Patients need 'patience' with open wounds
On Mother's Day, 2015, Elaine Richards was in a hurry, loading up the car to head to the family's Camp Douglas cabin, when she bumped her shin on the car door.
"I was runnin' around trying to get things packed—you know how us ladies are," says the 85-year-old Wyeville resident. "I just went to shut the door and it must have scraped me. I wasn't cut or bleeding, but it was sore."
By the time Elaine reached her cabin, the "bump" was a welt. Within days, the welt was the size of two golf balls. It was time to go see Timothy Minus, MD, general surgeon at Gundersen Tomah Clinic.
Timothy Minus, MD
What was a bump became a very stubborn open wound, Dr. Minus explains. Fortunately for Elaine, Dr. Minus and the Tomah Clinic are near her home. That includes the wound expertise of Brad Maurhoff, PA-C, who Dr. Minus said was instrumental in Elaine's healing.
Her wound needed daily, and eventually weekly, care and redressing for more than a year. Thankfully, Elaine didn't have to spend half a day in the car traveling back and forth from La Crosse for her care.
"Dr. Minus is just a wonderful man," says Elaine. "He was just so kind, so gentle. Every time he needed to do something with my leg he would look up and ask, 'does this hurt?'" He has the kindest eyes!"
Today, Elaine is healed, thanks to Dr. Minus and Gundersen Tomah Clinic.
According to Dr. Minus, wound care takes patience, understanding of a patient's needs and goals, and sometimes prolonged care, especially when complicated by factors such as medications and age.
So what can you do? Dr. Minus says:
- Follow your doctor's recommendations.
- Keep your wound covered to protect against dirt and bacteria.
- Keep the dressing dry.
- Change dressings as instructed.
- Clean your wound with a mild soap and water. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or over-the-counter antiseptic, antibiotic ointment or antibacterial soap unless instructed by your doctor.
- Eat nutritious foods for healthy skin and healing properties.
"If you're not seeing results, but instead see signs of infections, redness, swelling, a fever, discharge or increased heat or tenderness—come see us right away," says
Dr. Minus. "When wounds don't heal, this is a major health concern that we consider dangerous."