Friday, February 11, 2011

Gaping Wound

After my minor surgery, five stitches were installed onto the skin of my back below my left shoulder blade. Who would have thought that the skin in that location moves so much but it does. Everything from bending over to reaching over to say put on my seatbelt caused the stitches to move a country mile and drag across my shirt sending me a fresh reminder of what had recently transpired. So eight days later when I was within the removal window, I was beside myself with joy.

The removal went well. The male nurse doing the removal commented on how well healed it looked and then before I got redressed, asked if I wanted a band aid. Knowing it would be four days before anyone could remove it, I wasn't too keen on one but asked what his recommendation was. He told me that it would heal better without one and so I put on my shirt without a band aid and went to pick up my daughter at daycare. We went out to eat a bite of supper and then continued on to the family fun night at her preschool where I pretty much stood around talking to other parents while she played with her classmates. Nothing too strenuous.

So it was a big surprise when I was getting ready for bed later and discovered that the back of my shirt was caked in dried blood. I stood at a social situation for two hours bleeding out and not one person asked if perhaps blood coming out of my back was something I might have known about. Perhaps they thought I had murdered my wife, laid in her pool of blood and perhaps forgot to put on a clean shirt? Who knows but I do know that it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what had happened. One look over my shoulder at my backside hide confirmed that it was gaping open.

My first thought was that I needed stitches again and I was concerned that there would be a time limit to get the wound stitched up before it dried out and couldn't be closed again. It had been open for several hours at that point and it would be another twelve before the clinic opened again in the morning. I called doctor wife and explained the situation and her recommendation was to put a band aid on it and call the clinic in the morning. I admit that I tried but a band just wasn't going to happen unless my right arm grew another four inches. I was however able to apply some antibiotic with a long Q-tip and pressing my shoulder against the shower to semi-dislocate/extend my reach a couple more inches. I put on an old red shirt in case I bled out again during the night and slept on a towel in bed. There is absolutely nothing worse for a good night's sleep than to spend it in a pool of your own blood.

The next day, I was the first patient into the clinic at 8:00 only to be told that I needed to be seen by the original doctor and not just any old nurse and thus I had to come back at 9:30. So I went to work with my gaping wound and tried doing some meaningful work and returned at 9:30. There was not a soul in the waiting room so I figured I could get in and out quickly but it wasn't until 10:15 when a nurse finally called me, still the sole person in the waiting room, into one of the procedure rooms and looked at my would. She declared that the male nurse who had removed the stitches should have put some steri-strips on it after removing the stitches and that she would do so and get me sent on my way.

Now after almost two and a half hours of waiting because I needed a 'doctor' to look at my wound, I must have instantly looked like I was about ready to explode at her suggestion that I didn't need a doctor because she almost immediately changed her mind and said that perhaps the doctor needed to look at it first. He soon came in and told her to tape it back together with steri-strips and send me on my way saying it might scar a little more now. Being that I'm married, loosing my hair and gaining a gut, I figured another scar to add to the handful I already own is probably not a big deal anyway and told him to proceed because I really didn't want more stitches.

The nurse was about done cleaning and taping closed my wound when the doctor re-entered the room and said something that I have never heard a doctor say. He told me that they wouldn't charge me for this work and that it would just be considered a post-op visit from last week. I couldn't help but suspect they were worried about me raising a stink or possibly suing. Little did he know that suing him over a little scar on my back that I can't see was probably the furthest thing from my mind.

So here I am with a big wad of tape below my left shoulder blade and my wound again feels like a steak knife was stuck there and forgotten about. I'm guessing it is either from the rubbing alcohol they poured into the wound or the adhesive they had to use to get the band aids to stick to my skin. I was told to just leave the dressing until it falls off which is guaranteed since it was going to be four days before I will see someone willing to pull the band aid off.


R. Sherman said...


How do you not tell someone they're bleeding? Good grief.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sage said...

With that scar, you can tell your grandkids about wrestling with a bear or the wound you received in battle when you saved their grandma or some sort of nonsense :)

TC said...

I can't believe no one told you. Wow. Just wow. What's wrong with people?

Vince said...

I'm flummoxed. I've a problem when I've an itch back there, never mind a gaping hole that needed a cover.

Ron said...

Heh... I laughed so hard it almost ruptured my appendix... nothing worse than coming home from town to find you have blood on your face or elsewhere. :)


geri said...


It is surprising to me how they are concerned about scarring, especially located on your back and you being a grown-up male. I would've understood if it was in the face, or on a female and her legs. But I guess they are required to state that information in case they get sued for non-disclosure or something.

Bone said...

Ugh. The no-one-noticing reminds me of when I busted my head at a basketball game a couple years ago. I was wearing a white cap and sat in the stands at least an hour after hitting my head. When I got to the car there was a huge red splotch clearly visible on my hat.

Also, a female friend of mine had a similar procedure in a similar location last year. From what I gathered from her, be thankful you don't have to wear a bra. Or in your case, a mansierre :)