March 20, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers


This may not be a comfortable post for many to read. Proceed at your own risk.

The Significant Other went in again for surgery on Saturday Morning: something went boom with her bartolon's gland, and the infection spread from "stem to stern". so to speak. End result: a four-inch, T-shaped incision and being sent home with gauze packed in under the gluteus maximus on her left side. Last time, she had the sister-in-law come over to help her remove the gauze (I was at work) in case of difficulties, but there were no problems. It felt weird taking about a foot of stuffing out, but not painful. About 24 hours after the surgery, the bleeding will have (hopefully) stopped so the gauze can come out and let the body finish healing itself.

This time was a little different.

She ran a good, hot sitz bath, and started tugging, but pain forced her to quit after a minute or so. The difference between incidents was that last time, the gauze was placed entirely inside the gland, meaning there was no contact with blood and thus no scabbing and few exposed nerves. Saturday's surgery, on the other hand, involved cleaning out an infected area that had expanded, washing it clean, and pressing the gauze to a raw wound.

In any case, she called me in to help, and we worked out a system where I would pull out strips of fabric on her second exhalation until she told me to stop.

That happened often.

You know what it's like pulling off a Band-Aid(tm), right? Well, instead of pulling adhesive off your skin, imagine you were pulling it off a scab, one that had grown through the adhesive. Now imagine that it was being pulled out from inside your body, underneath the muscle, through an incision that was about two inches from your labia, running backward. Think you've got it so far?

Now imagine that the gauze is a strip six feet long.

After two hours of torturing my wife, we were both utterly exhausted and mentally wiped. We managed about four feet of material, but had no idea how much was left; and frankly the hospital had better drugs than we did (thank you, adavan!), so we went.

The doctor there did what had to be done, and I would never have been allowed to do: exactly what you are supposed to do with Band-Aids(tm). Grab and pull.

As a stranger, and one who is an expert, she was in a position to assume authority. I, on the other hand, am an equal to my beloved, and we each negotiate what we can do to the other; unfortunately, I was in a position of ignorance which really doesn't help with the argument: "Yes, it's an agonizing pain, but it's for the best!"

And now the Significant Other's next appointment with the surgeon is tomorrow, and she's going to have a little something to say about letting amateurs remove gauze without telling them anything of what to expect from the experience.

On the plus side, she's slept about twice as much as I have over the past few nights, which is a refreshing change for a baker.

I, on the other hand, need some sleep.


posted by Thursday at 5:06 pm


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