A FUNNY MOMENT IN A NOT-SO-FUNNY CONVERSATION
NURSE DANA: You need some nurse friends in your life.
ME: Actually, my one nurse friend is going to be in California with me this weekend for that event i was telling you about.
NURSE DANA: Oh, good! You can tell her to push it in your hole.
ME (suppressing laughter…sort of): Okay, Nurse Dana, I will make sure to tell Nikita to ‘push it in [my] hole.’
I almost want to leave the blog entry on that note … but i understand the whole point of this blog is to keep all of you updated so that your feelings don’t get hurt when i refuse to answer the same questions you send my way via text, email, phone call, or face-to-face. So…
I went to see Dr. Dhillon today. He’s my wound care specialist doctor, the one i was checking in with when i had those 40 sessions of HBO therapy. On Monday, when I saw Dr. Walsh, she advised me to schedule an appointment with him this week because, at this point, she is limited in what she, a reconstructive surgeon, can do about my wound. It still won’t close. Even with no implant in there and a – what, sixth? – attempt at closing it with stitches, it continues to break free from the sutures and expose itself. Every time it opens, it
* leaves me susceptible to getting another infection there (staph, MRSA, etc.)
* prolongs my 10-pound weight restriction
* prevents me from being cleared to exercise again
* delays the 6-month recovery period that Dr. Walsh insists on before we can attempt any new types of reconstruction on the right side
* leaves me even more disgusted with my body – and, by extension, myself.
Dr. Dhillon took out the remaining sutures (“Why are these even here? They’re not doing anything. I’m taking them out.”). He took pictures and measurements. He shoved a long-handled cotton swab inside this now-gaping hole and moved it all around, discovering that there is a pocket in there beneath my skin that is about 8 cm all around.
“Here’s the thing,” he tells me, and he proceeds to explain to me how our skin has layers like an onion. “When Dr. Walsh took out the entire implant, the top layer of tissue was supposed to collapse onto the next layer of tissue, kind of like how one layer of an onion folds directly on top of the next layer. That’s not happening. I’m going to need to talk to Dr. Walsh to see what we can do, at this point.”
“Well, Dr. Walsh told me to come see you because she doesn’t know what to do.”
“I don’t either. I need to talk some ideas out loud with her and get some feedback before i can determine our next step. Come back and see me in a week.”
In the moment, i was frustrated, but i suppose i should be grateful that a doctor is willing to be humble enough to admit when he doesn’t know something. He could have just pulled some random idea out of his ass and presented it with confidence, and i wouldn’t have known any better. This is one of those “The universe is testing your patience” moments; i know it is.
Before i left, he plugged up the hole with this antimicrobial strip of material that folds over like an accordion and functions like a tampon. Now that there is an actual hole in my body, there is so much fluid coming out that it soaks through my post-surgery sports bras, gauze, and padding – all the way through to my shirt if i don’t change out the gauze every couple hours.
“Change this out every time you take a shower. Use the tip of the cotton swab to push in the strip a little bit at a time, and then make sure you leave some hanging outside the hole – so you can pull it out later.”
“Dr. Dhillon, i can’t even look at or touch that part of my body right now. Even when i’m washing myself, i just squirt some antiseptic in that general area and hope it hits the right spot.”
“I’m going to need you to try. If you absolutely can’t do it, just put the strip on top of the hole … but then every time you lean or move to the right, you’re going to have fluid coming out of there.”
“Leaking fluid doesn’t go with my dress for the fundraising event, Dr. Dhillon.”
“Then try. I’ll see you in a week.”