13 March 2013

Resilient little old lady

Last week I posted before and after photos of one of my elderly clients on Facebook and it generated a lot of interest.  I've been seeing J for a couple of years.  Her GP asked me to go to her house to help her with her lymphoedema after she suffered a stroke.  When I first started working with her she was pretty much bedridden with nurses coming each day to check up on her.  In fact, there was a system - you'd ring the door bell then let yourself into the unit with a key hidden in a plant pot, putting the key back for the next person.  I'd spend an hour clearing her legs, helping to reduce the swelling.  As well as lymphoedema she had arthritis in her knees and restless legs.  I was stunned that she was allowed to live on her own at this stage, so soon after a stroke.  Boy, did she put those fears to rest.  She is one strong cookie and each week she got stronger and within a few months she was up and walking (with a walker).  She's achieved this with the help of neighbours in particular, who check up on her daily, running her to doctor's appointments, doing shopping for her and even brining her freshly made coffee in the mornings.  There are some amazing angels in our lives, quite often they are not blood relatives but the friends we've gathered around us.

A few weeks ago i noticed that an old wound was weeping and I suggested she put Betadine on it - this is something I learned when volunteering at Manly Waters Hospital.  She said she she'd put pawpaw ointment on it and I explained that the ointment would cause the wound to weep more, put Betadine.  I avoided the area as it was red and painful and the leg was swollen.  The following week I noticed the wound and swelling was worse.  I asked if she had put the Betadine and she looked puzzled and said she'd put pawpaw ointment.  This raised alarm bells for me.  J's memory has always been sharp, even at 87.

ImageI knew she was seeing her GP the next day so I called and mentioned my concerns about infection and memory.  She was scheduled to have her thyroid out the following week so it was important she had any infection under control.  She was put on antibiotics the next day when she went to the GP, had her surgery the next week and I treated her the following two weeks.  And here's her improvement - not bad for an 87 year old!  Just shows how amazing the body is when given the right conditions to heal.  She's now considering buying a new motorised scooter so she can get herself around the neighbourhood and not be beholden to others.  At 87!  Champion.

2020 Update: I continued to see J weekly for eight years, until she passed away in December 2019. Rest In Peace

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