Healing More than Wounds: One woman's story from the Wound Treatment Center
By Justin Kaping Jun 6, 2016
When Marianne Throne agreed to share her story she was spending the day watching her 3-year-old granddaughter play outside in the warm weather.
Watching her grandchildren is one of Marianne’s greatest joys. She watches them a few days a week while her daughter works, but it wasn’t that long ago that Marianne’s health prevented her from spending this cherished time with her family.
In late 2015, Marianne had an abdominal hysterectomy in Denver. The surgery seemed to go well, and she returned home to Casper without complications. Shortly after arriving home, she noticed some changes including widening of her incision and drainage.
She was referred to a local surgeon who discovered a seroma, a pocket of fluid under the skin that sometimes develops after surgery. The seroma was removed, leaving Marianne with a troublesome wound stretching across her abdomen and reaching deep into the tissue.
“I was in a different world,” she said of her anxiety regarding her health and healing. “I didn’t understand the depths of my wound, and I had so many other things going on. I had already been through so much.”
The wound was debilitating for Marianne. She was forced to rely on her husband, who struggles with back issues, to handle every minor task at home. She was unable to fully participate in her grandchildren’s lives. She was in and out of the hospital and even spent her birthday in the hospital with an infection. While out of the hospital she was going to different appointments five days a week.
Marianne’s local surgeon referred her to the Wyoming Hyperbaric and Wound Treatment Center for weekly outpatient wound care. Upon her first appointment, she found herself feeling more comfortable. She was impressed that they were able to fit her in right away stating that they couldn’t have been more pleasant.
“They were so good to me, the doctors and nurses, everyone,” she said. “Christa (Cooper, a registered nurse) even gave me a contact for the weekends.”
Nevertheless, the large abdominal wound quickly deteriorated. Over the course of a weekend, Marianne noticed an odor which got so bad her family was forced to throw away clothing and family quilts. She called the wound center Monday morning and was told to come in immediately. Her anxiety was returning, and staff wiped her tears as they treated the gangrenous wound.
“I knew it (the infection) was awful,” she said. “I asked the staff to sneak me in the back because of the smell. They were wonderful. No one had a negative reaction or anything.”
Marianne saw significant progress once the infection was managed and necrotic tissue removed. By using the advanced therapies of surgical debridement, biological-engineered skin substitutes and negative pressure therapy, Marianne’s wound quickly began to heal. She made fast friends with clinic staff.
“She was so sweet. She came in with hugs and an amazing attitude for every appointment,” said Cooper. “We knew how much Marianne had been through and was going through. We wanted to be there for her and to help her heal and get her back to the life she had before her surgery. Many of our patients go through these struggles. To see them regain their independence from the start to finish is such a rewarding experience.”
Within a few weeks of treatment, Marianne’s wound had progressed enough for her to begin resuming regular daily activities. She was so thankful, she brought the staff a cake.
“Since I’ve healed, I’m feeling so much better," she said. "My other health problems are almost gone."
Justin Kaping is program director of Wyoming Medical Center’s Wyoming Hyperbaric and Wound Treatment Center. He is a native of Eugene, Ore., with a love for athletics and retro video games. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (307) 577-7843.