And two weeks later….
I spoke too soon.
That day when I said I was getting better, I wasn’t. I ended up back at the hospital last Monday because it just wasn’t getting better. One side was very slowly healing up, while a small part, about the width of a pinky nail, was stubbornly remaining weepy. No matter how many hours I lay flat of the bed with it exposed, five minutes after sitting up, and all my work would be undone. And with feeding a newborn, there was no way I could sit for less than that time feeding.
You want to know the frustrating part about the hospital visit? No one had written down anything about the second antibiotic. Wait, am I getting a bit ahead of myself? Hmmmm… So remember how I received a letter from the hospital saying there was an infection in the wound, a day after I had been there the second time, and they had included a prescription for a new antibiotic? I didn’t fill the prescription because I was already on an antibiotic from the second visit.
Now, I’m no doctor, but my understanding is that you never stop taking an antibiotic mid-course, so I continued taking them. It would never have crossed my mind to switch and take the new prescribed ones. And I assumed (wrongly) that the doctor that (who?) gave the second batch had written them down in my notes, again, wrongly. So I spent most of my third visit to the hospital explaining that no, I hadn’t decided to ignore the prescription they sent, and that there really was a second batch given, I just didn’t remember the name….amo something. And no, not amoxicillin, I’d have remembered that one easily. It turns out I should have taken the third antibiotic too, as it was one specifically targeting the bacteria around the wound, which, once removed, would make healing that much quicker. Well, it would have helped to put that in the letter, no? I little sentence saying We’ve seen you’re already on an antibiotic, take that and then take this one too. Am I right? I guess if someone had bothered their arse writing down that I was already on a second antibiotic, maybe then it would have been included!
They were really very kind and nice and patient but it was so frustrating and just not good enough. The doctor, after examining and probing (ouchie!) the wound) said it would be ridiculous to give me a third antibiotic in as many weeks, so she suggested we try silver nitrate. Of course I agreed! I hate pills. Anything but pills!
So she went off to consult with the registrar just to be sure ( to be sure to be sure, as they add here) and came back with the nitrate silver sticks. She applied two to my stomach (ah-ha-h-ouch!). I asked if it needed a dressing or anything and she said no. just let it air. Again! And to come back in a week if it wasn’t better, but this time it would most certainly be better and it was ridiculous how much I had come in and a third antibiotic would just be overkill and I should see major improvement from now on and, and, and…
But you know, it was closed, it looked good and dry and I was elated. It hurt like the devil, but most importantly it was dry and closed. I was in a great mood that day. Sat outside in the sunshine for a while, went out to the garden with Roz while she played, it was great. I was starting to feel my old self again.
Woke up the next morning and I nearly cried. It was much, much worse. All the little healing that had happened over the last couple of days was gone, with the scabbed skin peeled away, and there was an area below the scar that was red and sore and bleeding. Krys took one look at said,
And I did nearly cry then. I was back to square one. Krys insisted I call the hospital, or we go back in, but I stubbornly said I’d give it a day.
It didn’t do anything. At all. It just stayed the same – red, open, sore. No, wait, I lie. It also got very oozy. I know, TMI, buts seriously. Even sitting up for five minutes would just…*shudder*. So I did what I do when in a jam. I turned to my facebook groups. Someone suggested contacting the Public health nurse (PHN), and others agreed. I spoke to my sister and she said definitely give them a call as they would be quicker and easier than the hospital. So I did.
The PHN was lovely. I described what was wrong over the phone and she immediately said I should come and see her that day. And when I went in, she just listened to everything. And many many times, all we need as humans is just to have someone listen. Krys says I tend to gloss over things and not make them as bad as they are, and I know I do that a lot. I don’t want to cause a fuss, so I edit myself, but I was tired and emotional and just rambled on. Do NOT let yourself get to that stage before you ask for what you need, or for help. Just Don’t. If you take anything from this post it should be that. Because by the time you get to the stage where you’re ready to dissolve into tears and ramble on incessantly, it may be too taxing, or worse, too late.
Luckily it wasn’t. She got me to lie down and had a proper look, jabbing at it to make sure there really was only the surface layer left to heal. She cleaned it with alcohol and wiped out the remaining silver nitrate, saying hmm…perhaps that wasn’t such a good idea but let’s just move on and manage it. She explained that no amount of letting it dry was ever going to dry it out enough to let me heal. It was just at an awkward place and would keep oozing and undoing all the work I did, no matter how long I lay down. Instead, she put on a dressing, (and this stuff is amazing!) that, when in contact with any moisture, would absorb it, keeping my skin dry. I was to change it every second day and she would contact me in a week to see if I needed to come in for a review. And If I was in any way worried, to call in to the clinic and she would be there.
I wanted to hug her. For listening, for explaining, for just being this solid, reliable, person who I knew would be there each time. The hardest thing about the hospital was definitely having to meet a different person each time, and having to explain what the problem was every time. I know they can’t help it and that’s just the way it is, but it is soul destroying. So this was very reassuring.
Changed the dressing on Thursday and Saturday and Yesterday and it’s finally, actually healing. It’s dry. The skin is joined, the area looks healthy. It’s incredible. AND the PHN rang me, as promised, to check if I was okay and how to again let me know I could call in if I needed her to look at it again. Thankfully, I don’t. I would show you before and nearly-after photos but you’d only recoil in horror, so I won’t. But believe me when I tell you I would only wish this on my worst, nastiest enemy…and would hesitate even at that.
here’s to your health definitely being your wealth!