Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bunion Surgery and Surgical-Site Infection: Aftermath

This recent bunion surgery and reconstructive surgeries educated me in the miracles of modern medicine--what a great time to be alive. American health care gets a bad rap at times, but I wouldn't want to live at another time or in another place. And medical insurance. I feel for those who don't have access to it. It has brought great peace knowing that whatever needed to be done to fix my problem, could be done, because insurance would provide. I'm grateful for priesthood blessings that promised me healing and peace. And for all the kind and helpful people who stepped up during this crisis--visiting teachers, ward members, family members, neighbors. Just one example of going above and beyond is my 90-year-old friend A, who carried a pot of delicious homemade soup up my 8 front steps and into my house, then came back the next day to fetch the pot, and brought a plate of treats.  Emily was there when I needed her.  Craig took over all my home duties, my care, drove me to just about every appointment, hung out at the hospital with me, cooked, shopped, cleaned, etc. etc. Thanks to everyone. I strive to be like all of you.

The Wound Clinic, or, "Where the Angels Work"

Who knew there is a such a place as a wound clinic?  For a month I was treated here 2x per week.   The staff here was so concerned and friendly.  C was my specially trained nurse and expert in wound care. On every visit though, the other staff would at the very least, open the door to my room to say hi, how ya doin'. They often came in to look at the progress of my wound, and even though it might look ghastly to a non-medical person, they always marveled and exclaimed at how much progress in healing had occurred since the previous visit.  S always photographed my foot to chart the progress. They were all upbeat and kind.

One day while I was being treated I heard a bell ring--a hand-held dinner bell type of sound--and the nurse excused herself for a minute. She later told me that the bell signified that a long-time patient was on his/her last visit, and was "graduating." The whole staff assembled to say good bye and wish them well. You can imagine the horrendous wounds (burns especially) the staff treats, and patients become part of the "family" there.

One day I showed up (no appointment) just to slip in to pick up a pressure sock, and the nurses decided they should look at my wound as long as I was there. They accommodated me in a room and located the doc so he too could take a look too. I think this place works like the parable of the loaves and fishes. There's always enough people, enough time, enough rooms, to take care of the wounded; they expand to meet the needs of the patients.

C is a proficient, kind and compassionate care-giver. My foot and leg were bandaged up to the knee, so I couldn't ever shave that prickly leg. One day I brought my razor in to use when my leg was in a state of un-wrap. C took the razor and shaved it for me. And then, and each time, coated my leg with vaseline to keep it more comfortable under the wrap. Every dressing change took about an hour and she was never in a hurry. She carefully removed the excess skin around the wound, then washed my whole foot, every time. Then she figured out the best configuration of gauze pads to absorb the fluids. At times I got teary over the gentle care that was given. These women are angels with a gift to minister to the suffering.

Happy times at Butchart Gardens, Victoria Canada, May 10, 2013
I'm mostly healed and walking!

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