"I first met Dr. Padrta the night I shattered my leg and ankle in a hockey game. He told me the night he met me that I might consider amputation. He didn't sugar coat the fact that my break was one of the worst he had seen. I had a compound comminuted fracture of both my tibia and fibula, which required seven surgeries and a grueling recovery that lasted nearly two years. Since my bone had come in contact with my hockey pads, I developed a staff infection, which threatened me being able to keep my leg. But Dr. Brian Padrta never lost hope and tenaciously worked his magic with the help of his sidekick and physician assistant Todd Ostle. Together, they knew my leg and ankle intimately. Through the seven surgeries, I underwent the implantation and eventual removal of 34 screws, three metal plates, and other fixation hardware. I fought the infection with picc-line antibiotics; two bone grafts, and a lot of dedication. Near the end of my ordeal, I was faced with the option of fusing my ankle, or a below the knee amputation. I was in such severe pain that I seriously considered the amputation. But Dr. Padrta's recommendation was that I fuse the ankle and that is the option I chose.
I am so happy to say that 8 months after my fusion, I am back to walking without pain. And I mean without pain. I have biked all spring and summer, building back the muscles in my leg. Just last week, I returned to my passion in life, which is hunting chukar partridges in the Salmon River breaks. I am sharing a picture of this past weekend and I want you to see what I did. I climbed up from the river 2,000 feet to the ridge we hunted on uneven and rocky terrain. I walked and hunted for miles this trip, including experimenting with a 45-pound pack that I hiked out 3.5 miles, including a 2,500-foot gain in elevation.
This winter, I intend to return to snow skiing after a two-year hiatus and I can't wait to strap on my skis. I will say that my days of playing in the men's hockey league are over, but I intend to ice skate with my daughters this winter when our lake freezes over.
To Dr. Padrta, Todd Ostle, nurse Barb, and all the rest of the team who helped me through my ordeal, I owe you a huge debt of gratitude. When I was at my lowest, you propped me up, and never lost hope. Your expertise is amazing. I thank you for my functioning leg. I am really glad it is still here." -- Patrick L.