Stop the Pressure Day 2022 - your stories
On Thursday 17 November we’re talking about all things pressure ulcers as part of international Stop the Pressure Day 2022
Here are some of the stories that people have kindly shared with us about their own experiences with pressure ulcers highlighting the different types of impact they have had on their lives and sharing tips based on their own experience of pressure ulcers.
Dave Bracher’s first-hand experience of pressure ulcers impacted not only him, but his entire family.
Dave told us how his first pressure ulcer was the result of letting his guard down just for a moment. This resulted in a pressure ulcer on his hip which he hadn’t felt or noticed. For him the frustration of the situation was outweighed by the impact on his family.
“Not only did my wife have to become a single parent again, much as she did when I was in hospital and then doing my rehab, she also had to look after me. … I could see the frustration in her eyes, and the relief was palpable when she could catch a break when the kids came to watch TV or read a book with me.”
The timing of his second pressure ulcer was even worse and meant he was unable to join his family on a well-deserved holiday in Wales. After a long, hot day in London in a series of work-related meetings, he forgot about the need to do pressure relief and a small red mark on the bottom was the result. Relegated to bed rest he missed the long-awaited holiday and stayed in bed.
“And my ‘single parent again’ wife came home knackered and needing another holiday to get over the holiday.
Dave’s advice based on his experience:
“My advice would be to stay aware, don’t ignore symptoms and get your Emergency Care Plan (ECP) together in case of emergencies.
“I have an ECP, so if I find myself in hospital, they’ll know to find me a pressure-relieving mattress and give me some extra care and support to manage my condition and minimize the chances of any ‘complications’.”
It won’t happen to me
Pressure ulcers are serious, and, in some cases, they can lead to life threatening situations. If you haven’t ever had one before it can be easy to think it won’t happen to you.
After 45 years as a wheelchair user, one of our support network volunteers, Graeme Rudd had never experienced pressure ulcers before so didn’t think he’d be affected by them.
After suffering from clamminess and cold sweats earlier this year, he was instructed to visit A&E immediately as his vital signs were “off the scale”. It was there he tested positive for Covid-19.
Home from hospital, Graeme’s sweats and discomfort continued despite no longer having Covid, but strangely, only when he was sitting on the sofa watching TV. It was then his wife, Janet noticed marks on his backside and another visit to the doctor confirmed he’d developed pressure ulcers. This explained why he wasn’t experiencing symptoms while lying in bed or sitting on his wheelchair’s protective gel cushion – the damaging pressure had come from his time on the sofa. After an appointment with his consultant at Pinderfields spinal unit, Graeme was told he was suffering from autonomic dysreflexia (AD).
After taking medication to relieve symptoms, Graeme was advised to stay off his backside as much as possible. After weeks spent lying prone in bed while ensuring daily time in his standing frame to relieve pressure, his body started to heal. He accepts he was blasé about pressure ulcers and although he’d experienced AD in the past, the symptoms were different this time – there was no pounding headache for a start.
“I’ve been lucky to have come this far in life without skin problems, but my skin is getting thinner and less supple as I age. It’s more susceptible to pressure ulcers. I’m being much more careful now.
“Make sure you share your emergency care plan (ECP). I had one but didn’t offer it. It was complete naivety! I’d never had a pressure ulcer and thought I’d be okay, that it wouldn’t happen to me.
Recurring pressure sores
Sally Jones, 42, is currently fighting pressure sore number 23 after number 22 saw her rushed to A&E with osteomyelitis as a result of an infected sore on her foot.
A big thank you to Sally, Graeme and Dave for sharing their stories. If you would like to share your experience with a pressure ulcer or tips on how you look after your own skin, we would love you to do so on Thursday 17 November using the hashtag #dontsitonit.