Our PAD journey began when my husband collapsed getting out of the car one day after hours of errands. The Vascular Surgeons were amputating toes and half of his foot before we even got the official diagnosis. The impact of this whirlwind was felt by both of us ... still is troubling. Neither of us could hold jobs because Derrick's care was full-time. We've had to muster up strength we didn't know we had and stand up against further amputation. We found The Way To My Heart which connected us with a true limb saver trained in advanced techniques who managed a proper diagnosis and restored blood flow clear to his toes. The journey didn't end there. His toe and foot ulcers still needed daily care for more than a year. You can imagine the emotional roller coaster we've been on since the diagnosis. It's sent us both on a tailspin at times, one more than the other at one time or another. It's important to realize it's not just hard on the patients, it's hard on those who love and care for them. And while we as loved ones will never feel that same pain as patients, we experience a different pain seeing you suffer while supporting you in this journey. The stress is real. The ups and downs can include moments where one or both lash out or even sink into times of a need for isolation. The key is to agree to be a team, and that you are in fact on the same team, in this fight for a better quality of life. Some of the things I find helpful when trying to support my husband with PAD include:
- Being empathetic and compassionate keeps me grounded when he’s frustrated. Sharing calm energy helps keep us be focused and aware of what we can and cannot control.
- Exercising first thing in the A.M. gets blood flowing and we continue to make positive choices all day.
- Keeping to a wound care schedule. I make it a point to clean and re-dress wound pads every 48 hours.
- Staying committed to eating healthier, working with our doctors and educating ourselves through participating in online support groups and reading through PADdy's Post newsletter.
- Keeping ourselves accountable to each other with a goal of working together daily to live healthier.