The Upshot: In Which We Learn The Fate Of The Foot
Today at our weekly visit to the wound clinic, we saw Dr. Segrest, (a partner with our vascular surgeon, Dr. Brink) who examined the integra on mother’s foot to see how it was progressing toward the goal of a skin graft. The past week has been one of physical pain (continuing to feel the residual effects of the tendon removal), and not a little dread for mother as she anticipated what she might learn today.
After all the dressings were removed and it was cleaned and photographed (as they do every week to evaluate differences over time) he observed that the formation of new tissue beneath the silicone was not as advanced as he would like to see at this stage, especially considering that this is the second attempt with the integra. He therefore presented, as a final option in the quest to save the foot, a month of hyperbaric oxygen treatments. This would involve a commitment of, he said, a couple of hours per day, five days a week. Obviously, however, such a time commitment would be more than repaid by a successful outcome in healing the foot.
The first step in determining whether to go forward with this treatment plan was for mother to undergo a test to see if she was a good candidate for this form of treatment. They were able to get her in immediately for the test, so they whisked her away, and Megan and I went to bide our time amidst the teeming masses congregated in the waiting area. One thing about being amidst the teeming masses is that you cannot help but overhear other people’s conversations. Especially if they are unaware of their volume, as was a lady behind us, who gave us (along with her companions – and everyone else in the room) quite an education in what exactly is involved in the hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Two pertinent facts we learned from her were these: that the time commitment is closer to 6 hours per day, when all is said and done; and, that the treatments apparently have a negative effect on one’s vision (if her experience could be extrapolated) which purportedly returns to normal a few weeks after treatment is completed.
Finally about an hour after they took her back, she was finished with the test and we were called to the room to discuss the findings with Dr. Segrest. The test involved attaching sensors to her foot and leg and measuring how much oxygen was getting to that area. The results, he told us after we sat down, indicated that mother is not a candidate for this treatment plan. Despite the heroic efforts of Dr. Brink in performing a complex, “Hail Mary” bypass surgery in hopes of restoring blood flow to that tiny artery in the foot, the bypass has ultimately failed. The blood flow is so diminished that the prognosis is that the foot simply will not heal, no matter what we do. We are now at the point of acknowledging that amputation will be necessary.
We’ve been trying to prepare ourselves for this outcome, but it is still a hard thing to hear. As we loaded into the van to go home, I surmised that if there was ever a day when my mother needed a treat, it was today. We stopped on the way home and got drinks and a doughnut!
We will go back next week and visit with both Dr. Brink and a prosthetics specialist who will give us some information about options, and I’m guessing that we will figure out a time frame for the surgery at that point. Therefore, as you go about your day, I would like to ask you to pray especially for my dear mother, when the image at the top of this post is brought to mind – that she might receive grace and strength through the power of the Holy Spirit, and that her joy will ever be in Christ her Savior.
- Time to Celebrate!
Annette. I most certainly will keep your cute mom in my prayers. I wonder f the projected future will be perhaps less difficult than what mom as gone thru up to this point. Give mom a hug from me
Thank you so much, Suzan! Your care and prayers mean the world!! <3