As a diabetic suffering from neuropathy, Paul Otto was unable to feel the problem brewing in his right foot until it was too late. The infection had spread to his bones and doctors had no choice but to amputate one of his toes. But even then, the infection continued to spread. That’s when the 68-year-old Davidsonville resident was admitted to the hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber at AAMC.
I was the first person in it. I went in there for treatment five days a week for four weeks. For a long time before that, I tried other treatments, but none that provided healing.
That was why I went into the chamber. And that saved my foot, absolutely. The other option I had was to have an amputation of my foot and lower leg.
In the chamber, you’re in a 100 percent oxygen environment under pressure for about an hour. You don’t even feel it. You only feel it to some extent when you’re coming up, when your ears start to crackle, kind of like when you’re in a plane. I do have some claustrophobic tendencies, but I always felt I had plenty of room around me in the chamber. It was probably about three or four feet in diameter, clear plastic, and comfortable.
It takes about 20 minutes to get down to pressure. I would take a nap, watch television or talk to the nurse, Joan, who did all of my compressions. She was just fabulous, absolutely fabulous. Then it took about half hour or forty minutes to decompress.
An oxygen-rich environment does promote healing, and I would tell anyone, if you need it go for it.