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Thread: Dealing with an open wound at home?

  1. #1
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Dealing with an open wound at home?

    A couple months ago I showed my dermatologist a spot on my lower leg. I'd had it checked before and it said it was fine. But it changed color, so I saw him again. He took a biopsy and it was a melanoma in Situ....which is the earliest form of a very serious skin cancer. He referred me to a plastic surgeon about 30 miles from home. I went to him and because of the location on the lower leg, above the ankle, he said that it is common that it just doesn't have enough circulation to heal well. And the area was too large to suture shut.

    He said I'd need a split-thickness graft over it. So I had surgery (general anesthesia), was put in a metal boot and couldn't move it for a week. I had to buy or rent various things during that time (scooter, walker, bed side commode). I did the very best I could. I returned in 1 week and only saw his nurse who removed the splint and dressing (of many staples, holding rubber bands across the pressure dressing). She said it looked good. I was to apply Silvadene daily and return in 1 week.

    I saw the surgeon then and he said it didn't look good, but was a little hopeful. He said to stop the silvadene and apply sterile saline to gauze, covered with dry gauze and an ace bandage. I did this 3 times a day and it continued to never change......looking obviously like it had dead tissue over the wound (eschar). I saw him 2 weeks later and he said the graft had failed and I needed another one.......which may or may not work. This guy doesn't have the greatest bedside manner, but he's supposedly an excellent plastic surgeon and is one of the most knowledgeable melanoma people in the state.

    But.....his nurse came into the room one visit without a mask and I had to tell her to put one one. At each visit the doc lowers his mask below his nose and mouth. DH has to remind him to pull the damned thing up.

    The education they give me about wound care is lacking. I think I'm doing an excellent job of taking care of it though.

    So.......at my last visit, I told him I'd go ahead with the re-do. The doc warned me we should get in ASAP, as the covid deaths in this state have topped 8,500 today and he thinks the surgery center will close soon. So.......they were to call me 3 days ago and haven't yet. Yes, I was going to call them, but I have this gut feeling that this isn't what I want to do again.

    If they call for a surgery date, I think I will put it off until early January. Around xmas, there's too much I want to do, and at least the cancer is gone.

    I don't have a lot of confidence in some medical people, and maybe that's my problem. But I just get the feeling I will repeat this and have the same low chance of it not working again. I don't care what it looks like when it's all healed.

    So......anyone here have anything similar and have any of you treated a large open wound at home yourself? This wound is about 2"x1 and 3/4" round and about 1/4" deep.

    I am not diabetic, I eat healthily. I would truly like to nurse this wound back to health myself.

    I've researched some stuff online, but can't find much for do-it-yourself large wound care. I see it 3 times a day and would know if it gets infected. I'm a retired critical care nurse.

    I appreciate any useful advice you can give me about your experience with something similar.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    Cathy, I am so sorry you are having so much trouble with this. I would probably get a second opinion.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Thanks Terry. I guess since my dermatologist (who I really like and trust), built up this surgeon so much, I felt hesitant to think anyone else would do better. But......your suggestion is a good one. I don't think waiting a couple weeks, to get through the holidays without being flat on my back will hurt much. So I'll be researching another doc in that time. Also, there are Wound Care places and doctors who would be reasonable to see. Thanks Terry.

  4. #4
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Any home remedies I might recommend, I wouldn't recommend for a wound that large. That needs professional care imo.

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    Sorry to hear about this. I agree that pro care is called for. I'm not a doc and can't recommend anything, but if it were me and I were at home alone with no immediate better option, I would try Boiron Calendula Gel from a health food store. It has alcohol and will burn, but I've seen it work well for bloody skin wounds that were slow to heal. This was for an elderly relative I suggested it to after some nurses put Vaseline on it and sent him home, which was useless. Again, not giving advice, just sharing what has helped me and a loved one.

  6. #6
    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    Cathy, I feel/hear your frustration. I, too, recommend another opinion.
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

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    Cathy, first, I am so sorry you are going through this. Like Terry, I would say get another opinion, and actually, I would go to the wound care center and not back to the plastic surgeon.

    I have read about using sugar to heal open wounds but have never tried it. This is an article about a study that tried using honey vs sugar and found honey better:

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17708384/

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    I have used "People's Paste" when I cut a chunk of my thumb while carving a turkey. It worked very well and there is no scar. I don't know how it would work in an area that was too large to suture shut???

  9. #9
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    Cathy:

    I trust that the Wound Care places you mentioned would have a physician to examine your wound and treat it effectively. IMHO the sooner, the better.
    They may have recommendations for home care measures you can take to encourage healing.

    If I were in your situation, I would ask the MD what dressings they recommend, and do they recommend elevation?

    To your healing and wholeness!

  10. #10
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    Iíve seen some really nasty wounds in our psychiatric patients, as many times they were homeless and psychotic and the wounds had no care for weeks because of their mental state. My favorite consult was to our wound nurses. They knew so much.

    My cynical heart says the surgeon does surgery, so he recommends more surgery. I would ask the wound nurses. Especially since the cancer is gone, itís not infected, and you donít care if thereís a big scar afterward.

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