Keeping an eye out for Pressure Sores

Posted by Amber Collie in Life After Paralysis on November 12, 2020 # Health

I can remember the doctors and nurses freaking us out about pressure sores when my son Zack was first injured and in the hospital! At times bringing in a poster board with photos of the different level pressure sores, those images are stuck in my head, and I am sure that was the point. My son has been injured for a decade now since he was 15. He became a C-4 incomplete quadriplegic after hitting a sandbar diving into an ocean wave. We spent three months in the hospital overwhelmed and overloaded with information, trying to absorb the new reality.Zack Collie

Nevertheless, I haven’t forgotten those photos. When we first came home, we had a hospital bed. This type of bed was filled with air and moved on occasion, so even though Zack was in bed in the same position, the air underneath him moved. After a while, he no longer wanted a hospital bed, so we found a thick, firm memory foam mattress, and it manually turned him throughout the night. I got worried quickly. The lack of sleep he was getting was not good for anyone. Zack eventually learned to sleep through the night, yes, in the same position, but we make sure Zack gets up and into his wheelchair daily. Throughout the day, he gets adjusted and does pressure relief small movements. We have learned that a good seat cushion is a MUST. It is worth investing in. We have had great luck with the Roho seat cushion. It is filled with air. We have used the two and 4-inch sizes. We have also used cushions that are half memory foam and half Roho (air) style.

I now understand why the hospital makes such a fuss about pressure sores. They are NOT something to take lightly, and you do not want to get one. Once the skin breaks down, it is VERY hard to heal, especially since you are sitting in that area daily. It is important to get off the area to heal, which means lying on your stomach. There have been folks who sadly have had to stay in bed on the stomach for months! No one wants to have to do that! People who have had the same sore heel and reopen for years, ugh!

The pressure sore can start from the inside. They can go deep to the bone. The first sign could be any red spots. You will need to get off that area and find a medication. We have used the DuoDerm ultra-slim medicated pads. You wear them for about a week at a time. There are other brands out there. I think it’s good to have them on hand. That way, you can put one on immediately if needed. We check Zack’s body by looking for any pink or red spots where you can tell there has been pressure build-up from sitting on that exact spot for too long. Moving around in your chair slightly throughout the day can seriously decrease the odds of getting one. Or have a caregiver adjust you if possible. The last thing you need as a paralyzed person is to end up in bed until the dang thing heals!

This information does not need to freak you out. You just need to be mindful. We usually check Zack when he is in bed. We roll him side to side and make sure there are no red spots forming. It is very hard if you have little or no feeling, so please speak up, ask your caregiver to look for you. This is not the most exciting topic but felt well worth talking about because pressure sores are preventable with proper care. I hope you all can find the help you need.

Please Stay Safe, Stay Grateful, and check your backside!

My life has had many parts, I could write a book just on that section but let's fast forward to when I married Adron Collie. Two weeks after turning 20 (yes, very young!) I had Zackery at age 22, Levi at 24, six years later Kaden, and 18 months after that daughter Laila, making me a busy mother of four. At that time, I also ran a photography business. The year Zack was injured I had a child in Preschool, Elementary, Jr. High and High School. Four kids in four schools! I thought I was so busy, just getting their drop off and pick up times correct was a challenge. I have to laugh now thinking back on that because little did I know my life was just about to turn upside down.