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Thursday 13 June, 2024
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Julia Anderson, lost legs after she passed out in an awkward position

BY Anas Shah Mar 24, 2023. 08:28 pm UPDATED: Mar 24, 2023. 08:28 pm

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A mother who had a night of drinking and nearly lost her legs when they grew in size by two has issued a warning to others.

After a vodka-fueled pub crawl with friends in 2020, Julia Anderson passed out in an uncomfortable position, cutting off the blood flow to her limbs for hours.

Sandra Anderson, the woman’s 70-year-old worried mother, discovered the unconscious 36-year-old curled up on top of her legs and looking downward.

A horrified Julia realised she couldn’t move after being told to do so and needed assistance rolling onto her side.

The mother of one woke up later that morning still unable to move her legs, which had swelled to twice their normal size, leaving her worried that she had broken them during her night out.

She panicked and yelled for her mother, who called for an ambulance to take her to the hospital right away.

She was rushed into surgery after being diagnosed with compartment syndrome, which was brought on by sleeping on them all night and obstructing the blood flow to her legs.

Julia’s left leg’s muscle was severed during a gruelling life-saving operation by surgeons in order to reduce the amount of toxins released into Julia’s bloodstream and reduce swelling.

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Julia, who claims to have been carrying between 40 and 50 pounds of extra fluid, spent five weeks in the hospital where she underwent dialysis, received a blood transfusion, and underwent skin graft surgery.

Three years after the incident in January 2020, Julia, a Canadian citizen from Ontario, still has trouble walking and is unable to work.

She is now bravely telling others what happened so they can avoid the same fate by being sober before bed.

“I went on a night out with friends. I remember I was drinking vodka all night, I was drinking a lot of straight liquor.”

She added: “We didn’t eat. Pre-drinks and bar drinks combined, it was the equivalent of 20 drinks, so quite a bit.

“I was drunker than normal. When I got home I just thought ‘go to bed Julia’ and I passed out curled up on top of my legs face down.

“I was living with my mom and she came down to check on me because she knew I’d not been in a good state.

“She said I needed to move but I couldn’t. At first she didn’t believe me, but she had to help roll me onto my back and then I still couldn’t move.

“I fell back asleep, woke up an hour later and I still couldn’t move my legs. All I could think to myself was ‘did I break my legs or something? Why can’t I move my legs?’.

“They weren’t sore, but they were double their usual size so I called out to my mom who called an ambulance.

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“When I got to the hospital my whole body was very swollen. I’m tiny, I’m only 100lbs, to them I just looked like a 140lb girl.

“I told them ‘guys I don’t look like this, something is wrong’.”

Doctors at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, identified Julia as having compartment syndrome after performing a battery of medical tests.

Julia said: “I was immediately rushed into surgery because my muscle was deteriorating and releasing toxins into my bloodstream causing my body to swell up and my kidneys to shut down.

“After the first surgery I was in intensive care for two weeks strapped to a device to drain the fluid as I was still huge.

“They then brought a kidney dialysis machine into the room and hooked me up to it.

“The haemoglobin levels in my blood dropped so low I had to have a couple of blood transfusions too.

“They then did a skin graft from my thigh. The nerve damage was so bad I was screaming out in the middle of the night with the pain.

“I was in pain constantly. Imagine your leg is falling asleep but that tingling feeling is times a thousand, like a sharp shooting electric shock up my leg.”

After spending five weeks in the hospital, Julia was discharged and forced to take strong painkillers for a year while recovering in bed at home.

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Even though she has made great progress, Julia claimed that she still walks funny and that her toes are beginning to curl under her foot, as if she were wearing heels.

Julia said: “It’s been years but it still feels like my foot is mildly asleep all the time, I’m used to it.

“I can’t walk properly on that foot, I walk on my left foot like I’m wearing a high heel – almost like a Barbie foot.

“My toes are starting to curl under, I don’t know if I’ll need further surgery or if there’s anything they can do at this point.”

Julia bravely made the decision to bravely share her story online last month to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else after being embarrassed by her ordeal for three years.

Julia said: “At the time I was embarrassed about it, because who wants to be like ‘I passed out drunk like an idiot’.

“The shame’s kind of dissipated because it’s been years now, it could happen to anyone.

“Normally it’s a sports injury, often people do lose their limbs.

“I would say to people that if you do have too much to drink, try and sober up before going to bed.

“Have some food and some water, don’t just pass out because you won’t wake up if the circulation gets cut off.”

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Julia’s Facebook post, from February 25, reads: “I’ve never been open about this on social media, but if I can save someone’s limb, or even life, it’s worth sharing.

“NEVER pass out really drunk! ‘Sleeping it off’ is dangerous!! Have some food and water instead and try to sober up before bed!”

 

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