Thursday, March 29, 2012

Things Happen for a Reason

I posted the next blog (Bury Piggy Under the Apple Tree) because I wanted to show how thing happen for a reason in your life. Poor Piggy died because maggots crawled up inside his body and hatched. It was a very strange thing to happen to an animal, I thought, but it taught me a lesson that served me well later.

I took care of my dad for 2 1/2 years before he died. They had given him about 10 days to live when I took him home. He had two bedsores when I took him home from the hospital that I worked diligently to clear up. At least one of them I did. The one on his rear was tended to several times a day for months until it finally cleared up. However the one on the his heel I was instructed to leave alone.

I thought this was strange but I did what I was told. (turns out there is a kind of bedsore that is best left alone, I have seen them since) However whenever we had a visit from the home nurse or I took him to ANY doctor I would ask about it. I was told every single time to leave it alone or to let them know if I saw signs of infection.

When I noticed signs of infection I called his home nurse and the his doctor to leave a message and I was still instructed to leave it alone. Then one day I looked down at his foot and I saw a fly there. Next to the fly was a little white speck. My heart sunk. I knew exactly what I was looking at. A fly had lain eggs on my dad's bedsore! I also knew, because of Piggy, that this was an emergency medical situation.

I loaded my dad up and took him to the VA hospital 2 hours away. This was over my uncles objections because they were supposed to have a poker game with my dad that night. They thought I was being overly protective but I took my dad to the hospital anyway. I went into the outpatient clinic with him and when they opened the wound what I saw sickened me. There were no little white specks of maggot eggs in the wound. THERE WERE FULL GROWN WRITHING, SQUIRMING MAGGOTS LIVING IN THE WOUND! It was the one of the most disgusting things I had ever seen.

They immediately called the Podiatrist that was on call for the emergency room. He came out and when he saw it he said he had never seen such a thing. He debated for a few minutes as to whether to actually leave them in the wound because he said there was one theory that they would eat the dead tissue and actually promote healing. He wanted to know how I knew that the maggots were in there so I told him about Piggy and how I had seen the little white speck on the outside of the wound. I also told him and anybody that would listen that the doctors had told me to leave the wound alone that cleaning it would actually hamper the healing process.

He told me that "yes, I had done what I was supposed to by not cleaning it". He also told me that my vigilance had paid off because there is no telling how much damage those maggots would have done to my dad if left unchecked. He cleaned out the wound and gave me a whole new treatment regimen. I spent the next 2 1/2 years cleaning that wound sometimes 3 times a day. Occasionally it would be on the verge of being healed but it never quite got there. Once we started seeing the podiatrist on a regular basis he actually apologized to me in a round about way. He couldn't admit that they had let my dad slip under the radar but he very nicely told me that "maybe we didn't do all we could for him in the beginning."

They did spend the next few years taking extraordinary measures to save his one remaining foot. It was hard enough taking care of my dad. (he was a total care patient with a MRSA infection) without the added burden of someone so weak trying to function without any feet. That one foot made all the difference when doing transfers from the bed to the wheelchair and back.

When I went home from the emergency room that night and informed my uncles of what was wrong I could see the disappointment and blame in their eyes. Also a later dates both my grandma and one of my aunts went out of their way to berate me for what they saw as the pitiful treatment of my dad. There was no defense in their eyes for my dad having maggots in that wound.

I did my best with him in every situation. I told him once that I may do things that would hurt him but never intentionally. I told him I would do my best no matter what and that is exactly what I did.

No comments: