Wound Care Update

Back on September 8, I posted a piece on wound care:WoundCare

One persistent and annoying condition with my reconstructed leg is the occasional skin ulcer, which will sometimes result from a nick or breakdown in my grafted skin. Over the years, I’ve become an amateur wound care specialist, employing what I learned in the hospital and from reliable resources on the web… I will probably use pressure with zinc impregnated gauze, as well as open air now and again.

I’m happy to report that the skin has finally begun to make its move toward the center and each time I remove my bandage, there are patches of skin trying to form in the middle. So, it appears that we’re in the home stretch – I anticipate the wound to be completely healed by 2015.

If you have grafted skin as a result of necrotizing fasciitis, a burn or other reconstructive surgery, here are a few helpful links to help you heal.

Compression Stockings and How to Use Them

Lower Extremity Leg and Foot Ulcers

Leg Ulcers and How To Treat Them

 

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Finding the Humor in a Twist of Fate: The Boston Globe

kreiter_lautzenheiser4_gSUZANNE KREITER/GLOBE STAFF

BU alum Will Lautzenheiser became a comic after losing his limbs while battling a fierce, deadly infection.

Will Lautzenheiser loved teaching in the film department at Boston University, his alma mater. But as an adjunct professor, he wanted some security. When he was offered a faculty position at Montana State University in 2011, he grabbed the opportunity.

“If I didn’t blow it there,” he says, looking back, “I could have had a good full-time job.”

It’s a funny choice of words. Lautzenheiser didn’t “blow” it, he contracted a fierce, deadly infection just as he was starting his first semester. To save his life, the staff at a Salt Lake City trauma unit made the terrible but life-saving decision to amputate all four of his limbs.

via Finding the humor in a twist of fate – Lifestyle – The Boston Globe.

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Is This The Book Cover?

BookCoverWe had an assignment in my 2 dimensional design class to come up with a non-fiction book cover, which emphasizes the sub-title over everything else. The goal of the exercise was to experiment with visual hierarchy or placing emphasis on the most important elements in a commercial design. I haven’t given up on my goal to write a book-length account of my brawl with NF. This would not be the cover – for one thing, the image is not mine. And, I think I would have a different sub-title and put that second or third in the visual hierarchy. However, I like the title 72 Hours, connected to the image of a ticking clock. As I tell people who wonder if I’m still contagious, “you have 72 hours to kill it or it kills you.” When NF strikes, the clock starts running and you have roughly 3 days to stop the onslaught — after that, it’s over. The bacteria is eliminated or the bacteria and its host both die. So, we’ll see about that book now.

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Are You A Wound Care Specialist?

Skin Ulcer on Achilles Tendon
Skin Ulcer on Achilles Tendon

One persistent and annoying condition with my reconstructed leg is the occasional skin ulcer, which will sometimes result from a nick or breakdown in my grafted skin. Over the years, I’ve become an amateur wound care specialist, employing what I learned in the hospital and from reliable resources on the web.

Right now, I have one the size of a quarter on my Achillies tendon and, if this one is like the others I’ve had before, it will take about 6 months to completely close up. So, I will probably use pressure with zinc impregnated gauze, as well as open air now and again. If you have grafted skin as a result of necrotizing fasciitis, a burn or other reconstructive surgery, here are a few helpful links to help you heal.

Compression Stockings and How to Use Them

Lower Extremity Leg and Foot Ulcers

Leg Ulcers and How To Treat Them

 

Read More

Am I Presentable?

Shave and Skin Grafts009
Morning bath and shave.

Do you know of a school, church or other organization that may want to hear the harrowing story of how one man was blind-sided by the flesh-eating bacteria and lived to tell about it? I’ve shared our story a number of times, including an annual gig in science classes at our local middle school during “bacteria week.” More than once I was followed the next day by that gripping video drama, Killer Kitchens. Well, I do that sort of thing and, if I speak to your group, I promise to be clean shaven, appropriately dressed, and I’ll bring a version of the tale that is relevant and engaging. Contact me with any requests or invitations and I’ll see if we can work something out.

I found some forgotten photographs, while going through my files (I’ve put this off for about ten years). Well, I came across this one of me being shaved by someone outside the frame. There’s actually a lot going on in this photo that takes me back to the experience and is probably triggering some symptoms of PTSD right now!

The first thing I noticed is that my sheets are clean and there is a new, baby blue “chuck” on the bed. This tells my that Denise has already given me my sponge bath and they’ve removed the bloody, nasty, filthy sheets – the first of two times they would do that each day, ripping them off  open wounds and scattering dead skin and stuff everywhere. Yes, I was a disgusting mess and having a clean bed twice a day was a little bit of heaven – I’m not kidding.

Second, I notice that there is Xeroform dressing stuck to my stomach and open wounds, so I’m probably still having skin grafts done. They really liked the skin on my stomach and right thigh, so they kept coming back for more and the donor sites are a nice, bright, sensitive red. Also, I’ve got a sheet over me, which indicates I’m still open and pretty much naked (humiliated).

Finally, someone else is shaving me, which means my right arm is not working at this time. My shoulder appears to be wasting and I’m beginning to look like a concentration camp survivor. I won’t have the pallid, Auschwitz look for another month or so. A little further down the road, I will be able to drag my right arm onto my chest with my left, prop it up, and shave myself. Yes, those were three of the most memorable months of my life and there may be some life lessons in there for others.

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National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation

home_animationThe National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation. They were the first and remain one of the best, if not the best, resources on Necrotizing Fasciitis, the flesh-eating bacteria. From their site:

Founded in 1997 by two survivors of necrotizing fasciitis, Jacqueline A. Roemmele, of Watchung, New Jersey, and Donna Batdorff of Grand Rapids Michigan.

Together, because of the lack of reliable information regarding the disease, it became their mission to do what they could to fill the void of information and to offer support for other victims and their families. What has since evolved in the past fifteen years of our existence has been truly inspiring and humbling. Hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life, from all over the world, have reached out to the foundation when NF invades their lives. NNFF is the leading source of information available about this deadly disease, and has brought together hundreds of people who find kinship, support, and comfort in each other. They are proud to be fulfilling the foundation’s mission to make a difference in the understanding, awareness, diagnosis, and treatment of necrotizing fasciitis.

 

 

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