How about another update on Chris?

Chris had a follow-up appointment in Iowa City yesterday. They removed the staples (between 3-4 dozen), which was a pleasant experience as you can imagine. :)  They also examined the grafts and said that everything looks "just as it should". It looks worse, but it's actually better. Does that make sense?  Pictures are at the way bottom of this post, as usual.

The dressings are different from here on out. We have to put Vaseline on gauze or an alternative material (they suggested pillowcases or something of similar material...I think I'm going to buy a new set of sackcloth towels and cut them into strips), then lots of Bacitracin (double antibiotic ointment) and put that on the graft sites. The antibiotic ointment is for obvious reasons and can be discontinued once the area has "healed" (a couple of small areas are close already!),  and the Vaseline prevents the area from drying and it also makes the area more pliable instead of "tight". Then over that we put some tight-fitting "socks" that go down around his heels but let his toes stick out. The reason they have to go over most of his feet is because otherwise his feet could lose circulation and/or swell.

Chris is like a new man today, let me tell you. In fact, when I walked in the house after bringing Pierce to his testing location, Chris was in the kitchen walking around pretty well. He thinks the staples were a major source of his pain, and he also thinks the Vaseline helps the area feel better as well. The dressings he left the hospital with had gotten pretty dry over the course of several days, and that probably didn't help.

Chris still has the Tegaderm (like sticky plastic wrap) on his donor site. That area is healing nicely and should be healed enough by the end of the week (or shortly thereafter) that he can remove the Tegaderm. I posted a couple photos of that area as well. We removed the old Tegaderm and applied all new today after Chris took his mock-shower, so he wanted me to snap a few photos before putting the new ones on. It's pretty cool, actually. The skin is an amazing organ!

(That evolution stuff is just amazing, let me tell ya!)

(Don't even get me started on evolution.)

(What a bunch of malarkey.)

Anyway, the graft site needs to be redressed daily, and Chris needs to wash the site with mild soap (he's using scent-free baby soap) and dry with a clean towel.

Chris isn't "allowed" to return to work for at least another 3-4 weeks. The area needs to be completely healed (meaning no open wounds, etc.), he needs to have full function of his legs (no pain), and since he frequently operates heavy equipment at work, he needs to be completely off the pain medication. All three go pretty much hand-in-hand, so it's a no-brainer.

He has a follow-up appointment next Thursday, the 28th, during which they'll examine his legs again. They'll also fit him for some custom-made compression socks that work well to prevent the area from healing all "bumpy". Apparently the skin tends to sort of "curl", so the compression socks help with that. Actually, we noticed after Chris bathed and had his socks off for a little while that the skin did start to curl a bit right next to the graft site. It's hard to explain, so maybe we'll try to get photos if we notice it again.

Some more random info for those that are curious about all this (and if you're not curious, I'm sorry for boring the snot out of you!). Some of this I may have already shared, but I'm too lazy to look at my previous posts, so please forgive me!

  • Chris's graft site can't be exposed to the sun at all this summer or it could cause the area to be permanently blotchy. Plus the area will always be extremely sensitive to sun.
  • The area will also be more susceptible to frostbite, and since he won't have as many nerves there, he won't be as able to sense the early warning signs of frostbite.
  • We won't know for at least 8 to 15 months whether the graft is completely viable. Until then, Chris has to be extremely careful that nothing hits him in the graft site since that skin is so thin right now and will be for many months. Because of that, we'll probably try to find some thicker socks and maybe even shin guards. We're thinking adult-sized soccer socks with the built-in shin guards might be the perfect solution, especially since his right calf has a lot of grafting down the shin.
Chris is itching pretty badly, which we know to be a good sign, but it's annoying nonetheless! Ha! He has been taking 50mg of Hydroxyzine every 8 hours, but it wears off pretty quickly. But like he keeps saying, it's WAY better than pain. Praise the Lord!

{scroll down for photos}

Top of right leg

Top of left leg

Left/under side of right leg.

Right side of right leg

Right/under side of the right leg.

Right/under side of LEFT leg.

Left/under side of LEFT leg.

The socks he wears. You can see how the Vaseline has soaked through a bit.

The donor site as of today, in between changing the Tegaderm. This shot doesn't show it very well but the lighter pink areas are more healed than the darker, and the lighter pink areas have a fluid-like "coating" all over it. He didn't wash this area, per the recommendation of the doctors and nurses. We just quickly covered it back up!


  1. Those calves/shins look so much better already! That is utterly amazing! God sure did create something miraculous in the skin, eh?!

    Curious, is Chris getting WCB (do you call it that down there?) for the whole time off work? How long will it cover? Is it equal to his regular pay?

  2. ah! looks like something from a scary movie, poor guy!

    so glad things are improving with no staples and vasoline!!

    keep up the good work!!


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