OrioleFan's - Profile page 10 Days post HT
I had my first follow-up with Dr Bernstein today, during which time one of his technicians removed half the staples (every-other staple out). A few removals induced momentary shots of excruciating pain, particularly in the sore areas around the curvature of my skull. The total removal process took about five minutes and about 600 breaths (sounded like I was practicing lamaze); the technician asked if I was going to pass out. I then chilled out.
A few things Dr Bernstein and his technician mentioned:
- Rub-off the remaining scabs and layer of dried skin. Apparently my scalp had more dry skin and scabs because I had been "babying" the grafts post-op. In my defense, had someone placed $16,000 in perishable materials on top of your head, you'd treat it as delicately as your first born child, too. He suggested soaking my head in water, applying petroleum jelly, and then gently massaging the scalp. I executed his instructions this evening and about half the skin and scabs are gone, making for an awkward appearance. The underlying skin is pink -- and hairy! Several hairs came off embedded in the skin slough, a terrifying sight despite Dr Bernstein's forewarning this would happen and assurance it is harmless. One graft site turned into a bright pink dot after the scrub-off, so perhaps that soldier was indeed lost
- The grafts are firmly in-place. According to the Bernstein Medical website, and Dr Bernstein himself, the grafts are firmly in place and cannot be dislodged. Excellent!
- My hair is very fine. In other words, the hair shaft diameter is narrow relative to other people's hair. I suspect he mentioned this to keep my expectations low/reasonable, though he assured me the final result would look natural (albeit thin). No major surprises here, as I always knew my hair was on the finer side.
Pain: On day 8 the dull ache in the donor area was bothering me (particularly along the skull curvature). so I took my second and third Vicodin pills. The ensuing dreams were pretty vivid. Good thing the pills are in limited supply
Redness/pinkness: The skin underneath the flaked-off scabs/dried skin is fairly pink. It's not horrible though, despite my fair complexion.Sleeping: Day 9 I finally slept more normally, i.e. not at a 45-degree angle. It was still difficult to find a comfortable position; I ended up on my side, which was easiest on the staples/donor area.
Scabs/dried skin: As I mentioned, this persisted until this evening. I think the layer of dried skin explains the reduced sensation on the top of my scalp. Now about half of it is off, and I plan to continuing my scalp massages tomorrow to continue the cleanup process.Staples/donor area: The dull ache seems slightly improved over the past day or two; unclear if the half-staple removal helped mitigate the pain.
Side (close-up; a bit blurry)
Top from an angle (indicates extent and depth of skin slough)