I always thought Paul should have been a Police Officer. Those that know the old Paul well should be laughing hysterically at that admission. But my husband was a backseat driver and wouldn’t hesitate to let me know if I was going even a single kilometre over the speed limit. It got worse as he got older and I was torn between just letting him drive my car or risk going to prison for murder (divorce is too messy.) Many people were surprised when told that Paul was a stickler for the road rules. His inner road rage monster was sensitive and opinionated. Don’t drive faster and overtake him, you would cop a earful of expletives and some unsightly hand gestures from the safety of inside the car with the windows up. “Who cares, if they get pulled over it is their problem,” I would dare to tell him…if I was feeling brash or impetuous enough to endure the barrage of words exploding from his mouth. But safety was his priority so I couldn’t get too mad at him…even though I did anyway…..just because it made him even more mad (hehehe). So you could understand my dismay and frustration when I heard that he didn’t have his protective gear on when he had his motorbike accident. Of course he was wearing his helmet, but he was only going down the road to get his lunch. Why would he need those six hundred dollar Kevlar jeans and that five hundred dollar motorcycle jacket he begged me for? Apparently, when you are going just down the road to grab some lunch on your motorbike, you don’t need all that protective gear.
As Paul and his bike ricochet off the truck that day and slid fifty metres away, a delightful skin abrasion appeared on the side of his left calf and would make itself comfortable for a long, long time. During the first couple of months in hospital, the wound was well looked after- cleaned and dressed daily with signs of improvement. Paul went on to rehab and it was no surprise that the threat of infection continued to loom over him. We made so many trips back to the Intensive Care Unit, it seemed like we were meeting with old friends regularly and catching up every couple of months. I was even on a first name basis with the the Croatian lady who cleaned his room in ICU. I wonder how her daughter is going after baby number 3 and all the complications that followed that pregnancy.
Every Monday afternoon, the trio of rehab doctors would come around to Paul’s room. Sometimes I think they left Paul until the very last, on purpose, going around the entire hospital before the dreaded last stop- that damn leg wound that just refused to heal. I couldn’t understand how 3 doctors and 2 wound consultants couldn’t seem to stop this giant thing on his leg from constantly being infected. After a while, even the infinite number of antibiotics he tried, didn’t want to party with us anymore. It hindered surgery for his leg- unable to be casted thus causing further contractures in his foot. I was approaching the end of my tether but I lacked the confidence to go up against all these medical professionals who were trying to do everything they knew to get rid of this nuisance wound.
I researched, asked questions, I even turned to a family member in the medical industry who suggested a wonderful silver-based product. It took some convincing but I figured the doctors and the consultants had nothing to lose. The wound started to heal. It actually started to look like it was packing its bags and disappearing into the abyss. But the funny thing about infection is…. it didn’t want to let go. So he came back. Now I was pissed. I noticed the nursing staff weren’t even following the written directions for the wound dressing. I guess there was enough steam coming out of my ears that there was a sea of nodding heads when I demanded to dress the wound myself everyday. So I did.
Then one day, a lovely senior member of the nursing team in rehab quietly suggested I turn to the insurance coordinator that was looking after Paul and funding his treatment. “Lifetime Care have clinicians who work for them and are independent to the hospital. Ask them for help.” Okay, thanks for the information! A wound specialist was arranged very quickly. Next thing you know, Jo shows up, cleans up the mess of Paul’s leg and tells me “the only way to heal a wound like this is you have to attack it from the inside and out!” Paul was introduced to some vitamins, amino acids, acetic acid and some top of the range dressings. Three months later, Paul was ready for the proverbial catwalk. I don’t think bringing in an outsider sat too well with the rehab doctors (bit of a blow to the ‘ole ego). The results spoke for themselves.
To date, Jo, Mel and their wonderful team continue to be vital members of Paul’s care team. I am grateful to ALL of the medical professionals who looked after Paul. The whole journey with Paul’s leg wound taught me that sometimes, doctors don’t know everything, hospitals really are breeding grounds for infection and if you pray hard enough, God will send you the right angels for the job.