Friday, March 26, 2010

A Parable, Part II: The Treatment

The wound care specialist diagnosed my father with a bed sore and prescribed treatment that the nurses were to administer. It included an occlusive dressing called "Duoderm" that looked like an individually wrapped square of American cheese. The day after the regimen was begun I called my father with the usual list of intrusive questions designed to assess his well-being:

"Did they begin taking care of your bed sore?"
"Did you move your bowels?"
"Why not?"
"The nurses glued my buttocks together."

Well, I had to investigate that one. I went to the hospital and looked. The rubbery yellow thing was, indeed, plastered across my father's butt like a seal. At my request they applied a new dressing, this time placing it on the wound.

The next day, I called again:

"Did you move your bowels?"
"Why not?"
"I think I'm constipated from the Percocet."
"Percocet? You haven't needed pain meds since they discontinued the morphine pump!
"It's that damn bed sore. It's killing me."

Again, I went to his bedside for a look-see. The dressing was in a gummy little mound the size of a large marble at the base of his spine, pulling on the delicate skin around it. A new dressing was placed, with some back-talk, at my request.

My father was discharged the next day, bed sore and all. I went to the Pharmacy and bought a box of Duoderm. I had never used it before. I read the package insert carefully, cutting it to size, folding it carefully into the anatomy and securing the edges with paper tape. The dressing remained intact for 5 days. I continued this cycle twice more and the wound healed perfectly.


If you think something is wrong, trust your gut and ask questions. Be persistent. Don't underestimate the ability of lay people. Don't leave everything up to the professionals. Love and pray. If we do this, the patient should recover.

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