From the Blog

Patient testimonial: Pamela Schubach

Outside of routine visits and yearly check-ups, you don't find yourself thinking about what services you can find at your local hospital and when you might need them. For most individuals, a hospital visit is few and far between. That's the nice thing about hospitals -- they are there for you when you need them, and are still there when you don't. And for Pamela Schubach, having a hospital nearby with the services she never knew she would need made all the difference in her care.

Cover Photo

The accident

On June 2, 2019, Pamela had been out in her garden for most of the morning. She was working her way to a break to rest but thought "just two more limbs" and continued to clip the branches. Unaware of how or how long, Pamela woke up to find herself on the ground with a feeling of something not being right.

"I thought I broke my arm," shared Pamela. "I was out in my garden alone, so I started to think about how I was going to get help. No one would be able to see me, so I knew I needed to get to a phone."

She called her family for help and was on her way to the Emergency Room at Logansport Memorial Hospital, not realizing the extent of her injuries.

"I don't remember being in too much pain, but I remember seeing my arm and thinking it reminded me of a rag doll. I have never broken a bone in my life, but I knew I was in bad shape and did something serious."

Something serious was right. After getting X-rays, Pamela had discovered that she had shattered her left elbow and had several fractures in her left shoulder. She met with LMH orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Kral Varhan, to come up with a treatment plan.

"Dr. Varhan came in and told me that I had no elbow left, but reassured me that he could fix that. He told me I was going to have a total elbow replacement, and that my new elbow would still be my bones. He was going to go in and reconstruct my elbow with my bones and hardware."

Surgery and the road to recovery

Prior to her surgery, Pamela had a discussion with Dr. Varhan about what she could expect from an injury this severe. 

"He told me that there would be pain. He also told me I probably wouldn't be able to close my hand to make a balled fist, and that I wouldn't be able to fully bend my arm. I knew this was going to be a long road to recovery but the most important thing to me was that I was going to be able to keep my arm. A lot of doctors would have looked at the injury and the concern of blood flow, and would have amputated my arm. But Dr. Varhan knew he could fix it."

Pamela's first surgery was on June 6, 2019. During this procedure, Dr. Varhan was replacing her reconstructing her elbow using her bones, plates, and hardware. He was also fixing the fractures in her shoulder.

"While recovering from this procedure, I had an infection in my arm. I went to Memorial for one day and Dr. Varhan gave me IV antibiotics and flushed my infection. After that, I felt better and continued on my road to recovery."

Given the extent of the injury and the work required to properly heal her arm, Pamela started to experience pain in her elbow almost two years after her initial procedure.

"Dr. Varhan told me the plates in my elbow were pressing on my good bone and said that I could have another surgery to remove the hardware from my elbow only. I had that surgery on March 30, 2021."

This procedure significantly reduced the pain Pamela was having, and she was able to continue working through physical therapy (as needed) and recovering from her accident. After getting to a point where she was considered healed, Pamela was released from Dr. Varhan's orthopedic care on June 23, 2021 -- a little over two years after her accident.

What it means to have high level care, close to home

"I have my arm because of Dr. Varhan," shared Pamela. "He even called me the 'Bionic Woman'!"

Pamela truly believes the level of care that was available to her in her home town is the reason she still has her arm today.

"I am the kind of person that likes to research a doctor thoroughly before I make an appointment. In this case, I didn't have that option. I think it was a blessing from above that Dr. Varhan was able to fix my arm. I'm blessed to know him and think that he was a gift from God in that moment, if you believe that -- and I certainly believe it. I don't think many other doctors would have taken this case and given me the results that I have, but Dr. Varhan did. He performed a miracle on me."

It was not only the level of care that impressed Pamela, but also the convenience of her care being right at home.

"I have lived in Logansport my whole life. I've always used Logansport Memorial Hospital and I would choose to come here, but in this instance -- I didn't have a choice. I was brought to the ER here. I would never have imagined that I could continue to stay at home and receive this level of care. I wouldn't have been able to get where I am today if I had to have gone out of town. I relied heavily on family to take me to and from the hospital, and if I would have had to go elsewhere, I just wouldn't have been able to do it. I truly believe Logansport Memorial Hospital is better now than it ever has been, and I'm just so amazed at the skill that's here. Dr. Varhan gave me my life back. Words are not enough -- this is so heartfelt to me because I am back to doing normal things again."

Reminiscing on her final appointment, Pamela thought of the joy Dr. Varhan felt for her and her recovery.

"Dr. Varhan told me there was a chance I would be in a lot of pain. I don't really have any pain. He told me I wouldn't be able to close my fist, but look at me (as she closed her fist tightly). He told me I wouldn't be able to bend my arm, but look at me (as she bends her arm to touch her fingers to her shoulder). I knew he was happy because at my last appointment, he gave me a high five. And I proudly lifted my other arm and he smiled and gave me a double high five."

A message to Dr. Varhan

"Dr. Varhan, I feel blessed to know you and have had you as my surgeon. Thank you so much for your excellent care, exceptional professional abilities, and extraordinary surgery you performed on me! Logansport Memorial Hospital -- you have an amazing, professional, and skilled orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Varhan, you performed a medical miracle on my left arm. May God bless you always." --- Pamela Schubach

Orthopedic care at Logansport Memorial Hospital

For expert care from our team of board-certified and fellowship trained surgeons, make an appointment with LMPN Orthopedics by calling (574) 722-2663.

Orthopedics at Logansport Memorial Hospital »

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TOPICS: Orthopedics, Patient Testimonials