Leech therapy for leg stump wounds

Posted by Jelio Mir on

After the operation of the leg stump, I get to know leech therapy and reflect on the course of my disease and my life. I also notice the side effects of chemo.

Nausea and loss of appetite
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The past few days have not been going well for me. I spent it not getting too close to the whole thing - cancer, leg surgery, prospects for the future.

As every morning, my blood was checked again, more precisely: the leukocytes (white blood cells). It is bad if you wake up in the morning with terrible nausea and you know that you actually have to eat something, but your stomach tells you otherwise. Ok, more than trying is not possible; but I find that it doesn't work. And actually I need the food to get my strength.

If I imagine that I still went to training until last week ... I'm now miles away from that. It will stay that way for a while. At the moment I guess that I have definitely lost more than two kilos. A leech therapy is planned for tomorrow and blood control as usual.

I'm curious to see how I'm going tomorrow and what the leech therapy will bring.

Leeches for wound healing after surgery

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Woke up in the morning as usual with terrible nausea. I forced breakfast into it. Ok, the idea wasn't that good. Unfortunately it didn't stay in there. Endless stomach cramps.

As usual, blood was drawn again. I'm so excited to see what comes out of it. Unfortunately, my leukocytes are currently falling very sharply. You can't tell me the reason.

I can hardly describe myself how I am. Tired but not sleepy. Exhausted, but don't calm down. Can't determine my daily routine; never know what reaction a drink or food has to me. Today, after a sip of still water, I was plagued by a hiccup - which is also a side effect of chemotherapy. Well, it was only two days ago that I had my fourth chemo, so I should be satisfied. I am too - I'm just getting impatient.

The time was right at 11:00 am: I was allowed to undergo leech therapy for the first time. Leeches are often used for wound care in the postoperative phase.

The indication is made by the doctor. The leeches are gladly taken when large-area hematomas have formed which themselves take too long to break down. As a rule, 2-4 animals are used depending on the wound area.

Here is a short guide on how to do it.

Carrying out leech therapy:
The patient is informed and the required number of animals is provided. The corresponding part of the body is stored on a green surface.

The old bandage is removed. The wound area must not be cleaned or disinfected for the time being, otherwise the leeches will not "bite".

The animals are placed carefully, individually on the relevant body part. The leech may still move a little to find a suitable place to eat.

When all animals have bitten, they are covered loosely.

Depending on the patient's condition, the direct presence of a nurse during suction is not necessary. Checks take place every 5-10 minutes. The patient is instructed to report as soon as a leech comes loose.

When the leeches are full, they fall off alone. This can take up to 30 minutes.

Follow-up: The leeches are collected and killed directly by pouring salt over them. The waste is disposed of in the station waste.

The body part is cleaned and disinfected.

Then comes a bandage: Make sure that a sufficient absorbent compress is incorporated.

The bandage must be checked regularly for blood circulation. Every half hour for the first three hours

If there is heavy bleeding, the doctor will be informed. What should I say: It was strange to know that you could get a few animals on the fresh surgical wound. I'm curious to see what effect it has on the wound healing process.

The rest of the day, nothing exciting happened. I suffer extremely from the side effects of the medication. But you can't really help me there. I make the best of it and still try to keep my independence here in the hospital. When I'm home, I'm on my own. Let's see how I'm doing tomorrow.

What if ... thoughts about life
Friday 01.02.2019

Oh man, you wake up in the morning - and it's actually already February. I can still remember when I was diagnosed with bone cancer five weeks ago on December 21, 2018.

From that day on you start thinking about whether you have done everything right with what you have achieved so far or whether you could have improved something. Ok, one or the other will now say: Sure, you can always improve something, but will you also be happy with it? Would I have had the crappy cancer if I hadn't lost my leg from an MRSA?

I don't think I'll ever get an answer to that question. But why am I concerned with so many thoughts today? I can not say it. What I can be really proud of is the development of my two children. Due to my illness, both of them had to learn early on to stand on their own two feet.

This makes it immensely easier for me to endure the many hospital stays. One worry less. Both now live in their own four walls and are professionally established. You can be justifiably proud of that. And it shows you that you did everything right.

And while I'm sitting here thinking about my life, the nurse comes with the next two leeches. I still have two places that are extremely sensitive to pressure and painful. Let's see if you have enough appetite.

The procedure is the same as yesterday, except that they are placed at a different location on the stump. Whether they bite right there is up to the leeches themselves. You know best where there is enough food.

At one point - on the back of the stump - it was particularly painful. After more than half an hour it was over again. Follow-up care is then carried out as on Thursday. As for my nausea, I was surprisingly well today by my standards.