COPD and Other Stuff

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Posts Tagged ‘infection’

Lymphedema Patients toss the dice – Podiatrist or Pedicurist

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

What does it take to keep vulnerable senior patients/any patient reasonably cared for in a rehab setting?  How many oversee patients when a podiatrist comes to call and cut toenails?

Is it true that Pedicurists aren’t trained well enough for Lymphedema patients to take a chance on them.  Really?

….I believed it might be true even though I had never seen bloody toenails from a pedicurist cutting nails during my career as a cosmetologist in Washington and California and a small business owner here.  What do I know about medical things?  I’m learning that one thing can and does frequently lead into another.

The comments from a trusted Lymphedema medical professional was enough and I stopped going to a licensed pedicurist I liked who cheerfully gave me well trimmed and bright, jazzy colored painted toenails.

And, like Jacks Beanstalk, my toenails grew … until months later I overheard that a Podiatrist would be available to cut toenails – just’ line up.  I waited until mid-afternoon, then ‘got in line.’

The crowd finally thinned in the hallway. Finally, there was room inside where he and an assistant were working with patients in a semi-circle. I was escorted to an empty seat at the far end of the semi-circle facing the doorway.  Many of the patients were in wheelchairs and I noticed as he made his way around to the left of the circle, some of the people wore band-aids on their toes.   I watched him tap, tap push something against a toe then put the band aid on.  As he got closer to me, one or two chairs away I TOLD him I had lymphedema and COULDN’T GET CUT because I too easily was infected.   I had been fighting the last session almost a year.  Almost nothing, I have experienced compares to the pain of lymphedema.  Nothing.  He did not reply.

That said, many of the bare toes left behind the Podiatrist sprouted Band-Aids as he moved along past the chairs/wheelchairs.

My visions of getting up graciously, majestically and quietly walking away before he reached me did not happen.  I sat there like a stump off a log while he worked his way around to my chair and began cutting my toenails.  I didn’t say a word as he finished one foot and worked on the other.  I watched him get something and go tap, tap, push on the end of my big toe then placed a band aide over the end.  He said something as he moved away and I was escorted out of the room to the wheelchair I pushed away down the hall.  To the other end of the hall elevator and down to the next floor..  I rolled into the physical therapy room where I had an appointment and told the therapist what happened.  I was shaking and she said she would find the nurse on duty when I couldn’t tell her how bad it was – only that he cut my toe.

The nurse pulled the Band-Aid away to see it and said ‘that’s not bad.’  The trouble with Lymphedema – for me, if not most of us – a simple scratch or bruise can develop into a big deal infection.

In addition, I mentioned to her the room upstairs was full of Band-Aid covered toes on patients – some in wheel chairs.  What if they got infected and had to UNNECESSARILY deal with infection caused by cuts on their feet from a podiatrist?  I suggested they check the patients.

I asked her to take photos for me because I couldn’t see it.  The photos were taken, the Band-Aid replaced and I had my physical therapy session.

To be absolutely clear.  I was loaded with antibiotics at the time.  My toe healed nicely.  No lawsuits then or now.  I don’t know how the other patients faired.

My point here is to ask  how you know your loved one is not being cut leading to an infection when a trained podiatrist cuts their toenails.  You don’t know.  Go watch a time or two – check these things out.

Patients be aware – patient centers too.  Make sure that podiatrist is competent.

Who is watching?

Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara


Edema, Lymphedema and Cellulitis – you don’t want it

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Do not ignore edema in your ankles and lower legs as I did for years.  Get the edema checked out and find out what is causing it.  Follow your doctors directions to get rid of it before it develops into something I can promise you do not want,   Lymphedema and Cellulitis.

My recent visit to Harrison Silverdale er and Dr. Gilbert Ondusko is fixing my right leg.  The great news is the growing painful lump and spreading painful area on my inside; lower right thigh is not a blood clot waiting to burst loose and run amuck willy nilly, hither and yon to create havoc.

Its called Thrombophlebitis a swelling and inflammation of a surface vein and I’m guessing mine was caused by abrasion from the large hard plastic noodle we use for water exercising.  The one exercise that could have caused the problem is the slow and fast jumps out of the water, including shifting of feet.  We have built up to 125 times and I will be sorry not to continue with that particular exercise because I am getting into a good muscular shape.  No doubt, Marilyn will come up with another way to accomplish the same thing without the noodle.

The CEPHALEXIN has done a great job – the pain of the infection on my right leg has decreased to tender and the lump is almost gone.

Almost in direct opposition, the lymphedema in my left leg is alive and throbbing.  The antibiotic for the right leg is not doing a thing for the left leg.  I’m calling my doctor later this morning because it is not getting better – the skin feels on fire and I’m oozing lymph fluid.

The point of this blog post is to let you know there can be serious consequences to ignoring lower leg edema and the pain is a big part of it.

 

The gorgeous sunset seen outside the Harrison Silverdale ER.  I had to stop and take the picture.

Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara

 


Harrison’s Strength is in Her Volunteers and Staff

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

If the employees are representative of the leadership at Harrison Medical Center – Harrison will be around long after most of us living today move on to frolic and ride the best horses, in that great rainbow in the sky.

Friday, 9 April 2010 I had an appointment with Melissa Mercogliano at Center for Orthopedic & Lymphatic Physical Therapy in Port Orchard for a leg wrap.

She wouldn’t touch the right leg. I was infected again. (I cannot wrap your leg when it is infected – get to a Prompt Care now!) I opted for the closest one, Harrison Port Orchard Urgent Care: – across the street from Melissa’s Port Orchard office.

There I met Pamela Starling, ARNP and Tiffany Campbell, MA and was treated to an amazing medical visit… a culture taken of the infected area – a first of all the times I’ve seen medical folks in Kitsap County for the same problem…Harrison Port Orchard Urgent Care’s Pamela Starling, ARNP took a culture.

Tiffany Campbell expertly and loosely wrapped my right leg, I had a prescription for an anti biotic I had not had before and went home with instructions on leg care until the culture developed in a few days and Pamela promised she would be back in touch.

Pamela called on Tuesday, the 13th – she had the culture results. It was a serious infection requiring a different antibiotic.

A problem was that the antibiotic in tablet form was incompatible with another drug taken therefore the antibiotic had to be administered intravenously …in a hospital.

Pamela called my primary physician and she called me about the concern and recommended I go to Harrison Bremerton’s ER. After some confusion there, I was admitted into the “M” ward. Hooked up with IV’s, I was fed two different antibiotics.

The first thing I noticed was the toilet height – child size and I laughed. What I didn’t realize until I sat down and got up for the first time is how smart Harrison was to listen to their physical therapists.

The height is PERFECT for helping patients ‘leg up’ (build muscle) in the legs simply by sitting down and getting up from the toilet.

Harrison helps patients help themselves maintain or gain muscle while a patient in the hospital. They know muscle utilizes oxygen better than flab and the biggest muscles in the body are the upper leg muscles.

For years, my mother was in and out as a heart patient at Harrison. I was used to the sparkling, spacious modern cardiac ward and had not remembered the older section. The Cardiac ward is quite different from the ward I was in.

Once I learned it was not a ward reserved for pulmonary patients, I relaxed and opened my laptop.
Thanks to my first roommate’s visiting computer whiz son and granddaughter I set up my laptop in the hospital and learned how best to prop it up for typing.
The back of a pillow worked fine.

During the time Tuesday, 13th – Sunday, 18th I was a patient I had three different roommates – 3 different conditions.
I heard firsthand in the middle of the night or daytime, nurse and staff voices change from ordinary fun and interesting tones turned instantly into the perfect professional relating to the medical issues of their patients – patients with serious medical conditions I never knew existed.

The nurses, aids and staff reacted instantly, professionally and show kind concern doing jobs that must be difficult at times, I observed from the way they interacted with my different roommates.

The M ward is not an ordinary ward. The patients and their medical conditions were life and death – including operations – no two alike.
The ward held a collection of everything and the staff was ready in an instant for anything. They could and did handle whatever needed doing with immediate efficiency and professionalism. Their warmth and caring shone through everything they did.

The M ward and people I met there won’t be forgotten. I had a good time and enjoyed the people working there.

Something else Harrison has right is their volunteer group of dedicated people – one woman showed her 25-year pin for volunteering and I had two incredible hand massages – so relaxing. They were expertly done and complimentary from friendly volunteers.

The only thing I would do differently is supply my own low sodium V-8 juice -a funny story for another time.
Thank you …Pamela Starling, ARNP – you thought outside the circle and cultured my leg infection. You found – specifically – what infection I had in order to treat it with the RIGHT ANTIBIOTIC.

For anyone thinking edema is funny – a joke – take a look at something that can develop from simple puffy feet and lower legs and developed into one of the most relentless pain I have ever felt.

You can avoid it – talk to your doctor. Take edema seriously. I did not.

Following is the recent five-day quick turnaround Cellulitis/Lympthedema story in pictures.
(I have the pictures I want separated and marked in one folder – I HOPE – I can get them in order into this post)

Thanks to Joe Jack Davis, MD, Harrison’s Wound Care Center, for the idea of taking photos and his observations during his hospital visit. My photos have proven to be invaluable visuals of the healing process and I have been gathering them for a couple years. My husband is the photographer AND leg wrapper.

The photos here visually show how quickly the infection began to heal especially when I compare them with the past infections in my lower legs.
The right leg only completely healed a couple weeks ago – it went deep.

End of Part 1

Part 2 deals with the $11,376.32 loss to Harrison after two insurance companies paid $1,100.00 and $5,109.58.
How long can any business survive if they are compelled to absorb such losses? I discovered some answers from Harrison’s new Patient Financial Supervisor, Christine Warner.

Part 2 – More later… Sharon O’Hara


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This is a patient to patient blog to exchange information and resources...from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) to Arthritis to Cellulites to Sarcoidosis to Sleep Apnea to RLS to Psoriasis to Support Groups to Caregivers and all points in between. Written by Sharon O'Hara.

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