I once had a patient who had a very nasty ulcer exactly over one of his ankle bones. A very effective treatment for leg ulcers is Ultrasound, as it helps to get rid of any infection and promotes healing. I was asked to treat the ulcer but because of its location I could not use the ultrasound head directly onto the ulcer. Normally, with awkward sites the treatment was done with the part to be treated immersed in a bowl of water but this patient was very frail and bedridden and so this was not a feasible solution.
Text books suggested that doing untrasound through a water-filled balloon worked well. In this case, I needed to see exactly where I was aiming the untrasound since it is best to avoid running the head over bone and the ankle bone was protruding through the ulcer. So I decided that if I used a plain, water-filled condom I would be able to see exactly which part of the ankle I was treating.
First, catch your condoms!! I put in an order to the government stores. In my innocence I thought that they came three to a packet and to be on the safe side I ordered six packets. Imagine my surprise when the order arrived and I discovered that they came twelve to a packet: And they were the best quality, lubricated variety. So I was the proud possessor of six dozen lubricated condoms.
One of the problems with grease or oil of any sort is that it blocks the untrasonic waves to a degree, so lubricated condoms were the very last thing I needed. OK - not an insurmountable problem - they could be washed.
At that time I was the sole physiotherapist for two hospitals, only metres apart and as the other hospital did not, at that time, have a physiotherapy department, the patients were transported to my department for their treatment. Being a psychiatric hospital I was technically not allowed to be alone with any of the patients and so I had an assistant for each hospital - two delightful and very funny young guys who worked together very well. It was their job to wash the condoms.
Every day they competed to NOT be the one to wash the condom. It had to be filled with water and soaped to clean off the oil. Once it was oil free it was filled with warm water and a knot tied in the open end to seal it. Then we proceded in procession through the Day Hospital to the ward. I needed the help of both guys - one to steady the patient's leg and the other to hold the condom in place: it had to be liberally smeared with contact gel and that tended to make it very slippery.
I lead the procession wheeling the ultrasound machine on its trolley, followed by the designated keeper of the condom for that day cradling the water-filled condom on a clean towel, and all of us trying to keep a straight face and look professional.
After five days of this treatment the results of the patient's swabs came back, it was revealed that he had a staph aureus infection and he was transferred to the large general hospital to which we were affiliated. I was left with five and a half dozen lubricated condoms.
I put a packet per year into the hospital Christmas hamper until they reached their use-by date and the rest found their way into the rubbish bin.