By Robert Lean, Salishan Resident
I have diabetes, and I began to lose circulation in my foot. One of my toes was amputated, and I ended up with a severe infection. My foot was swollen and looked terrible. I was in the hospital for a week on very heavy antibiotics.
My wife was worried that I was going to lose my whole foot. Our doctors talked to me about having vascular bypass surgery â€“ but the results were very questionable. I had visited Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Willamette Valley Medical Center, so I asked about that.
â€œLetâ€™s try anything short of doing the bypass,â€ my doctor said. â€œYouâ€™ve got nothing to lose.â€ I was very skeptical at first, but at the wound care center I met Dr. Erik Swensson. When he took a look at my foot, he said, â€œItâ€™s going to heal.â€ That gave me hope.
Life in a pressurized hyperbaric oxygen chamber
I would spend two hours a day, five days a week for 28 days in a pressurized hyperbaric oxygen chamber. It would deliver high amounts of oxygen to my blood stream, which would help my wound heal. When I climbed into the chamber it was like riding on a jet plane and didnâ€™t bother me a bit.
Â I was very, very impressed with the people at the center. They were so kind, courteous and very personable. At the same time, they were very professional and good at what they were doing. I just felt that they wanted to take care of me. When youâ€™re there, youâ€™re not just a number.
At the end of the 28 sessions, Dr. Swensson examined my foot. â€œWell, I hate to tell you this,â€ he said, â€œbut youâ€™re healed. Weâ€™re discharging you.â€ That was music to my ears.
Without the wound care center, I may have lost my foot
Without the wound care center, I may have lost my foot. If I ever need any care, Iâ€™ll definitely head to Willamette Valley Medical Center.
I want to thank Alex Van Rheen, HBO/safety director; Lisa Anastasia, RN; Dr. Erik Swensson and Dr. Sandeep Kumar; and Jill Addison, program director. They were outstanding!
For a tour of Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Willamette Valley Medical Center, or for more information, contact Jill Addison at 503-472-5749.