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Mark’s story: ‘Back on the horse’ after leg, ankle surgery

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One summer day, Mark Wimmer’s motorcycle ride home from the dentist’s office took an unexpected detour.

“I was riding my Harley, come around the corner about a half a mile from my house after coming home from the dentist, and I noticed a little rock in the road,” he says, recalling that day in July 2021.

“I went off the road just a little bit, so I tried to straighten it out and I turned the motorcycle to the right and stopped.”

That seemed like the safe thing to do. Instead, it proved costly.

“Because it was on the 8% grade, the bike started tipping,” says Wimmer, who lives in Suamico. “The bike tipped over. Instead of letting it go, I tried to keep it from falling and it went over on my right ankle.”

He twice tried to stand. Waves of pain shot through his lower leg.

“I thought, ‘Oh boy, what did I do?’” he says.

Foot and ankle diagnosis

Wimmer phoned his wife and was rushed to the emergency department at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay.

“The foot was just completely turned,” he says. His right fibula and ankle were broken.

“First time I ever broke a bone,” says Wimmer, who is in his 70s. “First time in my life.”

Emergency department providers splinted his ankle, but he needed surgery.

“They couldn’t do surgery right away,” he says. “They wanted to let the swelling go down.”

Six days later, after the swelling had subsided, Brandon M. Scharer, a foot and ankle surgeon with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic, repaired Wimmer’s fibula and ankle.

“He’s very professional,” Wimmer says of Scharer. “He really gave me a lot of confidence before I went in for surgery that he was gonna fix me up.”

Surgery was a success.

“I was given a pneumatic boot when I left the clinic to walk with and I had to use that for I think four to six weeks,” Wimmer says. A pneumatic boot helps immobilize the foot and ankle after surgery. It also helps reduce pain and protects the foot.

After about 20 physical therapy sessions, Wimmer’s treatment was complete.

Praise for the surgical expertise

He says he’s grateful for Scharer’s surgical expertise and for his physical therapy team.

“You know, I didn’t know if I was going to walk again,” he says, his voice breaking and his eyes welling up with tears.

Today, he’s back to driving school bus, something he couldn’t do while wearing the pneumatic boot.

As for his Harley, well, that’s another story.

“I haven’t been on the Harley. I intend to do that,” Wimmer says. “You know, it’s like a horse. Once that horse throws you, you get back on the horse.”

Published: Thursday, August 25, 2022
Author: Femi Cole