COPD and Other Stuff

This is a patient-to-patient blog to exchange information and resources...from COPD to Arthritis to Cellulites to Sarcoidosis to Sleep Apnea to RLS to Psoriasis to Support Groups to Caregivers and all points in between.
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Posts Tagged ‘Martha & Mary’

Does a tumor mean cancer? Part 4 of 4 Harrison Home Health

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Does a tumor mean cancer?  Part 4 of 4

Harrison Home Health nurses.

My surgeon, Dr. Urban, assistant professor at the University of Washington Medical Center and surgeon at Seattle Cancer Alliance gave me a choice – Martha & Mary in Poulsbo or be home with Harrison Home Health.  Much as I enjoyed my four-week stay at M & M’s a few months ago, I wanted to go home – even if I had to learn wet to dry wound wraps and do my own wound changes.

Luckily, I got Harrison Home Health.  That meant every three days a nurse came to the house to change out the wound wraps and check on the vac inside belly tube and stuffing.  The following photos will show better than I can explain, what they do – Bless them. 

Meet Karl…whose expert, experienced hands and manner quickly put me at ease and set the tone I found with Harrison Home Care nurses.  They were all different, uniform in their professionalism and competence, yet cheery and friendly.

The V.A.C.Therapy  System is like a small sump pump that you wear or carry close by.  The tube tether is just long enough and runs from the closed, suctioned  wound to the empty container connected to the pump.  The first night home the alarm went off – the container was full a day or two early.   I called the Harrison Home Health (HHH) emergency number and tried not to panic describing the problem.  Minutes later a nurse called back, but by then I have changed it out myself – thanks Gretchen!

Above is the old dressing.  Following are the steps Karl and the other Harrison Home Health nurses took to clean up and change out the wound.

 

The sponge cut to fit, placed inside the wound, and taped down.

The seal secure, cutting the membrane allows the suction tubing to fit in the wound

 

Time to seal the wound

Ready for the vac tube

Tube in place, machine turned on, and the vac proved good suction and connection.  The suction held and the excess fluid began its flow out of my belly and into the tube.  The VAC  tube, suction and good nursing care made the wound heal properly from the inside out.

Lisa, RN, MSN

Kris Feldon, LPN

Danny – one of HHH treasures and the only one I had the pleasure of meeting before.  Danny is a stellar nurse who tried to help with my lymphedema wrap.  Danny had even met me at Dr. Halligan’s office in the Doctor’s Clinic in Silverdale to learn how the doctor wanted my leg wrapped.  As it happened, my husband who learned to wrap from Melissa and did a great job, finally decided he would continue wrapping and Danny was freed up to help another patient.  Going the extra step, Dr. Halligan and Danny are extraordinary in their patient involvement.

One of Harrison’s shy nurses allowed me to photograph her helping hands at work.  I am using this photo of her hands showing the white strips the professionals removed each visit because the day came, (4 July) when the suction failed and eventually that evening, I was told the nurse on call would come out or I could try to fix it myself.  I opted to try to fix it myself.  By phone the nurse gave me several options to try to get the suction restored.  The supplies were here so it was only a matter of taking the materials upstairs to the bathroom mirror and applying the tape seals until I got a tight seal and reestablished the seal unit and tube to the V.A.C.

Pursed Lip Breathing (PLB) works when you need it.  The white strips across the clear material would not budge when I tried to remove them and had to stay until the HHH nurse came again to clean and change out the wrap.

Almost closed!

The face of the wound healing V.A.C.

These petite staples held the upper part of the wound in place and stayed intact until it healed and the staples  removed.

Paul, HHH rehab physical therapist showing me different ways to work out using things I already have.  He lifts weights for a hobby.

Paul and his counterpart were terrific in that each brought a new idea to the table.  Paul’s partner had me keenly aware I’d let my left leg and foot straddle out to the side instead of straight ahead and we worked on it.  She was terrific.  I didn’t get a chance to ask for her photo because she went on vacation and I didn’t see her again!

M, the occupational therapist,  wouldn’t let me photograph her and wouldn’t be interviewed for one of her big wins this year, winning the 2012 Cancer Society Barrel Racing Championship with one of her horses!  M is a professional barrel racer in her spare time – super fit, horses and herself.

HHH has amazing people dedicated to helping others who need them….and glad I had the opportunity to meet some of them.

One nurse I have not mentioned is someone who had me laughing so hard I grabbed my staples so they could not pop out.

Harrison Home Health nurses are a Godsend to those who unable to get out…patients heal in the best of company.

Knock; knock … Harrison Home Health calling….

Thanks for listening.  Takk for Alt!   Sharon O’Hara


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About This Blog

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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