Brent Nearly Lost His Leg, But Now He’s Walking Again

One November Sunday

On November 9, 2014, 43-year-old Brent Loucks of Sesser got home from church on a Sunday afternoon and tried to take a simple stroll across his yard.

When Loucks says, “Pain shot down my left leg—almost like a charley horse sensation. Immediately, I knew something wasn’t right and I went in the house with my wife. My whole leg tightened up and there wasn’t any relief. It just stayed that way.”

Loucks waited a short time in his house with his wife, Becky, but the pain never let up.

“We decided it was time to go to the emergency department,” shared Loucks. “But by the time that we got there, my leg was totally purple.”

Heading to the ED

They drove to Herrin Hospital’s Emergency Department where an ED physician examined Loucks, helped to make him more comfortable and quickly worked to get him transferred to Memorial Hospital of Carbondale. Loucks was found to be suffering from deep venous thrombosis (DVT) as a result of a rare condition known as May Thurner Syndrome. A specialist was called in to perform an immediate surgery.

Loucks said he then learned that there was a 6 hour window to conduct the surgery in order to save his leg.

The Recovery

After surgery, Loucks spent the next several weeks in hospitals. The event led to compartment syndrome, which happens when an extremity swells because of poor circulation and its muscles put off a toxin. Loucks’ kidneys could not process the toxin so his kidneys shut down—forcing Loucks to be on dialysis for a month.

“But luckily, my kidney function did come back,” Loucks added.

His left leg had endured significant trauma and required reconstructive surgery. With the help of a walker, Loucks was finally able to leave the hospital and returned to his home in Sesser—just a week before Christmas.

Rehabilitation Journey

Shortly thereafter, Loucks began intensive rehabilitation through Rehab Unlimited in Herrin. Visiting outpatient rehabilitation three times a week over the course of the next several months, Loucks worked hard to lose the walker and regain strength and mobility in his leg.

Physical therapist Rachel Bullar spearheaded his rehabilitation. “Rachel did a nice job of overseeing my rehabilitation and monitoring my progress through evaluations.” Loucks shared.

“All of the therapists at Rehab Unlimited were awesome! You could really tell that their heart was in it!” “They were all top-notch!” exclaimed Loucks.

“Now some of them were a little tough on me, like Jennifer Wright. She pushed me to my limit, but that is what I wanted. I wanted to work at it and get better.”

After months of recovery, Brent was thankful to get back to work in March.

He has this to say about his journey: “Throughout the whole experience with SIH, I don’t have a bad word to say about any of it. It was just unbelievable the care that I received.”

Loucks is a local construction worker. He and his wife, Becky, and his two sons, ages 9 and 12, live on a small farm where they raise cattle in Scheller, just north of Sesser.

When Loucks isn’t busy with construction work or mending fences on the farm, he spends his time with his family. He enjoys watching his boys play sports, fishing and even camping together at Rend Lake.

A grateful Loucks shared, “I’m thankful to be living in this area so that I can take advantage of having SIH here if I need it.”