Sam Miller Fell Down, Went Boom

What happened to me. (as told by Sam)

I was on a dark street in Jepara Central Java getting coffee at a little warung when I stepped off the sidewalk into a sewer they were constructing. I stepped into thin air and fell about 5 feet and smashed my left shin into the concrete. I was wearing jeans and sandals. I continued to fall into the dry bottom of the sewer another 3 feet. My jeans were soaked with blood and I was sure I had broken my leg. I did not. I had a very nasty laceration/impact wound from the fall. An area about the size of a silver dollar swelled up like a donut bleeding profusely. I got back to my hotel on my scooter and washed the wound out went to the convenience store and got bandages to dress the wound. Midday the following day I caught the bus back to Bali. It was a 20 hour bus trip. By the time I got to Bali things were going wrong I tried to get to my usual doctor but he was closed. Finally 2 days later, I got to him. By this time I was starting to feel really sick. He put on antibiotics and dressed the wound and instructed me to change the dressing daily. Two days later my wound looked horrible and dark and began to smell really bad. I went back to the doctor and he told me gangrene was starting. He told me I had to go immediately to the hospital.

My friends Kris and Dini got me to the hospital and the staff started assessing my situation. By this time I had a number of things going wrong. My kidneys and liver were in bad shape trying to keep up with the infection and somehow I had developed a heart beat  irregularity. They had to even out my heartbeat before they could operate.  They were able to do that with medication. They did something similar to assist my kidneys and liver but I was too out of it to understand what they were doing.

They operated on my 3rd day in the hospital. They did a spinal anesthesia and knocked me out from the waist down. I was awake during the operation but cloaked so I could not watch.The doctors opened up a 9 inch incision along my left tibia and by combination of vacuum and scalpel removed the necrotic tissue.

They continued to slam me with meds as I recovered  and it was a couple days later when they finally were to change the dressing on the wound. I was under the impression they had cut me open and stitched me closed. This was not the case. When they removed my bandages my wound was wide open and I could see my tibia and all the debrided flesh. It was terrifying! This was my lowest moment. Trying to digest all this was outside my comprehension.

The doctor had done nothing to prepare me. Lot to process. Breathe in. Breath out. Try to stay calm. I managed. My friends Kris and Dini were a great help and support. Very grateful for their presence.
After operation I still I felt really bad my urine was super scary dark and I was in much pain. They determined I my infection was resisting the antibiotic. This started a new round of blood work and change in therapy. The lab results came back they changed therapy and I  started feeling much better.

The next time they changed the dressing I was able to accept that they were doing the right thing and even if I might be scarred badly I would at least have my leg  and the doctor reported that the healing process was beginning in earnest. So my mood buoyed

So more meds more rest and finally another change of the bandages, more ownership of the strange wound on my leg and a little more acceptance emotionally of my situation.  I was released after 10 days.  Now recovering at my studio apartment. I still have multiple visits to the hospital ahead of me and I am very limited in mobility. I have friends to help. The damage for all this is looking like USD $10,000 Which is gonna really hurt just a time when I was developing some good new business here in Indo. I want to push on with that business. I don’t want to give up. I don’t see what is really to gain by coming back to USA now that I seem to be mostly out of harm's way.

Trying to gather funds from recent business stuff and I’m selling my motorcycle but it’s a damn stretch. Nobody could feel more stupid about not having at least travel insurance. You get away with stuff for so long and you get complacent. I have beat myself up plenty the Iast 3 weeks I  just have make steps to remedy that particular human failing among my many others.

So that's what happened.  Thank you for your help
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Julie Weber 
Atlantic Beach, FL
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