Mike Wilson - Iron Horseman

Mike Wilson, retired Command Sergeant Major, spent twenty-seven years in the Michigan Army National Guard, and like most military men possesses a “can do” attitude.

Such is the case on the day Mike was out cutting the grass. “I was out on the rider, mowing the hill,” he said calmly. “When I got to the edge of the hill, I could feel the mower start to tip over so, I thought I’d jump off of it so that my weight wouldn’t tip it over.”

Leaping off the mower, Mike’s entire body weight came down solidly on one foot – an impact so violent his leg bone gave out. “My leg bones all slammed together,” he said, “causing my lower leg bone to splinter straight down, like a log being hit with an axe. It wasn’t good.”

For Mike, the worst part about his injury was when it occurred - Memorial Day weekend.

“Summer was just getting started,” he said, somberly. “With an injury like, this I knew I wouldn’t be able to do the things I really love, which is golfing and riding my Harley.”

Placed in an air cast, which he was told he would need to wear for twelve full weeks, Mike said he was glad to have a doctor who explained the complexity of his injury.

“Dr. Grannell was super!” Mike said. “He showed me the x-ray and explained it to me right down to the millimeter! In fact, he said if it had been two more millimeters of a crack, I would have had to of had surgery to fix it.”

Mike liked that, though Dr. Grannell is a surgeon, he didn’t push for a surgical option when a non-surgical treatment would also work. “I liked that I was offered the option of having surgery to fix it or not,” he said. “I chose not to have surgery.”

What Mike didn’t like is staying off his Harley. “He did keep me off it, though,” Mike said. “But, if I had it my way, I would have been on my motorcycle all summer. But Dr. Grannell was stern about it. At first I felt, ‘It’s not fair! I want to ride my motorcycle!’ but Dr. Grannell made it pretty clear why I couldn’t and since he is also a motorcycle rider, I felt he empathized with me, and it made me feel like he did have my best interest at heart.

Educated as to the “why” he couldn’t put weight on his leg helped Mike endure a summer without his cycle.

“As he guided me through my healing process, I kept with his protocol, and I’m glad I did!” Mike says, “I wasn’t in any pain so, that was a real plus. Dr. Grannell explained to me that you want the least amount of bone growth possible. He also gave me goals to set as far as adding weight at the right time and told me that once I was up to 150 pounds, it would be okay to ride so long as I had my crutches along. That helped motivate me and to stick to the program he designed to help me heal.”

Mike was able to ride his Harley by the end of August that year. “I appreciated the goals and markers that Dr. Grannell set for me,” he said. “It kept me looking forward and made me feel like we were partners in my healing process because, to be honest, had I not felt he really cared, I probably would have cheated and that would have hurt me. Because I felt he really did understand and care, I felt like he was my healing coach, not just my physician!”

Now fully recovered and able to enjoy both his cycle and some golfing, Mike said, “Life is good! I am fully healed and I have absolutely no problems, at all. No aching, no pain, no weakness, no limitations, no limited range of motion, no nothing. I’ve had other injuries in my life and each time, even after healing, I was not restored to full function,” he said. “There has always been a consequence, whether it’s a limitation of movement or pain or stiffness but, not this time. This is the first bone I have ever broken that has healed so well that it is truly like I never broke it all and I owe it to Dr. Grannell.

Had I not had a doctor as thorough as he was, I probably would have cheated and had problems. It was hard, but having Dr. Grannell to explain it all and stress to me the importance of sticking to the rehab plan made a huge difference. I healed 100% -- You can’t ask for a better outcome than that!”