University of Southern California Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Dave got a spinal injury in 1974, when he was 16 years old. He was hit by a car. Dave's father wanted him to work hard, so Dave went to college and law school. He got a job in the travel industry. The job needed him to work very long hours, and Dave got a number of pressure ulcers (which is what a doctor or nurse calls pressure sores or bedsores). He decided to have the pressure ulcers fixed with surgery, rather than resting his body. After years of these "quick-fixes", Dave's health started to get worse. He realized that his body was wearing out.

Read more about Dave in these articles...

Dave and Judy both got pressure ulcers when they worked overtime at their jobs and didn't do enough pressure reliefs. Their pressure ulcers got worse when they kept going to work instead of taking time off to let their skin get better. They both needed surgery because their pressure ulcers got so bad.

→ read more in Doing Things

The company where Dave worked was having problems. Dave got up at 4 in the morning and worked till late night. Dave didn't take pressure off his skin enough when he was working. He got a pressure ulcer.

→ read more in What Causes Pressure Ulcers: Pressure and Sliding

Dave worked really hard at his job. He partied with friends to relax. Working too hard and partying too hard caused a pressure ulcer.

→ read more in Stress

Dave liked sweets. He liked scuba diving and fishing. Doing these things helped his weight stay healthy. Dave had a rod in his spine. The rod broke. Dave needed surgery. He couldn't dive or fish after surgery. He gained weight. Dave chose to have surgery to help lose weight. It is called gastric bypass. Many people call this "stomach stapling."

→ read more in Eating Healthy and Weight

Dave had a rod in his spine. The rod broke. He got a pressure ulcer when the rod broke.

→ read more in Things You Can't Control

An example of sliding is when you slide over a bed or chair. Billy and Dave both got pressure ulcers from sliding.

→ read more in What Causes Pressure Ulcers: Pressure and Sliding

You can get a pressure ulcer when urine stays on your skin too long. Dave didn't get clean diapers at night. Dave got a pressure ulcer when there was urine on his skin too long.

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

Everyone's body changes as they get older. Skin changes, too. When skin gets older, it's easier to get a pressure ulcer. Two of the people who helped with this project, Dave and Helen, got more pressure ulcers as they got older.

→ read more in Skin Getting Older

It's easier to get a pressure ulcer when you are 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. It's also a good idea to eat healthy foods when you are older.

→ read more in Things You Can't Control

Dave got a pressure ulcer. He went to the hospital for surgery. His doctor wanted to help him get used to sitting in his wheelchair. Dave was worried. He thought it was too soon after surgery to try to sit. Dave spoke up for himself. He told his doctor he was worried. Maybe Dave felt a little scared, too. Dave's doctor listened. He agreed with Dave! The doctor waited longer for Dave to get better.

→ read more in Speaking Up For Yourself

Dave was in the hospital with a pressure ulcer. He was very sick. He was afraid that women would not want to date him when he was sick. An old friend of his wanted to date him anyway. She didn't care that he was sick. Dave was inspired to get better so he could start dating her. She helped him take care of himself when he went home from the hospital.

→ read more in Dating and Marriage

Dave also changed his attitude. He had an attitude of depression. His girlfriend gave him hope about the future. She helped Dave believe in himself again.

→ read more in Feelings, Attitude and Believing in Yourself

Dave wanted to go back to his job after he got a pressure ulcer. He also wanted to do fun things he enjoyed. He decided that having a muscle flap surgery would be faster than staying home in bed while his ulcers healed. (This is where muscle is transplanted from another part of your body to fill the gap left by a pressure ulcer.)

Dave chose surgery each time he got a bad pressure ulcer. Now, he has had so many surgeries, he might not be able to have any more. He might have to have his leg amputated (that is, cut off) if he gets another ulcer. Dave's choice to have surgeries instead of resting at home seemed like a good idea at the time. In the long run, it did not turn out the way he wanted.

→ read more in Making Choices

Some people live with their parents. Billy, Dave, Mitch and Steve all lived with their parents.

→ read more in When You Don't Live in a Home

Is your home easy to move around in? It might be a good idea to make some changes. Dave's parents made his bedroom bigger.

→ read more in Accessibility

Dave lived in a home with an elevator.

→ read more in Home

Dave didn't hire a helper, because he didn't want a "stranger" helping him. Dave's mother was his caregiver.

→ read more in Caregivers and Helpers

Dave, Judy and Ken work at office jobs.

→ read more in Don't Overdo It

Dave used to get a lot of pressure ulcers. He chose to get surgery each time.

Dave took time to think about his health. He thought about what he was doing to take care of himself each time he got a pressure ulcer. Dave saw that he wasn't doing a good job of taking care of himself. He saw that he had partied too much. He saw that he didn't exercise. He saw that he didn't eat healthy foods. Dave remembered there were times when he saw red skin. He remembered there were times when he saw small pressure ulcers. These were warning signs that he needed to see his doctor. Dave's doctor told him to stay in bed and let his skin get better. Dave chose to keep going to work. He was overdoing it. The pressure ulcers got worse.

Dave planned to be more careful with his skin next time. He said he will: eat healthy foods, exercise, stay in bed when he sees warning signs, listen to his doctor, and stop partying.

→ read more in Thinking About Your Health