#328–Wound Care Clinic not a torture chamber . . .

Because the area around my ankle on my left leg is not healing, I was referred to the Wound Care Clinic at Peace Harbor Medical Center in Florence. It’s in the same building as the Walk-In Clinic. I had never heard of it before. Like with a lot of things, it was an unknown until I needed it.

The Wound Care Clinic looks like any other doctor’s office.

When the doctor referred me, he thought I might have MRSA, which is a very nasty infection. It’s dreaded because nearly all antibiotics don’t work on it. That’s not what I have. I don’t know what I have, but I’ve been prescribed an antibiotic that does not work on MRSA. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that I still have a wound that is not healing and needs to be debrided. That’s where the dead skin and any other bad stuff is removed by gauze and various tools. I knew that this would be the case and was dreading it. I could just picture me being subdued by a couple of technicians each holding one of my arms and given something to chomp onto to keep from screaming! Well, it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t bad at all––definitely not the torture chamber of my imaginings.

Jeannine, the nurse, wielding the tools of debridement is pleasant, friendly, and explains everything thoroughly. Best of all, she has a gentle touch.

Jeannine is the nurse who wields all the debridement tools and such with a gentle touch.

First, Jeannine cleaned again and again the foot, the ankle, and the leg up to the knee starting with a white foam. Then she squirted lidocaine gel over the entire wound and let it set a bit and do its thing, numbing the area to a great extent. What an absolute Godsend!

Then she started the removal of bad stuff––gently, very gently. Here are Jeanine’s notes from Wednesday’s after-visit summary, “Conservative sharp debridement was provided (~ 24 sq cm) using sterile forceps and curette to remove necrotic tissue/debris from wound bed.” Just reading this makes my toes curl. I turned away; I couldn’t watch. There was some pain, but not nearly what I had imagined.

Jeannine didn’t get all the bad stuff, but much of it––enough for one day. She then sprayed some stuff on the wound and rubbed it with a special piece of gauze-like stuff that formed a plastic like film over it. Then she placed a piece of fabric impregnated with silver on top of the wound before wrapping it in some bandaging damp with calamine and zinc oxide that went all the way to the knee. Then came the white, cotton-candy-looking stuff that is usually used under plaster casts. It also went from foot to knee. The last layer provided some compression. It was an ace-type outer bandaging.

Jeannine applying the ace-bandage type outer layer over the white, cotton-candy type stuff to form a soft cast.

Overall, what she created was a soft cast. Lastly, she covered everything with a long, black sock. At that point, I realized that I don’t have to wear my blankety-blank compression hose on that leg while undergoing treatment. Yay!

With wound care, it’s not a one-stop situation. I was there yesterday (Wednesday), and I was there today (Thursday), and I’ll be there again next Tuesday. In fact, I’ll be there a couple times a week until it shows definite signs of healing.

My visit there today, was almost identical to yesterday’s. She thought it looked better and was pleased that there was not a lot of drainage. Here are her after visit summary notes, “Conservative sharp debridement was provided (~ 16 sq cm) using sterile forceps to remove necrotic tissue/ debris from wound bed. Mechanical debridement with saline and Debrisoft Pad (rough like a cat’s tongue) to remove slough and /or debris. “ Again, I looked away.

Gently removing dead skin on Thursday’s visit.

To help in the healing, I’ll start the antibiotic tomorrow (Friday), after I pick it up at Freddies. When the doctor’s office called on Monday, I assumed it was called in then. Perhaps not. When I called from the Freddie’s parking lot today at 2:30 p.m., I learned that it wouldn’t be ready until about 4:30. So, there is still a big delay at the pharmacy, and when I do go in, I’ll plan on being in line about an hour. My foot is in a fair amount of pain this afternoon. So, I’m not up to standing in line for an hour. I’ll wait til tomorrow (Friday) morning.

The all important lidocaine comes in a tiny tube. It may be tiny, but it’s potent.

Jeannie in the wound care clinic is a delight as was her helper, who was there Wednesday. They made the process as painless as possible. Between them and the lidocaine, I found that the Wound Care Clinic is definitely not a torture chamber!

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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