We continue to monitor COVID-19, flu and other respiratory viruses in our communities.
Read the most current information about prevention, testing and where to go if you're sick.
Tom Acker is up and around thanks to the great work done by Dr. Valinda Allen and the staff at Alton Memorial Hospital’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center.
Acker, 57, was working at his home on Feb. 23, 2021, when he took a fall and a 1 x 3 board went through his lower left leg. Stitches at the Alton Memorial Hospital Emergency Room fixed the immediate problem, but the damage required further treatment.
“Dr. (Matthew) Musielak performed surgery on March 11, and he did a great job,” Acker said. “But it still needed a lot of work. I delivered beer for 20 years around the area, and I had always heard a lot of great things about the Wound Care Center at Alton Memorial. For one thing, I had a cousin who was a double amputee and was treated there.
“So when I called and talked to Tammy Miller, the office manager, Tammy was wonderful and I was able to get in the same day that I called on March 15. The appointment was at 3:30 but the staff stayed past the time I think they were supposed to go home to get me started.”
Acker ended up having 38 weekly appointments for seven months at the Wound Care Center. He credits Dr. Allen, the medical director, and the entire staff for getting him back to a good quality of life.
“They used a wound vac that puts negative pressure on the wound,” Acker said. “Dr. Allen has been great the whole time, and it was a long time. I just couldn’t have the lifestyle that I wanted before, but now I can thanks to the Wound Care Center.
“Now I’m back to cutting grass, raking leaves, painting my back bedroom and things like that. I usually do some duck hunting, but my waders are a little close to the injury and I don’t want to mess up the work they did. I mostly wear long pants now so people don’t have to look at it. Dr. Musielak took out a lot of flesh during the surgery, but Dr. Allen has fixed it up.”
Although Acker would rather not have to return to the Wound Care Center out of necessity, he’s happy to come back and visit the staff, with whom he became friends over the course of seven months.
“Dr. Allen and her staff are caring, professional and hard-working,” he said. “Dr. Allen has a great bedside manner and explains what she is doing and ultimately what she is trying to achieve. Nurses Kari Holliday, Jana Lybarger, Tonya Strohbeck, Katelyn Street, Jera Connell and Megan Hanson all took wonderful care of me. The nurses are all knowledgeable and confident in what they are doing. The teamwork on display is amazing. And Tammy cut through all the red tape and got me in as quickly as possible.”
Pictured above: Tom Acker with Dr. Valinda Allen in the Alton Memorial Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center.