Diabetes Crucial Foot Care
I have come across many examples where diabetes crucial foot care is not carried out. And unfortunately the story frequently ends with an unsatisfactory and sad conclusion. Here Vivian describes the horror she and her husband faced and delivers key facts about the care we should take with out feet.
Check Those Feet
The mantra for all diabetics is “Check those feet, everyday, every way.” Healthcare professionals preach the message; articles scream it over and over. However, many diabetics don’t and won’t. My husband was one of those who didn’t believe he should and “foo, fooed” my suggestions that I should check his feet.
For several weeks, R__ had been having problems thinking, and he had said things that either didn’t make sense or were completely out of line. The problems became worse, closer together, and lasting for longer periods of time. The middle of September, he zoned out or fell asleep in the middle of a word or action. He wouldn’t listen to reason, no matter who tried to talk him into seeking help. He didn’t understand the need.
Saturday, September 17, we were to go to one of our son’s homes to celebrate his and one of his son’s birthday, which had been during the week. R__ lay on the sofa, with his socks and shoes off, laying where I saw the bottom of his feet. The bottom of one was white with black spots.
“What’s wrong with your foot?” I nearly gasped, because it looked sickening.
“Nothing, just swollen. I took another water pill. The swelling will go down.”
“R__, this has nothing to do with edema. Look at the bottom of your left foot.” I wanted to shake him to get him to act.
He sat up and looked at the bottom of his foot. “Guess something is wrong. I’ll go to the doctor Monday.”
“You need to go to the ER - now!”
“I said I’d go to the doctor Monday, so leave me alone.” He lay back down.
I took a deep breath before suggesting he at least soak his foot. When he agreed, I filled the footbath with warm water and mild soap before carrying it to him. He soaked both feet for fifteen to twenty minutes. When he patted the bottom of his left foot, the layer of white skin came lose. A fine wire also came out. The foot still looked bad, oozing puss and a little blood.
“Let me take you to the emergency room,” I begged, but he refused, angrily and forcefully.
We went to our son’s, and our daughter-in-law noted how oddly he acted. She told me that he had even said something derogatory about our son in front of one of our grandsons a couple of weeks before - behavior completely out of character for a man so proud of his son and caring of his grandsons. I was even more concerned by the time we returned home, but he refused to take action.
I took my cell phone into the bathroom and called our other son, the one R__ would often listen to when he wouldn’t anyone else. I got his voice mail, but I explained the situation, asking him to call his dad. A few minutes later, the land phone rang. It was B__, wanting to talk with his dad. I could only hear my husband’s side of the conversation, including his great dissatisfaction with me, but B__ asked his dad to describe the foot to him.
After placing the phone on the sofa beside him, R__ removed his shoe and sock, which was filled with blood and puss, a large amount of both. He picked the receiver up. “Guess I’ll be going to the hospital,” he told our son.
Within minutes of arriving, cultures had been taken, tests run. A nurse came in the room with four huge hypos of antibiotics. He was admitted to the hospital, and antibiotics dripped into his arm from IVs. A staph infection had so invaded his system that even his mind was affected. He was septic, and the doctors could hardly believe he still lived.
A surgeon removed a large chunk of the bottom of his foot, leaving tendons revealed. We were told that he probably would still lose his foot, probably part of his leg. The doctor then transferred him to a speciality hospital, where attempts to save his foot, and his life, continued.
To make a two month-long story shorter, he spent two months hospitalized one place or the other. Special therapists worked with his foot, including placing a wound vac on it. When he finally was dismissed to return home in late November, home health care nurses came three times a week to dress the wound and check the vac.
Finally, after three and a half months, his foot is almost completely healed, only a small spot still remaining if one searches for it. Home health care dismissed him, and he still has his foot. God was good to him and to us.
My advice to all diabetics: Please check your feet. You may not be as fortunate as R__, and the results can be devastating. Needless to say, he checks his feet every day now.
Vivian Gilbert Zabel taught English, composition, and creative writing for twenty-five years, honing her skills as she studied and taught. She is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ ,which is a site for Writers, and her portfolio is http://www.Writing.Com/authors/vzabel. Her books, Hidden Lies and Other Stories and Walking the Earth, can be found through Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com.
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