Saturday, July 10, 2010

Post-op Pictures

For the squeamish, I recommend you forgo reading this post.  I'm going to post photos of my incisions with and without the staples.  I've had friends on FB say they can't handle seeing them. So you have been warned my sensitive readers.

Here is my zipped head... There were 30 staples in there.  And not too much hair removed! :)  My husband did an amazing job of taking care of my and my incisions until I was able to take care myself.  He washed my hair - with baby shampoo folks.  It's recommended for post-op on some Chiari websites and I decided it would be good advice to follow.  I first had my hair washed 6 days after surgery, and since then every 2nd day.  The bandages were off after 7 days.  As a precaution we were told to leave them on until we had travelled safely home.  First I didn't want to freak out any passengers who could see my neck beneath my scarf, and second for cleanliness reasons. 

Dr. Gentili's staff did a very good job closing me up.  The staples were mostly nice and tight.  My leg had 22 or 24 staples.  Because some were doubled up it was a little hard to tell.  I can see my leg scar if my leg is in certain positions.  I still cannot look straight down and see my feet or belly, but it is improving.  I turn my head every day from side to side and up and down gently to teach the muscles to move again.  Having been through shoulder surgery twice I know about relearning to do things that atrophied muscles have forgotten.

Post-staple removal:  OMG!!! My dear old family doctor took out the staples in my head first, along with a handful of my hair, and not the short, growing in hair - the permanent stuff! OUCH!!! And because some of the staples were doubled like the ones on my leg he had to take 2 at a time.  And because they were tight against my skull it was difficult to lift them.  His office was hot and stuffy and there was a 1000 watt light shining on me.  Between the heat and the discomfort I nearly passed out.  Thank heavens my husband was there with me and held me up, literally, from passing out.  But my doctor was happy with the incision and the healing to date.  Said it looked really good and he had no concerns over the couple little spots that had sort of lifted when he pulled the staples.
Removing the staples from my leg hurt less than the ones from my head, but it was still uncomfortable.  But, it was over.  My leg incision opened up a little after my first shower a couple days later so hubby taped it over with steri strips to make the incision lie flat again.  It doesn't look too bad today.

Of all of the pain and everything I have been through with the surgery, recovery and staple removal, I'd say the staple removal was the most uncomfortable so far.  But, it lasted the least amount of time!  

I'm really tired today, but I am also weaning myself off of morphine.  I have not had a pressure headache that has lasted more than a couple hours and was only 1 or 2 / 10 since the surgery.  My legs have gone numb once or twice, but it also didn't last.  My thinking and speaking are much clearer, even on morphine.  Yeah, the tinnitus is still in my left ear, but it doesn't seem as loud sometimes, which is great!  Plus it is gone from my right ear.  I know, just about 3 weeks post op I still have a ton of healing to do.  Heck, I still lie down 2 or 3 times a day.  But I'm feeling better recovering than I did before surgery.  I have started to walk twice a day again and average about a mile combined.  I'm feeling good.  Surgery is not a cure, but it has definitely given me a lot of hope that in time my life will come back to normal.

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