October 3, 2010

Surgical Healing Itchiness Sucks More Than Poison Oak

I had my stitches removed on Wednesday (10 days post-op?) and was put in a cam boot with explicit instructions for no walking for 2 additional weeks.  No problem, totally do-able.  I was also told to leave the bandages (light gauze wrap w/ thin Ace wrap over) in place until Friday or Saturday, just to allow time for the sutured area to calm a bit... this would have been fine, except that I've had to fight the urge to RIP MY SKIN OFF from all of the itching!!!  Part of this is from the nylon stitches - they slightly healed into my skin and were "ripped" out when they were removed... this is completely normal with surgical incisions.  I've had experience with this sensation before, and have gone so far as to remove my own stitches in order to alleviate the itchiness because I was still a few days away from my follow-up appointment!  Funnily enough - I have lost my appetite for all things grotesque over the past few years.  I think ever since I had my Achilles surgery I've not wanted to tinker with scars and stitches... maybe it's old age settling in (After all, I just hit the big 3-0 yesterday); could also be that I've figured out that there's risk involved in removing my own stitches.  Hmm.   The last knee surgery I had (2001?) was SOOOO itchy that I just had to make the stitches go away - I can remember sitting in my mom's bathroom with a pair of cuticle scissors, tweezers, and some rubbing alcohol and just going to town... NOT this time.  I was a good, compliant patient and let the doc remove the stitches so I didn't have to get a lecture... but I digress...
Anyway, so stitches get super-itchy, and your skin also swells/expands when you have surgery - swelling can do this; plus also the coverings on my skin over the past 2+ weeks prevented the natural shedding/exfoliation of dead skin cells.  Not a lovely thought, but this is the truth.  I've not yet been able to get a good scrub going on my foot because the incisions are still not totally healed - they're valley-like and purply-red - clearly not ready for the apricot/sugar scrub.  *sigh*   So I've been using baby wipes to clean all around my foot.  This works, but it doesn't do much in the way of itch relief.  I want to put some lotion on it, but don't want to get it mucked up in the incisions.  I tried some zinc cream (Ivy-Dry) earlier this evening - itched even worse!!! So off that came with a baby wipe, and now I'm sitting here with an ice pack on it, and I'm pissed.  I want to get some decent sleep tonight, but probably won't because of the itching.  I had a horrid case of poison ivy AND poison oak earlier this year (clear up both arms!!!) and I have to say that the itching on my foot now is about 3x as bad - it's the kind of itching that gets worse when you scratch it; it gets to the point where you literally want to dig a hole in your skin!!   At least the poison ivy/oak itching went away with allergy medicines...  since the crap on my foot is not histamine-based irritation, taking a couple of Benadryl tablets will do nothing to stop the itch (I've already tried); plus I don't think it's a hot idea to mix diphenhydramine with codeine.  Bah.  So here I sit, trying to keep my mind off of the mind-numbingly horrid itchiness that's radiating from my pinky toe to mid-shin.  It's gonna be a fun night...

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