Today I had the pleasure of witnessing the rare and elusive “successful patient intervention.”
Last week I saw an elderly man and his adult son. The man had a complaint about a rash in his groin. When I had him take off his pants, I wanted to cry. Not only did he have a terrible, raw candida (yeast) infection in the groin, but his personal hygiene was terrible…to say the least. Apparently his wife had gone into a nursing home some time ago and the patient had stopped bathing regularly after that. He lives independently, which is great, but with no one to help him in the bathroom his cleanliness had gone downhill. His adult son is sweet, but for whatever reason (modesty? embarrassment?) he was unaware of the extent of his father’s skin problems.
We had a long discussion about what the patient needed to do to help his skin heal. He was delighted to hear that he could buy adult-sized wet wipes to use daily instead of having to take a bath or shower every day. We also talked about getting a shower chair, installing grab bars in the shower or using a sitz bath over the toilet after he used the bathroom. We discussed how to dry skin folds carefully, and about using Nystatin powder twice a day (god love that nystatin, it’s a freakin’ miracle drug). He returned today for a recheck…and his rash is almost gone! It went from scary to innocuous in one week. I was so pleased at his progress when I viewed his genitals that I exclaimed “Wow, look at that! It looks fantastic!” (To which he replied, smiling coyly, “It does?”)
It feels good to have actually helped someone solve a problem. And it also felt good to have a genuinely short, uncomplicated visit. And the patient felt good that his groin no longer felt like it was on fire. Everyone wins, yay!