Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Mom's Heel has Healed

Time may heal all wounds, but zinc may help them faster.

Three years ago, my diabetic mother developed a sore on her heel. According to my father, who has been dressing the wound during those years, it was the size of a silver dollar (1.5" diameter) and all the way to the bone--about 3/4." Their doctors refused to treat it and sent them to the hospital instead. Over the years, doctors, nurses, aides and my father have been dressing it, treating it with medicinal honey, and cutting away crusty skin around it in a painful, weekly doctor's office procedure. In three years, the size of the wound went down to the size of a quarter (1") and 1/16" deep. It still required the aforementioned care.

Having had such good results with zinc healing my nose from septoplasy (I'd had nosebleeds for ten years after the surgery), I gave my mom a bottle of 100mg zinc tablets two weeks ago. She's been taking one every day. The results, according to my parents:

The wound is now the size of a nickel (.83" inches) and superficial with a hard coating on it. There's no dead skin to be trimmed. In other words, it's practically healed.

The wound healed quite a bit over the three years, though. Did the zinc tablets speed up the healing? I plotted wound volume over time. Of course, this is an approximation without exact measurements, relying on my father's memory, and with only a few data points over a long time. Nevertheless, I did it. Initial volume was about 1.35 cubic inches (my father said the wound had a slight taper on the inside, but was approximately cylinder shaped; volume two weeks ago was .05 cubic inches; and final volume was zero (with no depth, there's no volume).

Again, given the lack of data, this is iffy, but the sharp downward turn at the end of the graph indicating faster healing is encouraging.

I'd like to thank the people at Gnome, the free software desktop project. Without their Gnumeric spreadsheet software, I wouldn't have been able to create and post the graph at the top. What was Microsoft thinking when it developed Excel 2007, the Mickey Mouse version?

ETA: Last night when I visited my parents, I noticed that a three-year-old sore on my mom's ear was almost healed. (She fell asleep with a small speaker on her ear and it burned her.) I've seen this sore over the course of three years, and it didn't heal even a little bit. It's now nearly gone.

ETA, 9/10/10: My mom still has a nurse come by to tend her heel wound. (Without the nurse, she cannot have someone give her a shower, which she can't do by herself.) She told me last night that she'd stopped taking the zinc because one doctor or another told her to. "Why?" I asked. "Well, I don't know." As Michael Eades is fond of saying, Jesus wept.

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