Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wound Healing & My Mom's Progress

My mom's wound continues to heal, albeit slowly. She was sent home from the nursing home on January 31st and has been doing well at home on her own, with daily wound care treatments from a visiting nurse.

My mom's wound was still quite deep almost 4 months later, and unfortunately it had started to heal the wrong way -- from the outside-in instead of the inside-out. So she had to have it debrided on Wednesday, no fun for her, but necessary for healing.

I spent eight days in Florida with my mom, helping her get some new furniture, a washer and dryer (she had never seen the need for one before and had used laundromats), a couple of new canes (one with four prongs for greater stability), a donut-shaped pillow to sit on to relieve stress on her wound when she sits, a new mailbox (so she wouldn't have to collect mail at her PO box), better shoes (more stable and more comfortable), etc.

I worried about my mom's diet, pushing fresh veggies and fruits and raw nuts in place of a diet heavy in meats and breads and salty frozen entrees. My mom's nurse had warned her about reducing her salt, as my my mom's ankles and feet were visibly swollen.

When Stephen suggested meeting him at the Cracker Barrel for lunch, I was chagrined to see my mom order what I dubbed a "salt bomb." Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, chicken dumplings, and something else starchy (egad!). I suggested the trout lunch, but my mom didn't bite on that one. Stephen chuckled more than once (he had something equally unhealthy) at my hapless attempts to steer the lunch choices.

When we were done, I didn't get why we had to go to the store to pay. My mom pointed to crusted sugary praline pecans and I started to get it. I opted for the chocolate-covered pecans (they seemed healthier), and I couldn't help but browse the frothy retro merchandise. I spied a tee-shirt I thought my mom would like and ended up buying her three.

Mystery solved. Pay for your lunch in the store and you end up buying more stuff.

Groceries were an easier proposition. Buying fresh and organic provoked no fuss as there was no country fried food smells wafting our way. My mom drinks rice milk now, dropping her dairy habit, snacks on raw nuts, and is watching her salt a bit better (of course, I'm not there to nag, so who knows, but the cupboards are stocked with things that make healthy choices easier).

We have two pillboxes packed with supplements for a.m. and p.m., and my mom is committed to her Constant Health drinks (she has seven blender bottles in her kitchen, with her powder measured out a week in advance, so she can track her drinks). She says she feels better, has more energy when she takes her daily drinks.

Those chocolate-covered pecans, nevertheless, disappeared within days, even though my mom asked me to put them "up high" where she couldn't reach them. My mom is only 5'2" but she has a cane, which apparently is good for knocking down treats stashed on otherwise out-of-reach shelves. I had to laugh.

While I was in town, I did some painting, cleaned her garage out, and bought her three dogs their very own dog beds, which they took to immediately (alas, they also take to digging in the dirt and enjoying nuzzling into cool, sandy soil).

I like dogs but they tend to stink and track dirt everywhere, so I'm forever a cat person at heart (sorry dog lovers). My mom's gigantic orange tabby, Tyler, on the other hand, endeared himself to me, talking up a storm and following me around the house.

However, around midnight one night, after a nice evening out with Stephen and Kelly and her parents, Tyler was making a play for the same spot on my mom's bed as she was. Not so swift Tyler desperately clawed, trying to regain his balance on my mom's bed, and he accidentally struck a large vein on my mom's left hand. We weren't sure whether my mom would need stitches, but clearly she had to go in for a tetanus shot, as she hadn't had one in over 10 years. We spent the rest of the night in a freezing cold emergency room, finally seeing the dusky sky again around 4:30 a.m.

During the week, I took my mom to various doctors' appointments (the waiting just about kills you, doesn't it?!) and encouraged her to drive her car again for the first time.

Fear made my mom's mouth go dry, but she made it the short drive from a shopping center we were in to her local Sam's Club (her old membership had expired). I could understand her concern, as traffic in South Florida during the winter tends to back up in every direction, and my mom hadn't had to pay so much attention to anything in many months (nursing homes are rather dull, after all).

My mom did great though, and she felt elated to have her freedom again, saying "I'm just not ready to stop living yet!" Go mom!

Lest you think that I'm a hero, since October, my brother quietly worked on my mom's house and did daily runs to her nursing home room and her house to take care of her three dogs and two cats, so it's been a joint effort.

I couldn't ask for a better brother, really, even if he does make fun of my every choice in life (food, movies, music, etc.). Perhaps just part of the job description as a brother.


Sy Cohn, MFT, "The Driving Therapist" said...

I enjoyed your article about your mother and can identify with it. If she needs any other help with her driving or for stress mgt. I'll be happy to help her. My web saite is
Sincerely, Sy Cohn, MFT,
aka "The Driving Therapist"

Arlene Norman said...

Hi Cindy,
Have you tried Low Level Laser Therapy [LLLT] to heal your Mom's wounds. I am using it with great success to heal or at least minimize my Traumatic Brain Injury. Chiropractors and Physical Therpists are into it. Can't use it anywhere near a growth or tumor but it is FDA approved for healing. Also, it is old-fashioned but packing a wound with sugar, irritates just enugh to cause new tissue to grow. YOu have my contact info on record as a customer, if you want more info.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sweet Cidy--and Stephen,

My 82 year old Mom lives in FL, too.( I am in NC)
Her dog scratched her on the leg for the second time in as many years. Just as your Mom, she had to go through weeks of painful debridement of the infected, non-healing wound I have sent her several of your wonderful supplements---getting her to take them is a bit tricky.

Bless you both for helping your Mom out. She appeciates it more than you can know.
As busy as you both are--please continue to go down to visit and help out. We won't have our "Mommies" forever.

And I miss your Dad, too--he was a friend.

Hugs, Diana