During our own testimonial entitled, “Six Months of a Lifetime's Journey” We promised to update the readers about our friend, who I'll call Ken to protect his anonymity.
Ken is now 90 years old and during his career worked as a consultant paediatrician. He was enjoying his retirement and spent the Winter months in India, and the rest of the year in his UK home with his wife. However in late 2017 he started experiencing pain in a toe on his left foot. This was diagnosed as circulatory in nature, he was having trouble delivering oxygen to the toe via his circulation. Various solutions were discussed including a stent in the artery supplying his toe, but Ken opted to wait and see. He travelled to India as normal and felt that the warmer weather was helping at first. Later things worsened and now Ken reported pain in two adjacent toes on his left foot. He was taking higher doses of painkillers and had been prescribed statins as ultrasound investigations had possibly identified a reduced arterial lumen in his left lower leg.
Events spiralled out of control and the pain required a stay in an Indian hospital where things became desperate. In the end a rushed and poor decision was reached and Ken was persuaded to amputate the two problem toes, whereby the logic behind this operation promised to remove the pain as the toes were becoming non-viable. The outcome was a disaster and the operation wound quickly became gangrenous, bringing huge amounts of pain and a life threatening situation.
Ken was losing his mind, literally, everyday he was awash with pain. An emergency flight to the UK was arranged and a further operation was carried out to remove a sizeable portion of his left forefoot, leaving him with half a foot and a huge mountain to climb to heal himself. This type of wound has to be left open and encouraged to heal from the inside out, a long job indeed, especially when great age is factored in. Ken spent a further 8 weeks in a UK hospital.
It was at this point that we became involved, after hearing his very sad news. Our family friend's life was in the balance and yet it seemed that common sense had flown out of the window. We urged him to purchase a lot of lypospheric vitamin C a powerful supplement that bypasses digestion and delivers large amounts of in this case vitamin C, for two primary reasons, the gangrene would have drained him of all his own reserves and we had no faith that the hospital would consider this. It took reminders to get him on board, but in the end he acquiesced. This complete lack of vitamin C can be life threatening and additionally the body needs vitamin C to build the new collagen required to synthesise new granulating tissue. We hoped that this would give him a chance to get home. It took a further 8 weeks but home he came.
We asked to come round and after a little small talk explained Andrew's ideas about gravity being the primary driver of circulation and the movement of fluids in the body. Having got permission we set about raising their bed, a divan by an initial 4”, with the casters removed and a neatly cut wedge for the centre join on both sides.
The result was good and the bed was now gently sloping and solid to lie on. I'm sure that Ken thought he was humouring us, but we went home hopeful. We continued to visit as we became aware of how much pain he was in, especially at night. He was drugged up and referred to the neuralgia that was especially painful at night and disturbed his sleep. We suspected he was carrying a lot of muscle spasm and decided to offer him a course of IMS (intra muscular stimulation), a dry needle technique to relieve the spasm in both his piriformis muscles and those in his back, that we strongly suspected was compressing his sciatic nerve on both sides. This involved weekly treatments, to treat his back and pelvic areas. Progress was steady and frustrating as my wife, “pricked his bottom”, as Ken called it.
Real progress came after 3 weeks and his pain score reduced markedly meaning he could now stay in bed and be comfortable. Now the incline was his friend and circulation was returned to his extremities for the whole night.
It's important to mention that at one point the opiate based painkillers nearly saw him in trouble again, as his appetite approached nil, yet he knew he had to wean himself off these killers. We were winning and he was eating again, sleeping well and importantly healing. He became a star patient as the district nurses dressed his foot each week.
Some 8 months on from his return to the UK, the original hospital nurse saw him again, after having last seen him following his operation in April. The huge smile on her face said everything. He was a star, now 90 years old and signed off to live the rest of his life. His bed is now at 5”, with the last inch due on his return to the UK, because Christmas day saw him and his wife fly back to the sunshine of India for a few months, with instructions to ask their apartment maintenance guys to raise their bed to ensure continuous night time circulation.
Ken had found his journey back to good health frustrating, but finally he could see the results for themselves, he had confounded his own consultant's expectations. Just after the operation, Ken had asked if he would heal in time for his Winter sunshine and the consultant's expression spoke a million words, not a chance, but sometimes life can surprise us all!
The power of simple ideas are truly amazing when applied with common sense. Thank you Andrew for never giving up on the promotion of your ideas, we are very grateful, both personally and on behalf of our friends.
Bon voyage for now.
Jim & Latha x