Friday, July 2, 2010

Stock in 3M

So I've been thinking... maybe my husband and I should support ourselves financially.  By taking out stock in 3M.  You know, the company that makes VetWrap.  I use a roll every day.  For my leg.  Speaking of leg... I think it's time I quit hiding it and post an update.

This is what it looks like all wrapped up the way it's supposed to be.  VetWrap comes in a lot of colors, by the way.  In case you were curious.  I use the VetWrap for the fact that it creates and maintains even tension.
Underneath the VetWrap, I have an ace bandage.  Not a regular one - one that is twice as long as normal.  It holds my foot in alignment, at least most of the time.  It would not be adequate without the VetWrap though.  The tension, if left as you see it below, would migrate and slip, and would fail to control the swelling or assist with circulation.
Underneath all that ace bandage, I have a hefty layer of 6-ply gauze.  I'm not actually oozing or bleeding or anything.  But the gauze is important.  I have learned how to carefully fold it so that it provides padding and also some protection in the instance of shearing pressure over the graft.  Plus, I can gob massive amounts of aquaphor underneath it, and keep everything soft and happy.
The final thing that stands between my leg and the world at large is Aquaphor.  Maybe I should take out stock in Beiersdorf Inc. (the makers of Eucerin and Aquaphor) too.  I use great gobs of it on my graft site every morning and night.  It is, according to the plastic surgeon, the most important thing I can do for the graft.  Keeping it soft helps to gain thickness, prevents it from splitting and causing major issues, and enables it to stretch a little if it is bruised, instead of breaking open.
Okay, this next one is the one that embarrasses me.  Please no mocking.  But also, please don't look away.  I'm not trying to engender sympathy, not trying to say "poor me."  I'm trying to say... be careful.  What you see below is the result of a relatively small self-inflicted cut on my shin.  It got infected.  The bacteria was resistant to treatment and ate away a LOT of flesh, including some important blood vessels and a nerve.  It also inflamed the lining on my tibia, which caused enough internal swelling to significantly damage the interior nerve.  I have no sensation below that ugly hole, short of some intermittent tingling that cannot be interrupted.  Irritating.  But, I am blessed.  The infection nearly took my life.  I am not only alive, but I can walk.  On my own leg.  It looks pretty stupid, but it is attached and mostly functional.  The surgeon was able to move around existing muscles to make up for the loss of one of my shin muscles.  That's why the graft looks so lumpy - the muscles are still settling into their final positions, and are bulking up a little unevenly.  I expect it to improve over time.
Anyway. for the curious, this is an update on how my leg is doing.  I have some big leg-related news pending right now... I will post when the time is right.  Meanwhile, I hope this answered your questions. 

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