Jean Carrion: A Fall in Saint Martin

man and women on the beach
Arial view of tropical island

It was February 1st of 2014 when Jean Carrion of Easton, Maryland had just arrived in Saint Martin with her husband for what they thought would be a lovely vacation. It had only been two hours since their plane landed on the island when Jean had an awful accident. While walking down a flight of slate steps, her foot caught the corner of one of the steps and her ankle turned on the uneven surface. She put her right arm out to catch herself, but ended up hurting herself in the process. After this fall, Jean was in an incredible amount of pain and immediately went to the hospital on the island.

Jean felt extremely uncomfortable in this unfamiliar hospital; however, she was able to get some medication to relieve her pain. After leaving the hospital on the island, it was apparent that she would need more medical attention. The next day, Jean and her husband flew home. There was a terrible snowstorm occurring in Maryland when they arrived, so instead of going straight to the hospital, Jean and her husband went home.

When the storm subsided, the couple finally made it to the Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, MD. Jean learned that she had a comminuted fracture of her right proximal humerus (the long bone of the arm) and had also dislocated her right shoulder. She would need surgery as soon as possible; however, Jean was faced with another obstacle because the surgeon that would do the operation was on vacation.

The surgery was finally able to take place 13 days after Jean and her husband left Saint Martin. This surgery required the surgeon to put a cadaver’s bone in Jean’s arm because her bone was so damaged from the fall. The surgeon also inserted 13 screws and a steel plate in her right arm and shoulder. With an injury and surgery so severe, Jean was then instructed to start a vigorous course of physical therapy.

In March of 2014, Jean became a patient of Brian Mielke, DPT, clinical director and physical therapist at our Easton clinic. When she arrived at our clinic, she was in pain, had very minimal range of motion. Along with limited range of motion, she could not pick up any weight. Her surgeon told her that she should only expect a 40% range of motion in her right arm once she recovered.

Jean saw Brian and our Easton team three times a week for a year, where she did exercises such as pulleys, and worked with resistance bands. Throughout her recovery process, she made it a priority to keep up with her home exercises. She also started acupuncture to aid in her healing process. As she kept up with her physical therapy and home exercises, she saw vast improvements.

After about a year, she was in far less pain, gained 100% range of motion in her right shoulder, and was able to hold weight.

Today, in March of 2017, Jean still attends physical therapy once every ten days as a form of body “maintenance”. In speaking of Brian and the rest of our Tidewater team, Jean exclaims, “As far as I am concerned, they are my saviors.” She is thrilled to announce that her arms can support enough weight to be able to hold her grandchildren in her arms. Jean still keeps up with her home exercises every day and fully accredits Tidewater Physical Therapy to her success.