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Thursday, July 20, 2017

(3) YOU COULD HAVE ENDED UP WITH YOUR LEG AMPUTATED.

8-29-13
     My eyesight is failing along with everything else in this 92-year old carcass, hence the large print.  A new medical mishap has occurred – not a serious one but one with a troubling aftermath.
     A few weeks ago I was standing outside my car in the Weymouthport garage with the walker I got out of the trunk.  I had bought two half-gallons of milk and when I placed the second one on the walker's tray, it tipped over and one of the milk cartons struck my leg.  Blood began flowing profusely.  A neighbor who saw the accident called 911 and I was taken to Quincy Hospital’s emergency room. The wound was treated and bandaged and a taxi summoned for my trip back to Weymouthport.
     I changed the dressing daily for the next two months.  The wound was almost healed when something unfortunate happened.  I was carefully removing the paper tape one Saturday morning when the injury began bleeding again.  Concerned, I decided to go to the Cohasset facility where I had my semi-annual checkups.  My nurse-practitioner wasn’t there , so the doctor in charge looked at the new wound.
     Several years ago Dr. Golden had looked at a wound that I thought was sufficiently healed to cover with a Band-Aid.  It did have a small pus-filled hole. He said, “If you hadn’t come here with this infection, you could have ended up in a hospital, having your leg amputated.”
     Now I explained to the doctor that this new wound was almost totally healed when it began bleeding again.  He said irritably that there was absolutely nothing wrong; the wound was healing just fine.  It was clear he felt that I had wasted his time for no good reason.
     For the next day or two I continued to put a gauze dressing on the wound, held down with paper tape.  The bleeding continued.  When a small new wound appeared, a thought came to me.  I searched the words “paper tape can cause rips in old, fragile skin.” Bingo!
     I switched to using Nexcare First Aid Tape and two weeks later both the original wound and the smaller one caused by the paper tape were healed at last. I saved the bloodstained non-stick pads, which documented this gradual process, in order to show them to nurse-practitioner Patti.  When I asked son Tim to photograph the series, he said I’d be regarded as demented but took a picture to humor me.*  
     I can now read print even tinier than this but my lazy left eye is looking at my nose. If you imagine this wouldn't bother me at almost 93, you'd be wrong.  I'm hiding behind lavender-tinted glasses, like an ancient, still-hanging-in-there movie actress.

*  "What is this?"  Tim's Kathy asked when she was helping me move to Linden Ponds.  It took me a while to remember.  This was one of several photos that featured black blotches on plain white backgrounds.  My demented documentation.

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