I was given the most phenomenal opportunity today. I got to shadow the nurses on wound rounds at a long term care facility in Delaware. This makes some people queasy, but I LOVE this kind of stuff! I was always the one who flipped ahead to the pictures of pencils jammed in peoples’ eyes in my CPR and First Aid training classes. It’s not that I enjoy watching people suffer, I just find the process of caring for these kinds of situations fascinating.
Most of the wounds I saw were typical for nursing home residents. Sacral region- stages 1 and 2 (redness and broken skin that barely penetrates the dermis). However, I was able to see one or two stage 3 wounds, which, I’ll admit, was a little alarming to see in person at first. Pictures are one thing, real life is another. It was still incredible to observe the damage, and the care that the nurses provided.
Some of the wounds were easy to treat, with minimal damage to the underlying skin. Some of the wounds were inches wide and deep, craters that bore so deep you swear it touched their soul. (The nurses used Q-tips that they stuck in the wound to measure how deep it was). Some wounds were hidden to the naked eye, nestled in crevices long neglected. Others were in the healing process, weeks in the making, but on the way towards full recovery. And here the nurses were, doing what they could to provide comfort and healing. I never saw one of them wince. Not once.
These physical wounds I saw today were concrete. I could see them, touch them, care for them. Internal wounds, however, are not tangible. We can’t see or touch them, but they ARE there, and they can be cared for. Some people bear wounds that have barely penetrated the surface- haven’t had too much of a negative impact on their life. Some have wounds that feel miles wide and deep, affecting their soul even when they have done all they could to shake the memory of it.
Most internal wounds are unknown by others. Their owners hide them in the crevices of their folded, tucked away secrets. Others found their wounds and have given them the care they needed, leaving them with minimal scarring and a reminder that obstacles can be overcome. Not an easy process, they say, but absolutely necessary to living a better life.
We may not all have excruciatingly deep wounds, but that doesn’t mean we are immune to them. We might find ourselves with one down the road, we just don’t know it yet. We all have the potential to acquire one. But we also have caregivers, family, and friends that, if given the chance, will be right there by your side to assist in the healing process. With their attention and care, you will heal faster than if you were to take it on alone. You just have to give them the opportunity, the chance.