we're home...and another update on Chris

Today was a rough day for Chris. This morning he went and got cleaned off in the "bath room". He laid on a big metal table/cart/bed thing and a couple hoses came down that were used to clean Chris off. They started by undressing the graft site, and ohmygoodness. It looks way worse, even though it actually is way better. (There are pictures, at the way bottom of the post. They're graphic, so consider yourself warned.)

When they peeled the dressing off, Chris was reeling from the pain. He said it was the worst pain he's felt so far, and I could tell. He was squeezing my hand pretty hard (my right hand at first, and then I decided to switch hands just in case he squeezed a bit too hard...haha!).

Part of the graft did slip, leaving a small strip about 1/2", but the doctor said that shouldn't be a problem since it's such a small area.

Anyway, so the surgeons and physicians liked what they saw and said Chris could go home. The nurse redressed the wound and she let me help, even though I won't need to redress the wound at home yet. She started with a good layer of N-Terface, then something called Acticoat, which is a black mesh-like material. It has silver in it and the anti-microbial properties activate when it gets wet (I think that's what she said). The next layer was wet Kerlix gauze, followed by dry Kerlix, and then an Ace bandage wrapped around his feet all the way to just below his knees. His dressings won't need to be changed at home yet.

After the bath, the physical therapists had Chris walk the halls for about ten minutes. They also have a set of four stairs that they had him climb a few times. That was rough. But the walking really loosened his muscles.

The ride home was painful because he couldn't have his feet elevated, and then walking up the basement stairs was super painful. He was wiped out. If it hadn't rained so much here I would have pulled up to our back deck so he would only need to climb a few stairs, but Chris didn't think I could make it up the hill without getting the van stuck in the wet/muddy grass. Poor guy.

He's down for the night already. I'm scheduled to give him some more pain meds here in about 15 minutes and then I'm going to sleep as well. I'm going to set my alarm every night to make sure he's getting the meds every 4 hours on the dot, at least this first week or so.

Chris is supposed to get up ever 2-3 hours and walk for 5-10 minutes (except during the night). So I'll be setting some sort of alarm for that otherwise the time will get away from me. He's also supposed to use this filter-type thing every hour or so to prevent anesthesia-related pneumonia. 

With all the meds, vitamins, diet requirements, breathing deal, and exercise, I'm trying to figure out a good system to help ME remember what he needs when. I think just keeping a log like I've been doing is going to work best, but we'll see. :)

The Tegaderm covering the donor site has been really leaky, which is normal, so they patched that today and sent a bunch of extra Tegaderm so I can patch it if necessary. It's still leaking a bit even now, but that's almost unavoidable. They said the blood always seems to find its way out. We're keeping a pad under him to catch the blood that escapes. (Ew. I'm sorry if that bothers you.) And tomorrow I'll work more aggressively to find the leak, if Chris lets me. He's patient with clutzy me.  :)

We need to go back to Iowa City on Monday (changed from Tuesday) to have the staples removed, and I'm not sure where he'll go from there as far as treatment.

(Forgot to mention in last night's post that while he was at the hospital they were also giving him Lovenox (anticoagulant), and they gave him Trazodone last night to help him sleep. It worked. He snored most of the night away! Praise God!)

We're so glad to be back home with the kids. I was in a super crabby mood when I picked the kids up, and my poor mom thought I was mad at her. What a way to show my gratitude, huh? SIGH. I can be such a butthead. SIGH. I apologized to her but still...I'm a butthead. SIGH.

The first hour or so after picking up the kids, I was panicking on the inside. They were chatty and noisy and KIDS and all of a sudden it hit me that somehow I need to keep these four little wildcats from bumping Chris's extremely fragile legs, take care of Chris, take care of them, et cetera et cetera et cetera.

(I know. Woe is me, right? Sheesh.)

And then I remembered everything that God has shown us about His provision, along with all that He showed me in the hospital (more on that later), and I snapped out of it. I grabbed our portable DVD player, a movie, and all four kids and we watched a movie upstairs in the boys' room while Chris slept downstairs. It was nice to snuggle up with my little peeps again.

It's funny...they look different. How is that possible?

I really missed their cute little faces and I'm so glad we're able to be home so soon.

{scroll down to see photos taken today}

{click to see larger if you're brave}

This is the donor site. You can see the "strips" they took. The yellow stuff is an extra adhesive to help the already-adhesive Tegaderm stay in place better.

I think this was his right leg.

Closer up. You can see the holes they "punch" in the skin when they run the skin through a "meshing" machine. (Using really technical terms here.) Isn't that amazing?!? This is his left leg.

Right leg.

Both legs. His right leg (shown on the left side of the photo) is much worse.

Side/back of right leg. The red is where the graft slipped. We're hoping he doesn't need to have that re-grafted because that would mean another surgery similar to the one he had on Wednesday. When I was looking up close at this side of Chris's graft, I said to the nurse that the bubbly-looking whitish-yellowish spots looked like fat. She said that's exactly what it was. They did have to remove some fat that had been damaged, but no muscle was damaged so we were so relieved to hear that.

Thank you, again, for all the encouraging words via Blog comments, Facebook, text, phone calls, and voice messages. They mean so much to Chris and have been a great source of encouragement for him.

Also, we had his phone turned off for a couple days because he wasn't up for much phone talking (which says a lot about his pain level because Chris is a talker!), but he'll have his phone on more now for those of you who have tried calling or texting.

I have some stories to share later, but just wanted to get all the facts out there first.

I'm headed to bed now to sleep in my wonderful, comfortable, heavenly bed. :)


  1. Since you're so educated about skin grafts now :) , I have a question. Is a graft "permanent"? I mean, I know they don't take it back off, but does that skin grow into the original skin they stapled it to, or does it stay there just kind of as a "bandage" while new skin grows? Or is the grafted skin still alive somehow so that it regenerates new skin cells? I've never thought about the specifics of how it actually works.
    Thank you for continuing to update about Chris - it helps me remember to continue praying for all of you! (Yes, I know, I need to start a prayer journal so I don't forget prayer requests.)
    I hope you're enjoying sleep in your OWN bed!

  2. Praying for Chris! It sounds absolutely terrible--and I KNOW Chris is a tough guy so thank God it happened to him and not to someone who isn't as tough..(like me)!

  3. What a blessing that no muscle was damaged! You guys are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope Chris feels better soon!

  4. Hope Chris was able to rest well last nite. I would imagine the kids all slept much better, too :) Let me know if you need me for Monday. I have the vacation to use so it would not be a problem at all! Love you!

  5. Yikes yikes! The graft site looks even more painful than the burn site! Chris is blessed to have a wonderful wife like you to take care of him so diligently. Praying for you :)

  6. looks like you have a long road ahead of your, chris. hang in there. our prayers are with you.


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