Susan Brochstein – Caregiver Corner

Tell us about the person you supported & the limb challenge they faced.

My husband, Maury Brochstein had a ski accident in Dec. 2012.  He broke his tibia and fibula on his left leg.  The orthopedic surgeon in Aspen put a long plate and screws in his leg.  He also had some nerve issues in his lower leg and foot due to the accident.  He had a few weeks of physical therapy and rehabilitation but it seemed his leg was not healing properly.  Luckily, our surgeon sent us to Denver to the Limb Preservation Specialists to figure out the problem.  Dr. Ross Wilkins and his team saved Maury’s leg and his life.  He had a staph and bacteria infection in his leg that the specialists worked together to get Maury healed.  With the help of the orthopedics, plastic surgeons and infectious disease doctors at LPF, Maury is healed and back to some normalcy.

What do you wish you had known?

We have been very lucky over the years as we had never broken a bone.  So when Maury had his ski accident, we were thrown into a very different world that we needed to navigate.  Maury’s accident was a life-changing event for both of us.  He was an avid skier, runner, great physical shape.  I had been a caregiver for Maury before but this was a completely different situation.  At that time, I didn’t think that the LPF had anyone that could help us – as caregivers.

What advice would you give to a new caregiver?

As a caregiver, you need to have patience, compassion and understanding of your patient.  Also, it helps to be attentive, dependable and trustworthy.  These are important traits that attribute to being a top-notch caregiver.  I always encouraged Maury to stay positive every step of the way in his recovery.  It’s important to have a sense of humor to help in the toughest of times.  Talk about your feelings with your family, friends or seek professional help if needed.  It’s important to take care of yourself as the caregiver.

What were some of the challenges as a caregiver?

Some of the challenges I faced as Maury’s caregiver were mostly the emotional stress of the situation.  Maury had lost 24 pounds from the infection, so getting him to eat and get healthy again was our main goal.  In addition to taking care of his leg and IV antibiotics for 3 months, it was a full-time job.  I did take time for myself to get out for a nice walk or cook – that was my release of the challenges of taking care of my patient.