Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, February 8, 2013


Here's the latest update on Kitty.

When last we left our intrepid heroine, the wound center had ordered a wound-vac for Kitty.  This is a vacuum cleaner device that is used to speed up healing.  The device was delivered to our door last Thursday.  About twenty minutes later a nurse showed up to install it.  Turns out this was a brand that was unfamiliar to the nurse.   (We live about a hundred miles from Baltimore, where the wound center had ordered the device; the home health service in our county typically uses a different device from a different supplier.  Who knew that wound-vacs seldom cross county lines?)

The wound-vac itself is a small device -- about the size of a smallish purse -- and weighs just a few pounds, just enough to make it awkward to carry, especially if one has to use a walker as Kitty still does.  Long, thin tubing connects the device to the wound; the wound is cleaned and packed and the tubing is attached by taped to the surface of the wound.  The wound-vac is battery operated and rechargable.  The tubing is six or seven feet long, so you have to be careful you don't trip over it as you walk.

All well and good.

For about half an hour.

Just after the nurse had left, we had to leave to pick Erin and Gabby up at the bus stop.  Kitty began to feel uncomfortable, and then much more so.  She told me that it was beginning to hurt. I asked her if it was discomfort or pain.  "PAIN!"  So we removed the device and later called the home health service to report what had happened.  We were told that she should not have had pain and that we were correct in removing the device.  So Kitty went back to treating and packing the wound as before.

Last Tuesday, it was back to the wound center, where the wound was once again debrided (ouchie-ouchie) and cleaned.  The wound-vac was inspected and it turned out that the pressure on the machine was set at over three times the preferred setting.  One nurse explained to us that the setting it was on was the "O sweet baby Jesus!" setting -- I don't think she was being religious.  The wound vac was reinstalled on a deservedly apprehensive wife and the proper setting was locked.

Two other things about this particular wound clinic visit:   1) The wound continues to heal, although more slowly than if she had been able to continue using the wound-vac.  2) Kitty's appetite had been way off since her injury and a blood test showed that she was malnourished.  She had been making an effort to eat a balanced diet but that evidently was not enough.  She need a lot of protein while she is healing, and we are loading up on protein shakes and trying to get more food into her.  (It also turns out that a large number of people who eat far more than she has been eating are also malnourished -- an effect of the typical American diet.  Thank you, Mickey-D's.)

The nurse came by yesterday to change the wound-vac dressing.  Turns out that she had set the pressure at the proper setting but somehow did not lock the setting.  The controls on the machine are sensitive and the slightest brush can change the settings, eventual reaching the "O sweet baby Jesus" setting.  That problem solved.  The wound still throbs and I fear that problem will be with us for a while.  The nurse will be back on Saturday, and then on Tuesday it's back to the wound center.  (The dressing should be changed three times a week:  on Tuesdays by the wound center, and on Thursdays and Saturdays by the home health nurse.  However, the home health agency has told me that because of staffing problems they won't be able to do Saturdays beyond this week.  Minor glitch.  We work out something.)

So things are going swimmingly.  Kitty continues to heal.  Christina has told us that she has three weeks to heal because that's when soccer starts for the season and Kitty and I have to shuttle three kids to three different practices.  Kitty is grumbling about the awkwardness of hauling the wound-vac around.  Kitty is taking in lots of protein.  Pain medicine is good -- Kitty still has to change the dressings on two smaller wounds daily, and it hurts.  The groundhog said that spring will come early and The Walking Dead starts again on Sunday.

God's in His heaven and, O sweet baby Jesus, all's right with the world.


  1. Some of this is very familiar, but I'm not sure I'm sorry I didn't have the hint of a "wound vaccuum" to work wear it, regularly?

    1. She's supposed to wear it 24-7. She's really happy about it ;-p

  2. "Kitty continues to heal." That's the magic line. And I hope the "wound vacuum" stays locked. Devices can have a mind of their own.