate."
One aspect of Door County that Patty particularly enjoys is its natural beauty—she enjoys being outside and going for a hike. Unfortunately, last year, while on a hike, Patty injured herself after a fall which resulted in a trip to the Door County Medical Center Clinic in Fish Creek and then to the Door Orthopedic Center.
Injury and treatment
"I was hiking with my husband and tripped, and fell primarily on my wrist—I instantly knew it was broken," Patty recalls, adding, "We headed over to the Fish Creek Clinic pretty fast and they were incredible. They admitted me and got to work right away—looked at it, took x-rays, told me it was broken, and set the stage for getting it all fixed."
The Door County Medical Center clinic in Fish Creek referred Patty to Orthopedic Surgeon Dan Tomaszewski that day. "We work closely with the satellite clinics—in fact, I see folks at the Fish Creek Clinic once a week," Dr. Tomaszewski says. "In situations like Patty's," he continues, "where she's seen a provider in Fish Creek and I'm not there, the care between the clinic and the hospital is seamless."
Later that same day, Patty was on the phone talking to Dr. Tomaszewski about her options. "My conversation with Patty didn't actually work out like a normal patient interaction. She injured her wrist during one of the coronavirus surges and we wanted to avoid personal interaction during that time," Dr. Tomaszewski relates. "So, we had a phone conversation instead," he continues, "We discussed her injury and what that entailed, we discussed her x-rays, and we talked to her about what the options would be."
The decision to get surgery
It turns out Patty already knew Dr. Tomaszewski. "Patty likes to go out and walk, and hike," Dr. Tomaszewski remarks, "and being as active as she is, this wrist fracture wasn't her first rodeo." "Yeah," Patty adds, "I broke my other wrist a couple of years prior! So, I was already very familiar with Dr. Tomaszewski. But that time, all I needed was a cast, so it was a very different experience."
This time around, it was indeed a different experience. "I thought the best option for it would be surgery," Dr. Tomaszewski says. "Her previous injury wasn't nearly as bad—not all wrist fractures need surgery," he remarks. "But, this one was impacted," he adds, "it was shortened, it was displaced—in other words, the bones had shifted out of place—it wasn't in a good position to heal well the way it was. Basically, this wasn't a fracture that would be amenable to a cast. And," he continues, "it was Patty's right wrist, and she is right-handed. I know she likes outdoor activities and she also loves to cook, so having that wrist be as functional as possible was obviously critical for her active lifestyle."
"When Dr. Tomaszewski told me I needed surgery," Patty says, "I was thankful that he was the surgeon that was going to take care of me. I wasn't concerned, because it hurt and I knew it was going to get better—I was thankful that I was where I was."
Recovery and a return to a busy life
"I broke it on a Friday. The following Monday I went in for surgery, and was home later that day," Patty recalls. "The nursing staff was wonderful," she says, adding, "because of COVID, my husband couldn't be with me at the time, and the nurse that was there automatically acted like my family. She was my "person"—when they prepped me for surgery, she was there, and when I woke up, she was there. The nursing staff called to check on me once I was home, and maybe a week later," she continues, "they even wrote me a thank-you. They were really wonderful—I couldn't say more."
Following her surgery, Patty did feel some pain in her wrist, "But," she adds, "two weeks later, it was like a brand new wrist. Now," she says, "I can do anything that I could before—even more. My wrist is solid—it's good." She recalls that she recovered quickly. "Even though I was still sore," she says, "once they took the bandages off and I could do what I wanted to, my wrist got better fast because I could be active and not worry about re-injuring it."
Dr. Tomaszewski notes that Patty's quick recovery had as much to do with Patty's lifestyle and mindset as it did with the procedure. "I think that often, people's results really have more to do with them than with me. Put differently," Dr. Tomaszewski adds, "it's as much the patient's job to care for themselves, as it is my job to do the surgery well," He continues, "A person as active and as vigorous—as motivated—as Patty just tends to do better than folks who aren't quite as active or interested in their own health. Patty's recovery was amazing," he remarks, "because she was interested in getting back to a really good quality of life, and she took it upon herself to make sure that she did everything she was supposed to do—she complied with the immobilization when she was supposed to, and did her rehabilitation exercises when she was supposed to do those. I think she did a great job after surgery, and so she had a great outcome—I'm just really happy for her."
"Now," Patty says, "I can do everything that I used to. I can walk my dog. I can go on my hikes and hold the walking stick that I now use to keep me from tripping and breaking something else! I'm back to cooking—I love to chop and I didn't lose any of my chopping skills. Just, life is normal—I wouldn't even know that my wrist had been broken."
Most importantly, Patty can hold her snuggly, little granddaughter again!
The Door Orthopedic Center at Door County Medical Center is a state-of-the-art facility paired with a top-notch orthopedic team that can get you back to daily living and your favorite activities as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment at Door County Medical Center's Door Orthopedic Center, go to: https://www.dcmedical.org/medical-services/orthopedics/connect or call Door Orthopedic Center at 920-746-0510.