Who has a Better Broken Leg?

Can you guess the member of the Bell Family that goes with each X-Ray?

Debi Bell's post-op X-ray

Dr. Brandon Bell's post surgery X-Ray

In the office I always hear “like father like son.” We both say “sorry” all the time and make patients lift their left leg when giving anesthetic, but, more importantly, we both have the same passion for dentistry, patient care, and conservative treatment philosophy which is to take care of each patient as if they are family. Unfortunately, in this case it happened to be like mother like son. The above X-Rays show 2 fractured right ankles post surgery. The top image is my mom, Debi’s, X-ray, and the image on the bottom is my X-Ray. I know, that is a lot of hardware. We both fractured our right fibula, but you can see from the amount of screws that my mom’s was more significant.

2 weeks ago, following a baby shower to celebrate the approaching birth of our son, I was carrying my almost 2 year old daughter, Gwyneth, downstairs for her bath, like I do every night, and I slipped on the stairs in our house. I felt myself starting to fall forward with my daughter in my arms, so I instinctively threw my right leg down. While it was enough to shift our momentum back, so that I slid down the stairs on my back keeping my daughter safe from the fall, my ankle snapped beneath my weight, and I knew instantly that I had broken something. The trip to the ER confirmed the fracture of my right fibula or ankle bone, and three days later I was in surgery to repair the fracture.

After seeing my mom go through the same rehabilitation process when she broke her ankle, ironically enough walking down stairs, I knew what to expect in terms of how debilitating the injury is, but until you are in actually in it, it’s hard to empathize with such an injury. Because it’s the right ankle and a non-weight bearing injury for at least a month, I can’t drive, and simple tasks like picking my daughter up, or just moving around our house are difficult. It is also compounded by the fact that we have a very active 2 year old to run after and a baby that is due in a matter of weeks.

With all the negatives and limitations surrounding an injury like this, it is easy to let it affect your mental attitude, but, for me, it has been a reminder of how lucky I am. I have a beautiful family and my amazing wife, Kristina, who is due any day, has been taking care of 2 babies (me being one of them) now. We have received so much help and support from family, friends, and patients, and my dad, Dr. Geoffrey Bell, has been working 5 days a week to accommodate all of the changes, and even had to cancel a trip to Costa Rica! Luckily there was no surf. Thank you to all of our patients for their understanding with all the changes the past few weeks, and I am so looking forward to being back at work very soon.