Time flies when you are in pain!

Time is passing

Back on December first, I really thought I was turning the corner on this case of leg and feet ulcers, but boy was I wrong.  I’ve had three more months of pain and worry since then.  The only moment of light was when I visited my rheumatologist and after telling him about the awful pain I was having, he prescribed Tramadol for me.  That allowed me to begin to get some sleep at night and be more comfortable during the days also.

Then, two weeks ago, I had an ER visit when one of the largest ulcers split open to become a 4″x1″ wound and was hurting a lot.  The ER docs told me I needed to start care at a Wound Center and so the next day I made my first appointment at the Pine Bluff Wound Clinic.  At my first session, I met Dr. Keith Bennett, Board certified 3 times over (Family Medicine, General Surgery and Plastic Surgery)  and over 25 years experience in surgery.

That first visit, he debrided several of the ulcers (I have over 10 of them) to remove all dead tissue.  Wow, lots of pain and blood everywhere.  The only good thing was that he was very quick with the knife and he did prescribe pain meds for me to take afterwards and before my next visit.

He felt the ulcers were more typical of diabetic ulcers than caused by my chemo drugs.  I was also shown how to dress the wounds and apply a compression dressing and was put back on prednisone (more chipmonk face… uhg!).  I was told that the prednisone, compression bandages and keeping my feet elevated over my heart was very important for my healing.  I’m also to really work on keeping my BGL down below 200.  So I’m being a good girl.

The second visit was more of the same, but I made my dh drive me to and from the Clinic so I could dope myself up with codeine before the debriding; it still hurt a lot but less blood this time.  The ulcers are looking much better and several of them were reduced in size.  We discussed using a type of growth factor/chemical on the wounds to help the healing and even if it costs us several hundred dollars, both my husband and I are ready to go for it.  Maybe we will learn more about this next week.

There are several ways to clean/debride the wounds:

Image of scalpel, copyright Microsoft
Image of scalpel, copyright Microsoft
  • Autolytic debridement.  This method basically allows the body to degenerate all the dead tissue on its own, keeping the wound moist and then allowing it to regrown.
  • Chemical debridement.  This method  promotes the break down of dead and damaged tissue by using a chemical enzyme debriding agent. (I’m using this method also and applying the special cream to my wounds during re-dressing.
  • Mechanical debridement. This method using saline and gauze dressings which stick somewhat to the dead tissue and when peeling off, take the dead tissue with it.
  • Surgical debridement, In this method, the surgeon is using a scalpel or scissors to remove dead tissue.  (This is the method Dr. Bennett is using on me and boy is he quick with his scalpel)!

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