NB: Discusses suicide immediately below the line, and has ulcer images near the end.
Yesterday I had this to say about Hydrosorb:-
I am, I confess, at a loss to know why the dressing – Hydrosorb – was so extremely painful, it’s supposed to be just an inert gel containing 60% water, which removes necrotic tissue. The mechanism by which it does this eludes me. I’ve scoured Google for anyone else having problems and have drawn a blank – which actually shouldn’t be possible. No product is perfect and there will always be a few complaints about anything, even if it’s simple user error. About Hydrosorb there is no criticism at all.
This, then, is my experience as the pain generated by Hydrosorb has been so horrendous I have been beside myself. And still am, to such a degree that last night, afraid to go to bed for fear of causing even more pain, I found myself writing this:-
Last year, provoked by uncaring medics refusing adequate analgesia, I was pushed to the brink of suicide.
And twice I backed away from the abyss.
It’s said that if one stares into the abyss long enough, the abyss stares back. Whether that’s really true, I know not but, certainly, the abyss draws one back…
Last year I backed away because, in my heart, I didn’t want to die – I wanted help, I hoped things would get better. And it would have taken more self-control than I possessed at the time for me to take that final step into the darkness.
Things haven’t got better – they are infinitely worse.
And I can feel the abyss calling me back – driven there, still, by intolerable pain.
The pain really is remorseless. Drugs can’t control it – I’m told I’m taking more morphine than many cancer patients, yet it barely mutes the pain. I’ve been told, too, by a fellow-sufferer who is also a nurse that this is pretty much the worst pain anyone can suffer – it is, as I know from personal experience, far worse than the pain of a coronary.
That describes my “normal” pain. With Hydrosorb it’s a whole new universe of suffering. Which hasn’t abated one iota since I removed it and reverted to Aquacel Ag. Where, before, the pain, though severe, was limited to the ulcers and the area around it, it now extends from my toes to my hip, punctuated by the node of blazing agony that is the ulcer itself.
I don’t know what damage Hydrosorb has done to me, or even how it’s done it as information about it is scarce, but it’s changed something for the worse, that I’m sure of.
I’ve downloaded a copy of the manufacturer’s “woundforum” document from Autumn 2008 from their website as it features a Hydrosorb trial (described as a “non-randomised, non-comparative trial in an unselected panel of 81 patients, who are characteristic for internist and general medical practices and outpatient clinics…”).
NB: Results from such a small trial are statistically inadequate. The minimum number of warm bodies required for a statistically sound trial, whether it be for shampoo or wound dressings, is 1,000.
From it I find that 5.7% of patients found the product to be poor overall (for physicians, this went up to 6.2%), while of those experiencing severe pain prior to treatment (11.1%), the percentage was reduced to 6.3%. That, potentially, is still a lot of people with severe pain.
The document goes on to say “Hydrogel dressings hydrate and cool the wound and therefore have an analgesic effect.”.
NOT in my case. Wet dressings (in my case Aquacel Ag), can have a soothing effect but, frankly, water is not exactly renowned as an analgesic and I would seriously question that claim, unless there is an active analgesic agent in Hydrogel that I’m not seeing. There is no mention that I can see of Hydrosorb causing pain. Am I, then, unique? I rather doubt it. How many of the 6.2% of patients left with severe pain were actually worse off after Hydrogel use? The question seems not to have been asked or, if it was, nobody’s saying.
In addition – and again, in my case – wet dressings do not cause me any additional pain, even after several days, yet Hydrogel, while initially soothing for several hours, soon became unbearably painful and the appearance of my ulcer had deteriorated by the time it was removed.
This photo is from several days prior to Hydrosorb use:-
This one immediately after the removal of Hydrosorb.
To me – and others – this looks worse, especially the dark discolouration above and to the front of the wound which was previously absent.
In addition, the pain in areas away from the wound is far worse. In bed my leg is supported by a foam wedge under my thigh, this reduces the risk of putting pressure on the ulcer in my sleep. Last night I bumped the back of my calf – well away from the wound, yet the pain was instant and terrifying – but I bumped it not on the frame supporting my bedding (always a risk), but on the soft foam.
I’ve done it before, it always hurts – but NOT on this scale.
After using Hydrosorb, as applied by a community staff nurse on Friday, for less than 24 hours I was left with pain of such severity that it had me actively contemplating suicide – and that was at least 12 hours after it had been removed.
Today, 24 hours further on, and nothing has changed. I’m taking 10ml Oramorph every 4 hours in an attempt to contain the pain, and failing. I am substantially worse off now than I was previously, and I have no doubt whatsoever that Hydrosorb is the culprit.
Note re the trial referred to above: This was of Hydrosorb Comfort, the version with a self-adhesive border. I was give the basic Hydrosorb, just a sheet of gel, held in place (or not – which might account for the pain**), using a Zetuvit pad.
**But that would not account for why the pain persists.