Thursday, August 26, 2010

The stand-up-straight moment

When we were at Dr. Nissen's office last Thursday his nurse practitioner, Honore, asked if I had had my stand up straight moment. After I gave her a puzzled look, she explained that most post- surgery patients tended to walk bent over for a while until they felt confident enough that healing was truly progressing to stand up straight. I knew what she meant, though I couldn't recall such a precise moment. In the first few days after surgery, with about 30 staples in my belly, it felt rather as if there were a fairly heavy weight on my belly, hanging on the outside. Strange sensation. I know the staples weren't that heavy, but it really felt as if there were something like triple the weight there. Although I tried to walk upright and straight, there was a strong tendency to walk bent over. I think my stand-up-straight moment came gradually, with me consciously trying to stand up straight from early on. Only later did it seem as if it didn't require such a conscious effort.

Another moment came early this week. I've mentioned that I had an open wound after Dr. Nissen pulled about half my staples out before leaving Cedars, revealing a sack or hole under the staples that would have stayed if he hadn't removed the staples (it looked like a piece of raw prime rib sliced). Jen packed the wound and dressed it faithfully until the depression was almost gone and it seemed superfluous (maybe a couple of days before ideal, but what did we know?). Since then there had been a pronounced scab on part of the wound that got a little smaller every day but stayed for several weeks. Dr. Nissen suggested rubbing Neosporin on it to soften it, so that's what I did. On Monday, somewhat softened, it simply fell off, leaving behind no sign of its presence, not even a spot that was darker pink than the rest of the scar. That's when I felt the healing was virtually complete. The scar, especially the part under the old scab, is still a little tender when I stretch, but it's starting to feel as if normality is just around the corner.

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