I've been de-stitched. Finally got to see Dr. Adams Thursday afternoon last week, where he pronounced my progress as very good, and then instructed his surgical RN to remove my stitches. You may remember what they looked like, here's a link to that last photo, if not.
I was to have my stitches out 3 days prior to that at an appointment that was scheduled for Monday morning, but Dr. Adams had an emergency surgery. My second surgery took place on Thursday evening, Feb. 21st, so Monday, March 3rd, would have been 11 days from surgery... I believe it's most common to have the stitches removed within 7 to 10 days from surgery. So March 6th was 14 days from surgery... and since I heal more quickly than people typically heal, the stitches were well healed into my skin. Removing them apparently also required the removal of a good bit of flesh that was holding them in... the pain was pretty intense. And for a couple of silly reasons, I forgot to take pain meds when we left the house and didn't take any with me. So the whole ripping out the stitches thing was done without the helpful, numbing effect of pain killers. Shit.
The RN put butterfly stitches on, but they lasted about a day and a half. The thing is, my incision is like a crevice. I believe there's still some swelling in the area, it feels like it anyway. But the incision definitely is like a long indentation... like a butt crack. Sweet, huh. Back to the butt crack on my neck. I don't know if it's like this because the 2nd surgery incision was directly over the 1st incision or what. Anyway, here's what it looks like now, sans stitches. And since that photo doesn't show the crevice effect very well, here's a side view. It's itching like crazy still. The good news is, though, that I don't have to wear a dressing or bandage over it now. Relief! But isn't that big hole there at the bottom just lovely? I think I'll be ending up with some strange scars.
And speaking of scars, I expect I'll have some on my left arm from this adventure, as well... the PICC line and tubes and bandages are really doing a number on me.
Isn't that a pretty site?... The PICC line dressing gets changed once each week, and it's due for a change tomorrow, so this photo shows it at its worst. Part of the cleaning and sanitizing process of the dressing change is using that stuff that turns your skin yellow. Usually that fades, but it's still showing under the PICC dressing. And do you see around the PICC dressing the red lines where other dressings were? My skin there is so sore. Also, right where the PICC line goes into my skin/vein, there's no protection, and I keep bumping it... a slight bump on a pillow makes it hurt, so it's kind of red and bruised. And the parts of the line where everything gets hinged or hooked in, right near the bend of my elbow, gets pushed into my skin so much that it's like one big sore spot. The extension, which is the tubing that I've got attached to my arm with bandaids, is necessary so that I can hold the end of it to screw in the various IVs. I try to keep the bandaid spots varied so I'm not always bandaging the same spots... because they get raw after a while. I can't use paper tape or clear tape now, because so much of it was used on me earlier in January that I developed an allergy to it, and it makes my skin red & raw and itches like holy heck. The bandaids were such a blessing of relief.
My blood pressure has been so high the past few days that the home nursing company called and almost sent a nurse out today to check on me. I've had the flu on top on of all of this... and since it hit me late Saturday, I'm pretty sure I got it while we were out and about to Dr. Adams' office Thursday. Hit me like a ton of bricks by Sunday and I don't remember much of anything of Monday. That's what made my BP go up. That and pain. I still felt pretty awful this morning, but Kev helped...
Thank goodness for Kevin. I do not know what I would do without that man. He got me up and into the shower today and then helped me with the morning vanco, made me toast for breakfast and vanilla Activia with some of our frozen blueberries in it. We watched the 2-hour finale of October Road, and then he got my butt outside for some fresh air and a nice walk. I felt the best I have felt in days and days.
I've also made a change today in my antibiotics. I take the vancomycin twice per day, usually 7:30am and 7:30pm or so. I take the meropenem, or Invanse, once a day, and I've been taking that directly following my morning vanco. The thing is, though, that I get so sleepy afterwards, that I can't keep my eyes open and usually end up sleeping until almost noon. Shoots the whole morning. Kev and I talked about it today, and without consulting anyone, I took Kev's advice and I switched to taking the Invanse after my evening dose of vanco. I'm very sleepy as I finish this post... so it's working. Off to bed for me... I'm hoping this will be one of the last updates I post on this surgery & infection adventure of mine. I also hope I won't be such a whiny-ass... but this home-bound thing is making me crabby. Three and a half more weeks to go.
So to make up for the whining and the crabbing, here's a photo of our beautiful Reilly...