Dear Commenters,

Thank you so much for your kind words and excellent, excellent advice. You have each been a positive influence on the energy surrounding me and reading your thoughts has been the uplifting part of my otherwise emotionally heavy week.

Fondly – OzMud
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 Sunday 30 August 2009

My new morning routine is to wake up at 6am, down coffee and a quick breakfast, take my daily meds, check emails, scan blogs, then make sure my 85 year old father-in-law is settled for the day. I’m in the taxi by 7:45 am and at the hospital by 8 am. I take fresh coffees up to the room for myself and spouse from the hospital kiosk. We read the paper together while waiting for the doctors to make their rounds. We wait for the nurse to say he can get into the shower where the bandage is removed, the bedding changed and the cart set up for the packing change.

I’m learning how to change the packing as there may be a time when I’m the only one available to remove and repack the betadine-soaked packing gauze. Spouse is really against my ever having to do this and I’m not wild about the idea but – it’s important to know I can. You never know what life’s going to toss onto your plate next. So I watch, ask questions, participate and learn.

We won’t know until tomorrow at the earliest which staphylococcus strain we are dealing with, but regardless, the carbuncle will need to be repacked daily for a minimum of two weeks (and this, I’m told, is a very optimistic time-line). Smaller carbuncles, caught much earlier have been known to need daily packing for as long as eight weeks.

Carbuncles, whatever their size, consist of a pocket of pus on top of a layer of dead tissue. Rather like a toxic muffin. The surgeon makes an incision, drains the pocket and scrapes away the dead tissue. The conditions which create carbuncles are more common among diabetics, but they can happen to anyone. The really crap news is, once you have a carbuncle, you are predisposed to having another. For life.

Carbuncles in general, are the product of a combination of things going wrong. A weakened immune system coupled with a condition like diabetes or a virus, plus a skin irritation as simple as an ingrown hair follicle or as complex as a small wound never allowed to scab over enough to heal properly creates the recipe for this disaster.

I’d planned on giving a really serious lecture on the subject of personal habits and their consequences but I’ve decided to just post the photos.

This is a mere ten days out of our lives all because my husband has the nervous habit of picking at a scab, thinking it’s an innocent enough habit that should be his business and nobody else’s. Boy did he get that wrong.

Pay attention. This can happen to anyone. Even you.

First dressing change at home after initial visit to GP:

One week later it’s enlarged and GP sends us to  local emergency.

The incision after surgery.

3-5 rolls of betadine-soaked gauze pack the wound daily.

Spouse gave me permission to post these photos – as long as I promised he absolutely didn’t have to look at them himself until after he was fully recovered. He said it was bad enough hearing us all discussing it while he was face down on the bed and that he was quite happy to leave the actual graphic imagery to those of us with stronger stomachs.

Class dismissed 🙂

To comment on this post please scroll back to the title: Small Interruption – Update: Surgery (extremely graphic images) and click the word comments just beneath.  Thanks, OzMud