Thursday, July 30, 2015

Post-Discharge Appointment

So back to Harborview we went yesterday for Bob's first Burn Clinic (out-patient) appointment. Cathryn felt mild PTSD being back, every place we walked bringing up difficult memories, but Bob felt his 12 days there were a blur, he mostly saw the inside of a hospital room and was on narcotics anyway, so was unfazed by returning.

Doctors and Nurses handed out all good news! Bob will not need skin graft surgery. He only needed Tylenol. no narcotics, to handle the 2-hour bandage removal and peeling/scrubbing crusty dead skin procedure. His wounds have made remarkable progress in the 8 days since we last saw them, and almost all has "healed", meaning tender new skin has grown in. One place, about 6 inches long on his left calf, hasn't fully healed and is still raw and bleeding. That was bandaged up and treated with silver and topical antibiotics, but the rest of his appendages (both forearms and hands, left hip, and most of left leg and foot) are now left un-bandaged. Liberal use of moisturizers on the new skin, and tubular compression wraps to reduce swelling, support the new skin and vascularity, and protect the new skin from sun, bumps, scratches and other damage is the extent of it.

Bob can take regular showers again, and we'll change the bandage on his calf daily, probably for two more weeks until it heals. He'll continue to wear the tubular compression wraps for a month, until the next out-patient appointment. We're to email photos of the calf wound to Dr. Mandell two weeks from now, and as long as things continue so well, that's it. Can you believe it? We can't!

We made the two-hour drive home in rush hour traffic feeling surprised and elated by how quickly things went from "desperate" to "it's over". And of course, it's not "over". We were told it will be at least a year before Bob's new skin will be fully healed, toughened up and a normal color like the rest of his skin. Discomfort interfered with his sleep last night, and he's back on Tylenol. But to think it's 3 weeks today since The Terrible Day, and now he's mostly healed, we're home, and he can do normal activities as long as they don't hurt and he has the energy. Isn't the human body and modern medicine incredible???

We remain eternally grateful for the fabulous help we got, and continue to get, from family members and nearby friends, and the love,  emotional support, emails, cards, text messages and prayers from our larger circle of friends spread over the U.S. and Canada. We are so fortunate!

On returning home, we found friend and neighbor Josi had put dinner in the oven for us, complete with wine, crackers and cheese while dinner cooked, The weather meant we could sit out side, quietly by ourselves, and enjoy it.

We expect this to be the last blog post/FOB update. From here forward it's just a long slog as we do what needs to be done to finish the healing.

The blog will resume when we return to a norma life and continue our boating and travel. We still need to get "Next To Me" home, and after yesterday's good news are at least entertaining the idea of doing it ourselves in a few weeks. We'll have to see how the routine wound treatment goes.The idea of reclaiming the last few weeks of our originally planned summer cruise is intriguing. Stay tuned.

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