St. Anthony’s Wound Healing Center saves leg of area farmer Allen Sasse
Allen Sasse and his wife Jeanette (right) thank his doctor Dr. Jeff Brummer, Medical Director of St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital’s Wound Healing Center, and the Wound Healing Center nurses who helped save his leg (back row, left to right) Patsy Lilly, RN, and Tory Buhnerkempe, RN.
As spring arrives and grass starts to grow, many people dread having to begin mowing grass again. However, Allen Sasse of rural Shobonier can’t wait to get out mowing again. As custodian of his church for the past 17 years along with his wife Jeanette, his pride and joy is keeping is the Immanuel Lutheran Augsburg Church grounds and cemetery looking great.
However, last summer he was unable to mow or farm due to a non-healing wound on his left leg that limited not only his ability to walk, but threatened to cause the amputation of his leg. Now, thanks to St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital’s Wound Healing Center, Sasse’s leg is finally healed after a year of pain and discomfort that was nearly unbearable at times.
Sasse’s problem started with a double knee replacement he had at another hospital in 2004. He continued to have pain and discomfort, mostly in his left leg. In January 2010, he went to Missouri for minor surgery which turned out to be more. He had an infection in his left leg, had another knee replacement, had four more surgeries, and spent a month in the hospital and two weeks in rehabilitation. He had an open wound above his knee to his ankle and still struggled with constant pain from the infection.
In May 2010, his wife Jeanette was startled to discover Sasse’s leg turning black and immediately took him to St. Anthony’s Emergency Room. After a test showed he had blocked arteries in his legs, the next day, he was sent to St. John’s in Springfield for surgery to open up his leg arteries to improve his circulation. Through it all, Sasse continued to struggle with constant pain and not being able to walk.
In June 2010, Sasse’s doctor, Jeffrey Brummer, DO, suggested Sasse see him at the new St. Anthony’s Wound Healing Center. Dr. Brummer serves as the Medical Director of the Wound Healing Center and treats patients there a number of times a week.
Sasse began with heavy concentrations of intravenous (IV) antibiotics at St. Anthony’s twice a day for three weeks, then once a day for two weeks to help treat his infection. After his IV therapy was done, he visited the Wound Healing Center weekly for treatments and St. Anthony’s Home Care visited him twice a week. St. Anthony’s physicians and nurses would gently clean and debride his wound, a painstaking process removing the infected or damaged body tissue to improve the healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue. Sasse also had a wound vacuum (VAC) for four months. The wound VAC pumps secretions out and puts tight pressure on the wound to improve healing. Sasse joked, “I had to take ribbing from my friends for my new ‘male purse’ I was carrying around.”
Wound healing is a slow process, so Sasse’s wound took some time to show progress. He stated, “Slowly and surely, it started to look better. I finally had some hope we were getting ahead of it.”
On January 27, 2011, Sasse’s wound had healed to the point that Home Care was no longer needed. He still visits the Wound Healing Center weekly to change the gauze on his leg. He enjoys his visits with the staff, who treat him like “one of their own family,” he said. “I couldn’t have found a better place to go than the Wound Healing Center,” he said. “St. Anthony’s Home Care staff treated me so well too. They are all just fantastic.”
His experience over the past year has made Sasse appreciate the little things. “When you are healthy, you take things for granted. I couldn’t take a shower for a year – that first hot shower after I was healed felt so good,” he said. He also gets to return to two of his favorite activities – cooking and mowing. He can now help make meals for him and his wife Jeanette when she is busy sewing for her new business, Sassy’s Unique Stitches. He is also looking forward to that first growth of grass. “I couldn’t do anything that would possibly get dust or dirt in my wound, so not being able to cut the grass at our church last year really bothered me,” Sasse said. “I had to rely on my church family and friends to take care of it. Now I can’t wait to get out there!”
On July 22, the Sasses’ will celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary. They are not sure how they will be celebrating it, but they know one thing – they will be celebrating many things, thanks to the Wound Healing Center. Jeanette Sasse said, “With God’s help, St. Anthony’s Wound Healing Center and Home Care, my husband has his leg. That alone is worth celebrating – I can dance with my husband on our anniversary. After all we’ve been through, I can’t thank them enough.”
People suffering from problem wounds that will not heal can call St. Anthony’s Wound Healing Center at 217-347-3565 to make an appointment.
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