Protein and Sugars in Wound Healing

The suture from my ankle surgery has been healing slowly and apparently fighting infection.

Though my orthopedic surgeon prescribes antibiotics initially as prevention right after the surgery, she added a new one after my first post-op exam culture indicated infection.

So she is addressing the infection, but hasn’t said a whole lot about the healing process, nor really addressed what I can do or should be doing to assist the process. I asked specifically if there is anything I can do in terms of diet and nutrition.

She said slow healing can be caused by sugar, but even though I am not diabetic I should “watch the sugars” because infections feed on that. Stick to fruits for sweets instead of sugary desserts but limit that too.

At the rehab center, I learned that building and maintaining strength is very important, but no one mentioned diet and nutrition for healing. I think there could be more information offered in that area because we do heal from the inside, and what we put in (and on) our bodies affects everything.

I am lucky that I have access to a visiting nurse (and PT/OTs), and so I threw that question out to her, as well as asked about covered wound healing vs. letting it air out to dry. She said that she could tell when her patients were eating more protein because wound healing was happening faster, and this she confirmed by asking them if they were getting more protein that week.

So today, that is my goal to increase protein intake (How much protein do I need?  Protein: 40-65 grams/day) and reduce sugars (taking into consideration the sugar/carb factor).

I’m also going to look at “lifestyle diet” changes, starting with The Mediterranean Diet. I think I could live off hummus and chips for at least one meal a day, and it’s so yummy and versatile!

I hear many excellent things about a plant-based diet, but a complete transition is not likely to happen anytime soon, where incorporating more plant-based meals might actually be more realistic for us, as a family (of two).

Tonight, tuna casserole for dinner (2017 Tuna Shopping Guide), easy on the noodles.


A Stranger at Home

It was strange coming home after almost a month away; 4 weeks + 1 day.  Once inside my home, I felt that the energy here was heavy, dense, or maybe devoid of energy and vitality. I felt like a stranger in this place that I once loved.

I was quite overwhelmed too because there were so many things that I needed to have done, that COULD and SHOULD have been done ahead of my arrival, and it was up to me to resolve it.

Things did get done eventually, but it was quite an emotional rollercoaster until I finally sunk in the too low couch for a nap. I pretty much knew I was going to be down until hub got home. As I lay there, it felt good to look out the window and see blue sky through familiar trees.

Adapting is a lot easier when things go smoothly and are unencumbered by things like casts, wheelchairs, commodes and tight spaces. But I am going to go to sleep in my own bed tonight, and I’m really looking forward to that.


Rehab Facility Discharge Plans

Well, discharging from TNWL is finally upon me. I am getting “sprung” tomorrow.

It is a little bit scary, but more than that, it is about time. We’ve done what we can here, strengthening my usable right side and learning how to transfer from bed to wheelchair to pot and back again.

My bed at home is on the high side, so there may be some problems initially with getting in that bed. Hopefully, we can remedy that in a timely manner. 🙂

Not sure how anything is going to go, but if nothing else, one learns how to adapt.

I’m extremely grateful that a friend of mine is going to be available to be with me Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. It’s actually going to help both Dan and myself quite a bit as she’ll cook, keep the house clean, do laundry, and walk the dog for 30 minutes at the end of the day plus feeding her before leaving for the day.

I may be asking another friend to come for a week while the main helper/friend goes to work for her mother.

On another note, I’m so sick of rehabs and hospitals that I may put off shoulder surgery until after the coming winter. I am probably going to need to some time to detox from all these pills, as well.

This whole experience overall has certainly given me much to think about. Not just for myself, but thinking about the people in care, about seniors in the system, and basically just witnessing how easy it is to spiral into depression and feelings of helplessness. Sadly, I saw one woman here in my area (each “area” is 12 beds) who slipped daily until one day she was just sitting at a meal, crying, refusing to eat, and the next day she was gone from her room. No one said a word about this frail bird woman, and all I know or can know is that she was taken from our area.

I’ll have more to say later, thinking about rehabs, elder care, and just how we care for one another in general. I’m still processing it all, but am still in the thick of it. It’s bizarre but I had a few moments of anxiety earlier today, thinking what if I was unable to leave after all, and I had to STAY here. On some level, I guess, my mind has equated this experience of dependency and feelings of helplessness as a sort of prison.

Anyway, I need to sign off to get out of this funk. Think about all the awesome tomorrows coming forth! And tomorrow, will learn to be an assistant cook from a wheelchair. 🙂

Yeah, this last 24 hours here is going to be easy, and if I need some sleep, I’ll do it! But shortly, a hot shower to wash it all off.

A Healing Atmosphere

I had my husband bring my essential oils and diffuser, a laughing Buddha, and a couple of plants that were gifted to me. I also have a few photos of family taped on the wall collage style, all of which personalizes my space here.

This past Saturday, I met a physical therapist who happened to be Buddhist she revealed later, and she said when she comes to my room she feels like saying, “Ahhhhhh”, a relaxing breath of relief and release. She liked my laughing Buddha, my plants, my bamboo diffuser, and especially liked the the blend I had diffusing. That day I had vetiver and a bit of geranium I think. It was a nice blend.

Yesterday, I diffused Myrrh with Frankincense. I go easy on the number of drops because of the small space of the room, and so far have had good luck with the ratio.

The night nurse commented on how it felt like a little sanctuary in here, and also recognized the scents as she uses essential oils as well.

That others are picking up on the intended energy of the space here tells me that we do create atmosphere around us, and others can pick up on it. I will try to be more conscious of the energy I surround myself with and what I am sending out, as well.

A Conscious Effort

It all starts upstairs.

I noticed today, that even if I am tired, my spirits are up. I know it has a lot to do what I fill my ears, eyes and mind with. When I was blue, I decided to turn off the tube and listen to upbeat jazz, audio books on YouTube that were positive, even letting it play softly in the background while resting, and last night, watching “feel good” movies.

Programmers say, “garbage in, garbage out”. That’s the truth!

Training the brain. It’s a conscious effort.

Equally important, shutting everything down to allow rest because this is when the body knits itself back to health.

Hanging in there ….

Friday Update

Had my first post op Doctor appointment today. I was Hoping to find out that some of the pain in my ankle and leg was because of the splint and that they would going fix it so it doesn’t hurt so much. I couldn’t tell if the pain was from the broken bone, the splint or both or what. On the night nurse end, she put in a request that the pain meds be administered on a regular schedule instead of “as needed”. Scheduled is much better because “as needed” had times when the nurse doesn’t get to my nurse call for almost an hour. I have been in tears, at times, from the aching and throbbing, as well as added frustration of the feeling of being ignored though hopefully, it’s not that.

The splint was painfully removed, X-rays taken, and a new “boot” fitted, and a couple things added: ultrasonic device that will be applied to my ankle to promote bone growth, and now I can shower (sans boot). Obviously still non-weight-bearing, continue antibiotic, and PT/OT.

Little Steps

With a broken left shoulder and my left ankle and foot in a cast nearly up to my knee, doctors orders for non weight bearing activity means confinement to the bed or wheelchair. No, it’s not an easy thing in body, mind or spirit. In terms of activity, everything is dependent on the assistance of at least one additional person, especially if the starting point is in bed.

Everything takes time, timing and planning. Just getting out of bed to try to use the bathroom is a good example. Do you go at it with or without panties and yoga pants? What happens after one get’s out of bed determines that. It is a work out either way, dressing in bed, transferring to the pot, getting unsuited, finishing your business, suiting up again, and then getting back to the chair. Thankfully, there are tools to help, in addition to the muscle needed from your own body or the aides. For example, transferring from bed to wheelchair is made easier by using a very smooth and sturdy board that bridges the space between bed and chair. Gravity helps if you raise the bed higher. For some reason though, getting back to the bed is more challenging. Go figure!

The next destination after getting out of bed to “hit the head”, is going to the PT/OT room, aka “the gym”. The exercises I am doing are specified to help me gain strength and ultimately more independence, here and specifically when I go back home.

Every effort to use and strengthen what I can is important, whether attempting to push myself down the hall with my good leg and foot or lifting 2 lb. Weights for 3 sets of 20.

“The Gym” itself is a pleasant, contemporary room, filled with state of the art exercise rehab equipment, basic resistance bands, ankle weights and hand-held weights, and other helping aides. As you enter the facility, your eyes are automatically drawn to the wall of tall, wide windows that then draw your eyes to the sky. The lower part of the windows are etched with undulating horizontal waves that span one end of the room to the other. It’s very soothing to look at. There are a couple of inspiring collages on 2 different walls as well, depicting active older adults. I find myself imagining that lifestyle and it compels me to push on to complete a 12 minute stint on a bicycle that has been adapted to one-legged-ability.

TNWL has daily community events here too. I haven’t been to any yet, but I am making a point to get out of the room for at least 2 meals, I had my husband take me outdoors for fresh air last night, and if I hadn’t needed a pain pill, I might have gone to a community church after dinner, just to be among people.

Each day is a step closer to getting better. Each moment is too actually, when an insight pops in to make progress possible.

And sometimes, it just means allowing sleep to come and to give that step its own momentum.


Fake It, Till You Make

I'm tired. Just need to get 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. No pain, no crying out for meds, no one coming to take blood before 8 a.m.

It's also a bit exhausting trying to be "upbeat" when i am not. My spouse and his family are going through so much with their dad's failing health, dealing with the business of death and dying, depressions… Tough stuff all around.

As the day moves on, so will I. But Disney can still kiss my bottom in the name of Moana!

Pish, tosh. I'm going to sleep.

Just Moi

New Facility – Sunday Morning

Funny thing. The new rehab facility I’m at has “neighborhoods” or more like named subdivisions. My area is named exactly after the facility I just left! Ironic, weird, whatever… I have no complaints after my first 20 hours.

I’m exhausted though. Maybe its the Percocet, maybe not. I need to stay positive whatever the case.

Weirdness: When I nod off, I have found myself slipping sideways. It’s like I wake up and then I’m standing and off to go do something. Then I wake up and find myself startled that I can’t leave my bed. Putting a positive spin on that, maybe it’s a view into the future and I’m going to be stronger and better than ever. 🙂

Well, a good, Sunday morning. Keep your chin up, and your cap down.

Going to go for a “good day”!

Post Script: I see Carlos Santana is jamming at a few locations in Michigan this week. Is it too much to ask the shaman to stop by and leave me a feather off his cap? 🙂

A Quiet Day, 24 Hours Post-op (Ankle)

Last night was incredibly rough, pain wise. In addition to Percocet, I was given injections of Dilaudin about every 2 hours on the average, until the night nurse suggested Percocet with the NSAID Toradol, which she got approved for one dose to see how I responded. It was a great combination and around 3-4 a.m., I was finally able to sleep longer than 2 hours without waking and crying in pain.

PT visited and helped me into a chair. I didn’t know they were going to leave me there until I called the aide or nurse for help. However, it was nice to get up out of the bed for a bit, though a walk in the sunshine might have been nice.

The orthopedic surgeon said I could have been discharged today, but I needed to know that I wasn’t going to be in excruciating pain like last night. I remain here one more night and tomorrow go to the new facility that was named The Sanctuary. Not sure why the name was changed to something more corporate, even though they are “non profit”. The holistically-minded approach to care certainly suits the prior name of The Sanctuary. I’m looking forward to going there, anyway. So that is scheduled for Saturday, though I do not know what time yet.

And finally, it is noted that healing came quickly as I recovered from Chiari Decompression surgery. My son and I were talking about. And now, I think it is quite possible that I will recover from this ankle issue in record time, though I will surely follow PT / OT instructions to strengthen and tone up everything and not get out there and jump rope anytime soon! 😀

Last IV dose of the Toradol about 45 minutes ago. Percocet in just over an hour, awake or asleep; pain management.

The husband popped in for all of 5 minutes today. He’s fairly scarce these days; lot’s going on in his family and his own mental health. I think he needs to do what he needs to do. It sucks sometimes because he’s not coming around much. However, I know that I am not alone and that has made all the difference in the world. (Muah!)

For Family who are never far:

Starting to nod again, meaning time to sign off.