University of Southern California Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Alley

Alley

Alley got a spinal cord injury in 1968, when she was 44 years old. She was in a car accident. After leaving rehab, she got a serious pressure ulcer (which is what a doctor or nurse calls a pressure sore or bedsore), and also had pneumonia (noo-MOHN-ya). She learned from her first pressure ulcer, though. She was very careful with her body, and didn't get another pressure ulcer for 32 years. When she was 76, however, Alley broke her leg, and this led to her getting a pressure ulcer, which got even more serious.

Read more about Alley in these articles...

People who have already had a pressure ulcer understand that anybody can get a pressure ulcer. In other words, experience is the best teacher! Many people who helped with this project, including Alley, Brenda, Chris and Helen, would probably agree.

→ read more in Learning How to Take Care of Your Skin

Alley enjoyed working hard at her brother's hotel. She didn't worry about the "blister" on her bottom. That blister was a pressure ulcer. The pressure ulcer caused infection and a very dangerous breathing sickness, pneumonia. Alley got well again. She started being very careful to prevent pressure ulcers. She didn't get another pressure ulcer for 30 years!

→ read more in Now I Get It!

Alley broke her leg, and the cast rubbed her foot. She got a pressure ulcer where the cast rubbed her skin.

→ read more in Things You Can't Control and Things That Can Go Wrong with Your Health

Sometimes the wrong treatment can hurt you. Here is an example from Alley.

Alley got a pressure ulcer. A home health nurse put a DuoDERM® patch on the pressure ulcer. This is the right patch for many pressure ulcers. The nurse said not to change the patch. She said not to worry if the pressure ulcer smelled bad. DuoDERM® was not right for Alley's pressure ulcer. The pressure ulcer did smell bad. It got infected, that is, it got full of germs.

→ read more in Things That Can Go Wrong with Your Health and Caregivers and Helpers

Alley got a pressure ulcer. She had to have surgery. The doctor told Alley to eat more protein in the hospital. Alley had to drink protein drinks and eat meals. She felt full all the time. It was hard for her to eat more protein.

→ read more in Eating Healthy and Weight

A home health nurse and a wound care doctor Alley went to didn't know enough about how to treat pressure ulcers. They both gave her treatments that weren't right for getting rid of a pressure ulcer. She had a pressure ulcer change from small to dangerous and infected because of the wrong treatments.

→ read more in Getting Health Care

Alley was in the hospital because of a pressure ulcer. She didn't want to ask the nurses for help. Here is what she said:

"The nurses are too busy. I don't like to bother them. They have more important things to do."

There is an interesting part of this story. Alley worked for free for a group that helped people with disabilities! She was happy to speak up for others. Maybe she thought speaking up for herself was selfish.

→ read more in Speaking Up For Yourself

Alley was in the hospital with a pressure ulcer. Her best friend Lucy was dying. Alley left the hospital to take care of Lucy. Alley came back to the hospital after Lucy died. Her pressure ulcer was bigger by then.

→ read more in Dating and Marriage

Here is an example of pros and cons. Alley's friend Lucy was dying. Alley wanted to leave the hospital to help take care of Lucy. The pros were giving Lucy help she needed and saying goodbye to her. The con was that Alley's pressure ulcer might get worse.

→ read more in Things You Don't Expect

Alley's friend Lucy died. Lucy's helper stole from Lucy's home. Alley went to the police. Alley and the police got Lucy's stuff back from the helper.

→ read more in Caregivers and Helpers

Alley had a very serious pressure ulcer that was an emergency, but the receptionist told her she needed to have an appointment to see the doctor.

→ read more in Getting Health Care

Alley, Billy, Helen and Rachel thought, "It's no big deal." Their pressure ulcers got really bad. They all got very sick. The next time, they knew better!

→ read more in "It Just Happened"

When Alley was younger, her skin healed fast when she got a red spot or small pressure ulcer. When she was 76, she got a pressure ulcer that would not heal.

→ read more in Skin Getting Older

Alley, Dave, Helen and Mitch all got pressure ulcers when they got older. You can't control getting older, so it's a good idea to do more skin checks when you are older.

→ read more in Things You Can't Control

Alley wondered how "God could do this to her." After a while, her faith helped her form a larger view of what happened to her.

→ read more in Faith

Alley's family all lived in another state. Alley's sister helped her when she was alone in the hospital and feeling scared. They talked on the phone everyday. They laughed about the TV shows they liked. It helped Alley feel stronger.

→ read more in Dating and Marriage

Three people who helped with this project - Alley, Robert and Tom - all moved to a bigger city so they could go to a really good hospital for people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs).

→ read more in Getting Health Care

Alley moved into an apartment that was made for people with disabilities.

→ read more in Accessibility

Alley and Chris helped out groups that help people with spinal cord injuries.

→ read more in Don't Overdo It and Speaking Up For Yourself

Alley and Judy both had a lot of energy. They both did a lot of things for work and for fun.

→ read more in Feeling, Attitude and Believing in Yourself

Alley took pressure off her skin when she did things.

→ read more in Things to Do to Take Care of Your Skin

Alley had a bad pressure ulcer. She was supposed to stay in the hospital to rest for a long time. Alley found out her best friend Lucy was very sick. Alley left the hospital to stay with Lucy. Lucy died a few weeks later. Alley's pressure ulcer got bigger during that time. She went back into the hospital.

Alley found out she could not get Social Security money for her helpers. It was because she was in the hospital. She also heard that Lucy's helper stole some of Lucy's stuff. Alley had to leave the hospital again to deal with Social Security. She also got the police to get Lucy's stuff back. Alley went back to the hospital again when she solved all these problems. Sadly, her pressure ulcer was really bad now. The infection went up her leg. She had to have her foot amputated, that is, cut off.

→ read more in Things You Don't Expect

Alley had a pressure ulcer on her leg. She was in the hospital.

Alley had to leave the hospital when her best friend got very sick. Alley's doctor told her to see him right away if her pressure ulcer got worse. Alley's pressure ulcer did get worse. Alley came to the doctor's office to see him. The person at the desk said Alley had to wait for an appointment. She did not want to "make trouble." She made an appointment for the next week.

Alley didn't tell them it was an emergency. She didn't tell them that the doctor wanted her to come back when she got worse. She didn't speak up for herself

Alley's pressure ulcer got much worse for a week. Alley saw her doctor a week later. The doctor said she needed to go back to the hospital now! The story ends in sadness. Alley got other health problems. She died later.

→ read more in Rules