Friday, January 18, 2013

10 Days at Home

Today I washed my hair for the second time this year. Seventeen days ago, I went into surgery fully expecting them to shave my head. I came out with a nearly intact head of floppy hair and a warning that I was not to wash it until two days after the staples came out. That’s today. And what a glorious day it has been!

 I have thought many times about writing an update but have been waiting for something truly momentously blog-worthy to happen. Today was the day. My head feels so nice. I feel clean. Now for an update on everything that has happened since the last post. 

I just wrote the MRI-ALARM post. That was blog-worthy... don’t know why I haven’t written it before... lol... anyway, here’s the last 10 days, after coming home on Tuesday afternoon, in a nutshell.

For the week after coming home, I moved between the couch, the bed, the spa, the lawn-chair and the toilet. Each of these resting points served their purpose well. In the hospital I was always propped up (the bed was motorized) so that my head was much higher than my feet. This kept my head from thumping. When I arrived home, I quickly realised that I wasn’t going to be laying down flat for awhile. I have yet to sleep laying down. The two most comfortable places to sleep are sitting up on the couch and in bed with four pillows carefully placed to sit me up. When I am in the right position, I sleep very well.

I take pain medication every four hours. Sometimes I sleep too long and wake up with an absolutely smashing headache. I guess having your skull drilled into has it’s downsides! In the hospital the nurses arrived every four hours with my meds. At home, I thought I would just take Panadol when my head hurt. Bad idea! Taking Panadol BEFORE my head hurts is much wiser. It didn’t take long to figure that out!

Saturday afternoon I noticed my head-wound was oozing. It had been dry for more than a week. And now it was — ‘flowing’ might be a better word — oozing. We called the nurse hotline and she recommended we go to the doctor. Dad took me to the Maroondah Hospital emergency room and, after a brief (lol) wait, I saw a doctor. He said the wound looked very good. No reddness. No swelling. The oozing was safe and to be expected. The staples were holding. He cleaned and dressed the wound. Then he did two things for me that made the trip to the hospital worth it — VERY worth it. First, he prescribed me a course of anti-infection medicine to make sure everything stayed healthy. Second, he told me Panadol and Nurofen work independently and can be used together or overlapping. You can take 4 lots of 2 panadol a day. And you can take 3 lots of 2 Nurofen every day. I was thrilled. Since that night I take 2 of one, then four hours later 2 of the other. I have had a few times where I’ve gone up to seven hours. The headache is getting less as the days go by.

Wednesday morning I got my staples out. That was amazingly painless. After taking 12 out, the nurse asked if I know how many there were. I said 14 and she said she could only find 12. She cleaned the scabs a bit (the doctor had told her not to clean the scabs away) and found the other two. I’m not sure if it was the staples or the idea of them, but since they have come out the wound hurts less. I used to get stabbing sensation in the wound. Now I don’t. 

So, goodbye staples! Thanks for holding my brains in!

Today, after washing my hair twice and blowdrying the hair and wound (doctors orders!) I got out the electric shaver and made the other side and back of my head match. Now my head looks and feels quite normal. My hair flops quite effectively over the undercut all the way around. You can’t see the wound unless I lift my hair away, or the wind blows. 

It is truly amazing what doctors can do. They’ve gone in, taken the tumour, sewed up the hole and predicted everything that would come afterward... more about that in the next post!

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