The Heel That Won’t Heal

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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The dull throbbing always hits a crescendo “in the wee small hours,” as Mr. Sinatra — or rather his songwriters — so aptly put it.

I’m referring to a wound that’s been with me for over a year now. True, it disappeared for a teeny while, when my heel was supposedly healed. But it took just one scrape to open back up the hellscape beneath. Because I have no control over my right leg, if the wound decides to play silly buggers, there’s little I can do about it.

It returned with all the fury of a spurned lover transmogrified into a twisted stalker! Last night, my wife, Jane, had to change the bandage yet again. The wound is located in a a truly appalling place to get at — except when I’m floating in the air via my hoist, which is now the only way I can be put to bed.

The ordure didn’t just waft upward, it smashed into all of our noses like a feral MMA fighter. The practice nurses, whom I see almost weekly, claim this is all healthy. The last time I smelled anything that bad was the abrasive nightly tincture of New York’s Lower East Side in the 1980s, or the all-enveloping, dusky, fetid air of Mumbai.

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The wound initially put me in the hospital a year ago with cellulitis for 10 days. The slow repair of wounds was one of those oft-reported symptoms of MS, such as fatigue or brain fog, that were accepted by experience rather than hard science. Wounds do take longer to heal because of our MS and indeed become something of a maw.

It was during a recent visit to the nurses that some spurious, yet as it turned out highly apposite, medical knowledge surfaced from the center of my brain, like photons from the sun, which take an awful long time after being produced to land on our beach-ready bodies. (Although even my mind works a tad faster than the sun’s photons, which take thousands of years just to reach its surface.)

I’ve always been interested in science despite a complete absence of any mathematical ability whatsoever. Having managed to get through an undergraduate education, I’m well aware of what I don’t know — especially about the subjects I actually studied.

Medical matters fall into the category of passing intellectual interest only. However, anyone who has a critical illness is thrust into an immediate ad hoc crash course in self-education. So I now possess loads of disparate information, like the fact that great leaps have been made in helping burn victims, including something about the ability to provide a lattice to help skin regrow. Surely something like that might help me?

My nurse thought so, too, and said she’d try to refer me to the tissue viability service, which provides specialist advice and support to healthcare workers managing complex wounds in the U.K. Cross-connection between medical disciplines is perhaps the one thing we as patients can do. Often the medical professionals do this for us, but sometimes we can suggest it ourselves.

I’m going back in an hour and am now armed with research from the service, which seems to have dozens of suggested therapies for various wounds.

For this, I get to report in real time, which is rather unusual for us weekly columnists. Please continue to watch this space.


And we’re back!

As it happens, my nurse hadn’t referred me to the burn specialists yet. But as soon as I blurted out “tissue viability service,” she was right on board. Wounds that last a year or more are definitely in their territory. They also handily visit my clinic every Thursday, which is convenient.

Jane drives me everywhere in our “A-Team” van, so I feel it behooves me to sign off — albeit sans cigar — with an “I love it when a plan comes together!”

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Steve Hards avatar

Steve Hards

Hi John, I really hope the tissue viability service comes through for you but I have a 'left field' suggestion you might like to consider... The Netherlands-based Gladskin company produces various creams and gels for eczema and other skin problems that contains an enzyme that "kills only staphylococcus aureus, a bacterial species that is known to aggravate inflammation" (from their website). I first saw it on BBC Two's 'Trust Me I'm a Doctor' and use it occasionally to stop my eczema itching. Their products are not pitched at wound healing but given the nasty effects S. aureus can have on a variety of skin problems (see its Wikipedia entry!) a trial might be worth a punt?

John Connor avatar

John Connor

Ta mate. I watch that prog too. I've actually been through eczema & come out on the other side. You're right to look at all scientifically backed areas. It's something that I've continuously done and have been proved occasionally right.


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