OK, this is a little more TMI than usual... I hope your sitting down.
This last Wednesday (man, it seems like a week has gone by already) , the wound on my hip split open. My doctor took my stitches out the Wednesday (on the 13th) before and said he thought there was fluid in it and to not be surprised if it did open up. So I immediately called and made an appointment. He cleaned it out, packed it with gauze and told me to come back next Wednesday, on the 27th.
Well, yippee skippy... Last night after grocery shopping for Christmas dinner, I noticed that the smaller incision was starting to come loose to. So naturally, last night I about had a nervous break down.
I was a Licensed Vocational (or Practical) Nurse for 11 years. I know what a wound looks like, and what an incision should look like over 2 weeks postoperative. I know that wounds can open. I often assisted with minor procedures like the ones I had as a Corpsman (medic) in the Navy, and I helped close wounds on occasion when the doctor decided to let us have some suturing practice (suturing is something you need to be able to do in the field). I guess the fact that I started bawling like a 2 year old might have taken my husband by surprise seen as I have all this medical experience.
My problem is that I am a control freak by design, not so much over people but more over circumstance. I have this need for control, and I know it has everything to do with my childhood...so the fact that I have not one, but two gaping wounds on my person is a bit of a problem for me. Sobbing last night I told my husband that he knows how I am, and he nodded, and then I said , "You've seen how I get if there are ants in the house! But at least you can kill ants, what am I supposed to do about this?"
Nothing. There isn't a thing I can do. I did what I could do, which was make an appointment this morning. When I took the packing out this morning the wound on my hip didn't look normal, so it was a good thing I made an appointment. I went in, he cleaned out both wounds- paying particular attention to the larger one on my hip. I told him my concerns. I could see a light bulb went off in his head, he now realized why I seemed so uptight. He realized that I have the Burden Of Knowledge.
He remarked that I looked run down. He also said that it is unusual for wounds to open like that, and I said that I knew, that was why I was so worried. I told him that I have had 2 sick kids off and on for the last 3 months, that I believed my immune system was compromised, and that yes- I did feel run down. I have been very tired lately. He agreed that the stress of sick kids, and the perpetual germ fest was to blame for my poor healing, and that Christmas coming up probably didn't help. My doctor then did his best to assure me that even though it would take at least 3 weeks for my wounds to close, not to worry.
Now, I am doing something that is very hard for me... giving up control. I have to take a breath and realize I need to stop freaking out! It's just so hard being on the other side of the hospital bed. I have done hundreds of dressing changes in my life, I never thought it would be me. I have seen about everything there is to see in medicine... OK maybe not that much, but I have seen a lot. Even though I prided myself on being a very compassionate nurse, and really listening to my patient... this brings things to a whole new light.
I am wondering if this is another life lesson I needed, maybe I am supposed to be a nurse after all.
It's food for thought.
Speaking of food, I am giving up control over Christmas dinner, too. My husband and I aren't big turkey people, and Thanksgiving is more than enough for us once a year, let alone a month later. I was going to make us chicken enchiladas, but now I know I need to take it easy. Standing on my feet all day making dinner on Christmas isn't a good idea, so I called the MIL. I have relinquished my control and guess what she has decided to make?
You guessed it, turkey.