I was standing in the hallway bathroom taking my evening antibiotic when I heard Vlad make a weird noise. After setting the glass back on the counter I moved my right hand down to where the suction comes from the wound vac. I pushed harder and harder, painfully so until Vlad shutup.
I figured once I lay in bed and wasn’t standing or moving around things would get better. But then I crawled carefully into bed. Ahhh no noise. Tucked Vlad under my pillows got situated then the beeping started. I looked at Vlad. Battery alert. I’d forgotten to plug him in. I plugged him in, tucked him back under the pillows, aware that the he had begun growling. Sigh.
The first thing I thought was ‘crap, I let myself run out of all my supplies. I can’t even take Vlad off’ At the same time remembering I’m not allowed to have him off for more than 2 hours (although my doctor told me it was no more than 30 minutes. Ugh). I laid on my left hip and pushed and pushed and pushed until the alarms stopped, the seal alarm ended, the leak alert stopped. I grabbed some draping and sloppily placed it over the top. Slowly I let go and then the alarms began again. I ripped that off then grabbed a roll of tape and just taped stuff everywhere to hold it in place. The pain from pressing down was intense. As soon as I was done with the tape I started to cry. I knew this was not good.
I disconnected from Vlad, went to the bathroom, took pain meds, felt around and decided Vlad could suffer for the night.
Turns out my ability to listen to Vlad struggle and occasionally alarm is small. And at some point I turned him off. The seal still felt good so I thought everything was ok.
Around 3 am I woke, pestered by the knowledge I couldn’t go anywhere with Vlad not in place. I grabbed my phone off the nightstand and sent an email to my ex-boyfriend. Considering we hadn’t been speaking and he’s been gone camping but had just come back, I knew my only option to get to work and have help was if I could possibly get someone at my place to fix Vlad ASAP. Despite my insistence that I won’t be calling or emailing or relying on him.
He arrived before 6. I was in near hysterics as Vlad was not going to go quietly into that good night. In the time I shut him off I had drained from my wound a huge amount while lying on my back. At some point I rolled over onto my stomach and leaked even more. When I realized I was lying between two puddles of body fluids, it brought me back to the times in the hospital when I’d have a leak out and drain everywhere and freak out.
For what it’s worth, the ex was calm and cool and I directed him to get a new pack of foam and scissors. The draping comes with the foam so that was my only way to get enough to possibly cover the area The draping is a complicated 3 part tape. He ended up replacing the vacuum tube because the other was too saturated. He did a pretty good job, took a picture with my phone and I realized he’d left part of the tape dressing on. Not wanting to criticize him I said it was fine and as long as it stayed attached, things would be ok. I whined about the fact I had JUST changed the sheets the day before and he knows that I have a thing about clean sheets but it’s also one of the worst demanding physically jobs on my body. He told me to get a cup of coffee, take a shower and relax, he would deal with the sheets. Post shower, the bed was made up nicely, all the throw pillows in place. However afterwards he looked at Vlad and the tape was coming off. Already.
We decided to let my skin air dry for a bit so we drank coffee and talked with the most cheerful of news on in the background. I got prepared for work.
Part 2…another set of foam and draping. This time he wiped my skin with alcohol soaked gauze (not unlike the stuff they use at Wound Care. My skin was raw and angry and bitter. He pushed on it, he had the draping laid on, he pushed that the second I plugged it in, it shot to 175 mmhg (mmhg refers to a unit of pressure), which is 25 mmhg over my standard of 150. All the pushing he was doing in an effort to make things right was too much, the pain was killing me. I said something about that and he made a comment that he “is better than the nurses because I’m not afraid to hurt you.” I figure he probably enjoyed it.
In the end he realized he hadn’t taped me right the first time, then he did a bang up job and Vlad was happy. Happyish, I should say.
We left and I felt guilty I had diverted him from his job and made him wake up early to come play nurse maid and change my sheets. Bonus, I get angry because the plunger on the wall of the entrance/exit of my apartment rarely operate the supposed ‘accessible’ doors. When we were leaving, he pushed the plunger on the wall and nothing happened so he popped the button off, looked at the card inside and said “stupid people, this is set wrong.” He changed a setting and the door opened. He repeated that in the vestibule. I’ve been whining about the doors for ages, and he fixed it in no time. I just didn’t want him to get caught, even though he wasn’t breaking something, he was fixing it, he certainly wasn’t authorized to be doing stuff like that.
I was at work all of an hour before Vlad started going insane. I was tired, angry and my pants were soaked. I finally turned him off, and after sitting there trying to get work done, left at lunch to go to Walgreens and stock up on wound care supplies. Came home, stripped my gross wet pants off, and I mean we’re talking a huge amount of wet pants, my entire hip and half my ass. Ick.
I ended up waking up late this morning for my wound care appointment, but I made it in the nick of time. I had my dressing on from the previous afternoon which, btw…bad form. Bad bad girl. I had slipped on a dress quickly and the hip was soaked by the time I got to the hospital.
One of the nurses laughed when she saw what I had done to myself in the way of bandaging. She didn’t even have to ask. I fessed up to what we’d done. The fact is, the wound is in a precarious place. Simple fact. I’m just going to have to be prepared everywhere I go I suppose.
The upside: in the hours since the ex bandaged me up where my skin was so inflamed and raw and this morning it had time to heal up without the draping on. Also there was measurable difference in the wound internally and the cysts I’d started growing that were getting worse seem to be getting better.
I did fail the food test. While I ate over the weekend when I had company, and man did I eat – I probably gained 10 pounds. I ate a grand total of 5 chicken nuggets, half a cup of coffee, and a half a diet coke yesterday. Today has not been much better. I’m about to go suck back a bunch of protein drinks because I can’t even stomach the idea of food right now. Despite having a better appointment today, I feel really sad and weepy.
Also I wonder if there’s a correlation between Vlad issues and me being exhausted. It seems like when I have issues I can barely function, I’m so exhausted. I’ll literally just fall asleep, sitting standing, whatever. Anyway that’s enough drivel for now. I haven’t talked to the ex since so he clearly isn’t expecting anything in return for his medical services. Times like this I wish I were married or something. Married to a supportive man, that is. I just don’t have it in me as I look at the pile of dirty laundry, the medical issues. Just got nothing left. Hell, no wonder I’m weepy.