HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - When you see the stitches sewn into Christopher Johnson's wrist, it looks pretty painful. Although, when you ask him, it's nothing compared to the pain he endured when he fell off a ladder outside of his home in Nicaragua.
"Our house has a problem with wasps, I was up on a stool knocking the nest down and the stool went out from under me, I fell and hit my hand pretty hard."
Johnson assumed it was just a sprain, but after waiting a day, went to the local South American hospital to get an x-ray. According to Johnson, "the doctor there looked at it and didn't see the fracture, so he just assumed it was a sprain as well."
Still in South America, Christopher and his wife went back to work as missionaries, doing construction work to a home which provides safety and refuge to girls who have been abused. Six weeks later, what was diagnosed as a sprain still hadn't healed.
"I realized it really wasn't healing right and I still had quite a bit of pain. By God's grace, it turned out our neighbor was an Orthopedic Specialist, who had worked in the states for about 20 years. My wife talked to him and he came over looked at the initial x-ray, and was pretty sure that I had a scaphoid fracture."
Dr. Rocco Barbieri, a Southern Bone and Joint hand and upper extremity surgeon said, "it's a fairly common fracture, I see about one a week."
Common but often undetected, until weeks or months later because the bone lies inside the joint.
Barbieri said, "the particular bone that he fractured is notorious for not being picked up on standard x-rays."
Christopher decided it was best to come back to the states, to have his injury looked at further. He learned of Dr. Barbieri, who confirmed the fracture and within days performed surgery.
"Some people can go 20 and 30 years with their wrist like that but if we have the opportunity to try and fix it you have a much better outlook."
After consulting with three Doctor's and a recent operation, Christopher now has the relief he has been looking for. In about 6 weeks he will be able to continue his mission in South America.
Johnson said, as soon as he got back into the states, "I went to Wal Mart and picked up two wasp traps and will give that a shot and see if it works better."