It all comes out in the wash…it all evens out in the end…we’ve all heard various forms of this expression, I’m sure. Seeing as such a platitude is often tossed around when things seem unfair, it’s not always satisfactory to hear. And seeing as it often takes a long time for the wash to finish or for things to even out, we don’t often get to acknowledge this balance because we’ve forgotten what seemed unfair in the first place. But when things do balance out quickly, it’s pretty fun and I think it’s important to take note of it. I am lucky enough to have had two opportunities within two hours today where my wash cycle finished and things came out nice and clean!
And now for some medical fun facts. A common problem with feeding tubes is granulation tissue building up around the stoma (the stoma is the opening where the tube enters your digestive tract). Normally, granulation tissue is a good thing as it means the wound is healing over. With feeding tubes, however, granulation tissue is not so good. Since the stoma can’t actually close over because of the tube in it, the tissue grows outwards from the site….kind of like a doughnut…except it’s a red, puffy, uncomfortable, bleeding doughnut. From what I understand, if not treated the granulation tissue will just keep growing. Glamorous, right?
Granulation tissue is treated by applying silver nitrate to burn it off. Just about two weeks ago I had an appointment with the home health care nurses (who by the way are incredibly helpful and so lovely) and they applied the silver nitrate for me. Unfortunately, when I was changing my dressing the next day I discovered that the silver nitrate had burnt through the skin that my stitch was in. The stitch is what holds my feeding tube in place…so kind of important.
That evening I spent six and a half hours in Eagle Ridge Hospital emergency waiting to get the stitch put back in. A lot of critical cases came in that night and the wait for us ‘walking wounded’ (their term, not mine) was very long. After four hours I was completely exhausted and ready to abandon ship, but when you’ve already been waiting so long it seems like a waste of time to just go home. By the time I finally did get home it was midnight and I felt like it was an injustice that people had to wait so long. I understood that it was an unusually busy night but the over-tired side of me didn’t care.
Since the initial silver nitrate application, my granulation tissue has proved to be exceptionally stubborn and refuses to just go away. I’ve had it burnt off several more times by the nurses and it continues to put up a good fight. Really, I shouldn’t be too surprised as my skin has always been special…and by special I mean stupidly sensitive. I have been known to randomly break out in hives if it’s really cold outside. I’ve applied face creams at night and woken up with my eyes swollen shut. I’ve gone on stage at a dance competition a blotchy splotchy mess after my group decided to apply roll on glitter to our cheeks and my skin protested. I could go on…
Anyways, the doctor who stitched me up in the ER said I needed to follow-up with my surgeon. Yesterday I spent almost an hour waiting to see him and when I finally did the appointment lasted about two minutes. I explained about my problems with granulation tissue and the silver nitrate burning through the stitch, and he looked at my site and told me I had granulation tissue and that he would treat it with silver nitrate…news to me…not. He apparently went silver nitrate happy because lo and behold when I was changing my dressing this morning I discovered that the stitch was no longer through my skin. A two minute appointment and I was now in the same position that had sent me to the ER in the first place! I was not the happiest of campers.
Then things turned around.
This afternoon I had a great appointment with my family doctor. A lot has happened since I saw her a month ago, and she spent a good thirty minutes with me going over everything. She actually listened to my updates, concerns and questions, and she didn’t make me feel rushed at all. My appointment yesterday was not what I had hoped, but my doctor today made up for it.
As lovely as she was, she didn’t have the right kind of sutures and couldn’t stitch my tube back in. Just eleven days after my last visit, I was back in the ER this evening. After my last experience I was preparing myself for a long night of waiting around. To my surprise I was in and out within an hour! This is probably the most exciting part of my week. But wait, it gets even better. The nurse gave me a couple of drain sponges and dressings to take home! Not only did my unintentional collection of hospital bracelets grow, but my intentional collection of medical supplies did as well! A quick ER visit and free dressings? You might think I’m being sarcastic, but in all seriousness I am thrilled!
So it all came out in the wash. Yesterday I had a bad appointment and today I had a great one. Last time I waited for ages in the ER and today was short and sweet. If I actually took the time to stop and think about negative experiences I’ve had in the past I know I would be able to come up with opposites to them, but I don’t take enough time to do that. That’s why I love that twice today my recent negative experiences were balanced out by incredibly positive ones. It was a great reminder for me that things really do even out with time. Next time I feel like the situation just isn’t fair, I’m going to try and remember today, take a step back and breathe. It all comes out in the wash. Oh how I love having clean clothes!