Most bells heard this time of year are associated with the holidays, but for Rev. Ronald Brauer, at least one chime marked a significant accomplishment for which he is thankful. Brauer recently struck the “healing bell” at the La Porte Hospital Wound Care Center to mark the completion of his successful treatment of a dangerous foot ulcer. The experience at the center, he said, was one of compassionate, thorough care that involved a thoughtful team approach.
“I think what stands out to me the most is how they worked together as a team to heal me,” Brauer said of the Wound Care Center team at La Porte Hospital. “They wanted everything done in concert with my primary care doctor and Dr. Fletcher, my cardiologist. They worked as a team – as a good, solid unit – and that made a difference in my care.”
It all started for Brauer about six years ago, when he was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, which he has managed with medications. As an active administrative pastor for St. John’s Lutheran Church in La Porte, Brauer doesn’t really know the meaning of sitting still. He is nearly constantly on his feet, whether at church, visiting friends and parishioners in the hospital or nursing homes, or even working in his home workshop as a hobby.
Upon his diabetes diagnosis, Brauer paid close attention to his feet, which commonly become the target for diabetic ulcers that don’t heal well. Sure enough, in July, he noticed an open sore on his foot.
“My nurse practitioner recommended the Wound Care Center at the hospital, which had just opened. It was like the Lord was saying to me, ‘I put this here because you need it,’” Brauer said of the center.
Brauer’s treatment consisted of a full evaluation that incorporated his medical history and current health situation and nutrition habits, and then treatments such as debridement to remove dead tissue around the wound, dressings, a special skin substitute to help it heal, a boot to keep pressure off his foot, and a diet plan to ensure he was eating foods that would promote healing. Even with his knee scooter and wife helping him get around, Brauer was grateful for the treatment.
Stephanie Kadish, nurse practitioner at the Wound Care Center, said Brauer was a model patient.
“Ronald kept a notebook of everything happening with his care, and was meticulous about his appointments and follow-up,” Kadish said. “He fell within the typical healing time for diabetic ulcers like his, with weekly visits to the wound care center. It was a pleasure to have a patient so involved and interested in his own care. He made it easy for our team to tackle this together.”
Brauer continues to learn more about diabetes self-management, including participating in classes at La Porte Hospital. Keeping abreast of care trend and important clinical updates about the disease is his new venture in continuing education. “Health education is not something we attend as a class in school, get a grade, and move on. We need to learn more about what our body tells us all throughout life,” Brauer said. “It’s a life-long process, learning how your body works and changes. I’ve learned that we aren’t diabetics. We are people with diabetes. I just happened to have this flashing red lights that helped me realize – we have to take care of the bodies we are given.”
For more information on the Wound Care Center at La Porte Hospital, visit laportehealth.com or call 219-326-2415.