Taking care of the family comes naturally to elders. But it is also important to take care of their own health while caring for their younger ones. Mrs Mary Thomas narrates how she learnt to be aware of her foot health and to take care of herself as well as enjoy a stress-free life with her family.
Name: Mrs Mary Thomas
Age: 74 years
Occupation: Retired Government employee
A little bit about me
I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at the age of 46 years. I was losing a lot of weight and feeling weak. I went for a health check-up. After many tests, the doctor informed me that I had Diabetes along with thyroid problem. My family was very worried about my health. At that time, I did not have a lot of time to think about the diagnosis as I was busy taking care of my family and working full-time. But I stopped eating sweet items and started drinking sugar-less tea and coffee. I monitor my blood sugars using a glucometer. I have been using it for a while and I am comfortable using it.
I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes about 28 years ago. I did not know what diabetic foot ulcer is and was unaware of the complications that arose because of Diabetes. I would sometimes get wounds on the feet but did not bother too much about them. I regret this inattention. I changed my healthcare team and visited a Diabetes speciality hospital for the routine dressing of the wound. I was prescribed oral anti-diabetes medications to keep my blood sugar levels under control. I had struggled with a non-healing ulcer of 3 years duration on the right forefoot and had to undergo multiple debridement previously (removal of dead or damaged tissues of the skin to promote healing).
My foot investigations indicated severe peripheral neuropathy as I could not sense the vibration threshold at its extreme (> 50 volts). My blood flow study showed mild peripheral arterial disease. To manage my wound, the callus was scraped bedside and the wound was cleaned. I was also advised for daily dressing and offloading of the feet. With all the standard wound care practices, the wound healed in a week. Unfortunately, the wound opened within a week of healing and I had to visit my podiatrist as I had failed to practice wound care.
Recently during the coronavirus outbreak, I had experienced unbearable pain on the right foot and leg. The affected foot was warmer than the other one and had become swollen and red due to infection in the wound. I was explained about the need for bedside debridement and the importance of offloading. Due to my high risk of contracting Covid-19 infection, I was advised and taught how to do the dressing at home on alternate days. I was put on broad spectrum oral antibiotics for a week. I had regular online consultations with my diabetologist and podiatrist. With regular dressing, and following offloading, the wound healed in about 40 days.
I am more particular about caring for my feet now. Following the healing, I was counselled for the importance of foot care, advised to follow basic foot care precautions including foot hygiene, application of emollient (basically an olive oil extract which is known as a softening agent) twice a day including the healed area. The harder area has become soft and for more than 5 months, I have been wound-free.
My exercise regime
I just walk around my home and carry out some routines in the kitchen to keep myself fit. I do not follow a particular exercise regimen. I avoid sweets and carbs as much as possible.
My meal plan
I take a cup of unsweetened tea with oats/upma and one egg white in the morning. At 10 am, I have some rice or fruits. I have my lunch at 12:30 pm. I have rice with some dal and vegetable. In the evening, I have some ragi or brown bread with tea. Dinner is again rice with some dal and one vegetable dish. There is chicken or fish at least 2 to 3 times a week for lunch or dinner.
Have plenty of home-cooked healthy food. Exercise regularly as it’s the only way to stay fit. Have a proper diet plan and stick to it. Have your medicines on time. Remember to go for annual health check-ups especially to rule out complications of Diabetes.