February 25, 2018

What We're Doing for Dan's Hand

This post is a follow-up to my last one about Dan's hand.

Of the two fingers that collided with the table saw, the ring finger looks really good, although where the fingernail used to be is still scabbed and tender. The middle finger is still open and draining and looks a mess. The saw sliced through quite a bit of skin which is starting to come off. Healing will be slower for that one because it has to work inside out. Both fingers are extremely sensitive to pressure and to cold.

We received no instructions for the hand other than to keep it clean and change dressings. So to support healing we've been focusing on good nutrition, improving circulation, and healing herbs.

Since we grow so much of our own food we eat a pretty good diet anyway. For now, we're keeping meals light and easy to digest. Bone broth is especially rich in minerals and nutrients, so it forms a basis for daily soup. Detox tea is tasty hot or cold, and makes a nice beverage any time of the day. Here's the recipe.

Detox Tea
  • 2 parts dandelion root (cleansing, anti-inflammatory, liver tonic)
  • 1 part each of 
    • burdock root (blood purifier)
    • cardamom seed (digestive, liver, and gall bladder support)
    • ginger root (circulatory stimulant, antiseptic)
    • pau d'arco bark (anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory)
    • cinnamon bark (antiseptic, kidney tonic)
    • clove buds (antiviral, antibiotic, antioxident, aids digestion)
    • fennel seeds (circulatory stimulant, anti-inflammatory, kidney support)
    • licorice root (detoxifier, anti-inflammatory)
    • juniper berries (facilitates removal of acid wastes from urine)
    • black peppercorns (antioxident, antiseptic, aids digestion)
    • uva ursi leaf (bladder and kidney support)
    • horsetail (anti-inflammatory, tissue healer, source of minerals)
    • parsley leaf and root (anti-inflammatory, immune booster)
    • orange peel (bioflavinoids, kidney support, tonic)

To make a decoction (tea of roots, bark, and berries) an ounce of dried herbs is added to a pint of cold water. It helps to soak the herbs in the water for several hours. Then heat to boiling and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and strain.

I mix this about half and half with green tea which is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, improves blood circulation, and promotes wound healing.

Good circulation is important because it's the blood that carries nutrients and healing elements to the wound and carries waste products away. Exercise helps here, both walking and working the hand and fingers as best he can.

Hot and cold treatments improve circulation. How? Think of how flushed the skin can become when you're hot and how it turns blue when you're cold. Heat forces the blood to the skin and extremities; cold forces it back into the core of the body. Alternating hot and cold promotes circulation. I also give Dan what I call "circulation tea" made from cayenne pepper powder and ginger root powder. Cayenne promotes circulation by strengthening the pumping action of the heart, and ginger promotes circulation in the capillaries.

Another herb that is helpful for circulation is garlic. Plus it's a powerful antibiotic and antiviral. Dan makes himself a drink of raw garlic and ginger in tomato juice every day.

To promote healing Dan applies an herbal salve during the day called Dy's Liquid Bandage. It is actually a veterinary product, but it contains healing ingredients we also use on ourselves: olive oil, beeswax, golden seal (antibiotic, anti-inflammatory), bee pollen (immune booster, antibiotic), yarrow (stimulates circulation), aloe vera (anti-fungal, tonic, promotes wound healing), vitamin E (antioxident, promotes healing), tea tree oil (anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory), propolis (antibiotic, antiviral, promotes wound healing), calendula (antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, promotes wound healing), and honey (antibacterial, anti-inflammatory). It was on sale in January so I ordered some to have on hand. Little did I know then how quickly we would need it. It protects and helps heal the wound plus keeps it from drying out.

At night we're doing a Bone, Flesh, & Cartilage fomentation. A fomentation is wrapping an area in a cotton cloth soaked in a strong concentration of herbal decoction.

Bone, Flesh, & Cartilage
Equal parts of:
  • white oak bark (antiseptic)
  • marshmallow root (wounds and skin ulcerations)
  • mullein (wound healing, kidney support, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory)
  • wormwood (antibiotic, antiseptic)
  • lobelia (anti-infective, a catalyst for other herbs)
  • scullcap (nervine)
  • comfrey root (promotes cell growth and wound healing, nutrient rich)
  • black walnut bark (anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, rich in minerals)
  • gravel root (immune stimulant, solvent for unwanted mineral deposits)

This is also made into a decoction made the same way as the Detox Tea above. After it's strained it is simmered down to about half it's original volume and cooled. The fomentation is applied at night, six nights a week. We wrap the BF&C soaked cloths around the fingers, wrap with plastic wrap, and cover the hand with a clean sock. BF&C tincture internally rounds out the routine.

So that's our daily routine. Of course, anyone who's had a severe injury knows how slow healing is, and how hard it is not to become discouraged. But I have to say that the response to our GoFundMe for Dan's medical expenses has been extremely encouraging, not to mention humbling. I hope you could tell from "A Message From Dan" what a difference it's made for him. To have so many people we've never met respond so willingly and generously has given him hope. And to have so many people praying for him has given him peace of mind. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


Mama Pea said...

Your plan of supporting the whole body in Dan's healing will be so much more effective than merely applying a prescribed salve to the ends of his fingers! Kinda like going deep to get to the source of an illness rather than just applying a bandaid. His healing is going to be on the fast track!

Kathy said...

Also consider probiotics, especially if he's already taken any antibiotics. There are lots of probiotic choices at the health food store (which can be confusing). So I would suggest live bacteria kefir or yogurt with your goat milk. Homemade is best because heat used in manufacturing and/or safety sealing the container can kill the beneficial bacteria. Cultured Food Life (Donna Schwenk) website has some free info on creating your own kefir with beneficial bacteria. She also has some books on the subject, or you might find a book at the library which I would highly recommend called The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. There are various kinds of fermented foods that are easy to make and have tons of benefits to eating. Once you have a recipe, you can use a purchased single serve container of LIVE culture plain unflavored yogurt as your starter culture. If you don't have a yogurt maker, you can still make it with a glass bowl and a few layers of heavy towels and a good candy thermometer. Just beware to leave it completely alone (no bumping it or other vibration) while it does its thing. Good luck! I continue keeping you both in my prayers as well. <B

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, I hope so. I know he feels better about having a plan of action - something he can do. Right now it still looks pretty bad but I tell him that the old tissue has to be dealt with and removed first, before new tissue can be formed. These herbs will help with all of that!

Kathy, I forgot to mention that! He's currently getting plain homemade yogurt for breakfast. Usually I make kefir from our raw goat milk, but my does have either just freshened or still to kid so I had to resort to buying milk to make yogurt. I also lacto-ferment whatever root veggies we have growing, which is currently Jerusalem artichokes.

jewlz said...

I hope you're keeping good notes (i know you are!) on what you're doing, it's impact etc... Its got the bones (pun intended) of your next book!

jan said...

As I was reading the comments I too thought of probiotics to hopefully avoid sepsis so I was glad to hear about the yoqurt in the morning. Because raw honey is so healing you might like to add that to the yogurt if Dan likes it. My Granny Lewis also used Black Salve on wounds because it has such an effect on drawing out the poisons. She also used to make us "take a walk" if we were able to keep the blood flowing!

It sounds like you are really paying attention to his insides too which is so important! Old ways are so powerful! They are especially so when combined with the new ways.

Leigh said...

Jewlz, I have thought maybe I should have been taking photos to document his progress, but I honestly couldn't bring myself to do it. The severity of a finger hanging on by a thread just seemed too personal and not the kind of thing he'd ever want to remember. This experience has contributed to a chapter I'd like to include in a sequel to 5 Acres & A Dream The Book - "Set Backs". Set backs of all kinds are an unfortunate reality of homesteading.

Jan, what was interesting is that the hand surgeon said this kind of injury rarely has infection as a complication. Even so he was given an IV antibiotic at the ER and a course of tablets. That's originally why I started him on the yogurt. In spite of what he said I think the herbal antibiotics are important. Black Salve is a good idea because it contains charcoal which is excellent for drawing out toxins. I have a recipe for that somewhere. I agree with her "take a walk" advice too! A simple but excellent way to maintain good circulation!

pitcherda said...

Sorry to hear about Dan. We know a lot about injuries and healing salve. IE. http://www.thesimplefarm.com/2012/08/smashed-toematoe.html or http://www.thesimplefarm.com/2013/07/torn-cow-teatwhat-to-do.html. Shoot me your address and I'll send you some our our salve to use.

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

What all your doing sounds amazing and hope he is on the mend soon. I don't know how you manage to do all that and keep ukp to your regular work plus the extra work you have now. May God continue to help you and give you extra strength and wisdom. Nancy

Leigh said...

Doug, good to hear from you! I seem to have lost track of you and am glad to have found your blog again. Now following. Sounds like your salve is amazing stuff. I'll shoot you an email.

Nancy, right now we're just doing the essentials. Fortunately it's either been cold or rainy, which means the temptation (for Dan) to go out and do something isn't so great. Besides tending to the animals Dan's healing is the priority. Other things will still be there. :)

greendiver said...

I too hand an unpleasant run in with a table saw. In Mar. 1986 I was foolishly freehanding a piece of 1/2" plywood across the saw. I got one side ahead of the other and it bound and spun. One corner hit my crotch and caused me to jump and drag my right hand across the blade. Thankfully I had the blade just raised enough to cut the wood. When it was all over I lost about 1/2" in length off of my right hand pinky and about 3/8" off the one next to it. Required an overnite stay in the hospital because I had taken bone off of both fingers and they were concerned about infection. I was dating a gal at the time that was pretty savvy about wound care and she introduced me to a product called "Iodex". I just checked Amazon and they carry it for $13.95/1oz. jar. The stuff works wonders and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I doubt you would need more than one jar, it works that well. There is another version of it called "Yodex", I'm not familiar with it but it appears to be the same basic product and it is only $8.94. My fingertips looked like ground burger and the Iodex healed them in short order. I strongly suggest you spring the bucks and get a jar, you will be amazed at how well it works to heal your wounds. I tried to send this in an e-mail but I couldn't come up with an addy so had to put this here. I know how mentally devastating it can be to lose part of your body. The first time I was able to shower and wash my face with my hands I could feel the difference in the length of my fingers on my face. It passed pretty quickly and these days the only reminder of the incident is when I clip my oddly shaped fingernails. Wishing you the best on your recovery. Lindsay in Llano, TX.

Leigh said...

Lindsay, thank you for that information. I appreciate it and will definitely look into it. Salves as a vehicle for the healing herbs are truly wonderful.

M.K. said...

You're doing wonderful things for his wound! Just think of how well-stocked his body is for healing, able to send anything needed to that area. I pray he will heal well.

Leigh said...

M.K. I hope so! To me it looks better but right now he still doesn't see it. Of course he's still experiencing a lot of pain, which doesn't help. Thank you for your prayers! Always appreciated.