Beyond a Mere Wound
Rita Seidler was not worried about the wound on her calf. The injury occurred while she was watching workmen move a grand piano in her church. She fell backward, striking her leg against the piano's metal wheel apparatus and opening a three-inch gash. She ignored the pain and open sore and focused on her volunteer work at the food pantry - a mission spurred by her own childhood hardship.
However, Rita's daughter, a nurse, was very concerned about her mother's leg. By the time she saw her mother two weeks after the injury occurred, the wound had discolored. She immediately called Grand View's Wound Care Center to schedule an appointment for the next day.
"On her first visit, Rita's wound was sizeable and growing worse," said Wound Care Center Program Director Jody Hanks. The non-healing wound was caused by impaired blood flow from the legs to the heart. A physician specially trained in wound care treated it using debridement - a surgical procedure. To ease discomfort and reduce infection, ointments were applied to the ulcer, and the wound was wrapped with special dressings to keep moisture in, and air and water out. Rita wore compression stockings continuously and received debridement treatments twice a week until her wound fully healed.
"Rita is strong, poised, and focused on others," Hanks said. "Our entire staff looked forward to her stories." Likewise, Rita enjoyed visiting with the staff. "I didn't mind the treatments because the staff was so kind," she said.
At age 82, Rita doesn't neglect her health, but life had taught her to take discomfort in stride. As a teenager in Germany during World II, Rita's home was bombed, her father was imprisoned, and her family had barely enough food to survive. They lived in constant fear of enemy soldiers.
Rita suspects her susceptibility to non-healing wounds was caused by the malnutrition she experienced during the war. While still in her teens, her hunger was so fierce she risked being caught violating curfew to sneak to the countryside at night. There, she foraged for whatever she could find - wheat kernels, potatoes, and corn. She even traded jewelry for milk.
Fortunately, Rita's family eventually relocated to Schleswig Holstein, near the Danish border, once her father returned from prison. There she met Helmut Seidler, an engineer. They married and emigrated first to Canada and then to America. They eventually settled in Schwenksville.
Today, Rita is active in her church - particularly with the food pantry. "I know what it's like to be hungry," she said. "Most people cry the first time they come. They don't want to be here, but I let them know it's going to be all right. It gives me joy to help them."