Here we are, one week and one day post-op, and I thought it might be helpful to have a blog post with a step-by-step tutorial on how to get your bandages and compression garment back on after showering.* K and I go through removing my vest and putting new ointment and bandages on my chest twice daily (once in the morning when I get up, and once at night after a shower).
The compression garment I am wearing is through Marena, and I highly recommend it. Surgery with Medalie requires it, but I suggest discussing this option with any surgeon: the Marena vest has hooks and a zipper in front for easy closure, and velcro on top of each shoulder which make adjustments while wearing the vest no problem. It is 100% lycra, and for a compression garment, very breathable. Additionally, I had a question about how to wash the vest, and on their website they have live chat help–the woman who I messaged with was very knowledgable.
So let’s get this party started!
Step One: Collect all your necessary equipment. That means surgical tape, scissors, anti-bacterial ointment, wound dressings, incense, virgin sacrifices, etc. Get all your necessities in front of you so you’re not running through the house looking for Neosporin with your purple nipples hanging out like little open wound fly traps, no doubt sticking to all the cat hair floating about the place.
Step Two: Remove vest (or other compression binder). This is much easier with a partner, but no matter if you are doing this alone or with a helper, the key is to go slowly, so you can remember how you got out of the garment (to get back in it), and so you don’t accidentally wreck your shit.
Now that you have your compression gear off, gently remove the bandages and let’s see what we got under there:
Step Three: Alright, now that you have uncovered the horror show underneath, let’s get some ointment on those wounds–the gooier the better, Medalie tells me, so we slather on a healthy dollop of Bacatracin on each nipple (we don’t touch the long incisions at this point, as the surgical tape is still on them–we just leave them alone):
And don’t forget to goo-up the drain sites–they live in your hairy armpits and need all the anti-bacterial help they can get!
After you have greased yourself up proper, let’s get some fresh bandages on that healing tissue. We use larger gauze bandages for padding, then smaller non-stick pads over the nipples.
Lastly, start getting back into your compression vest or Ace wrap or sarcophagus or whatever you heal in. Take it slow, and watch that you don’t extend your arms too far behind you, or too far above you–listen to your incisions: if they start to pull or ache, reign in that movement.
We also put a folded over piece of gauze in each armpit to cover the drain sites: they have stopped oozing and are mostly healed, but the padding just makes wearing the vest a bit more comfortable as it cuts into my arms a bit. We do this step as we start putting the vest back on me.
Once the shoulders are velcroed to a comfortable position and the drain site gauze is in place, you are looking at this:
Just cinch the hooks and zip up the front and Bam!
Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli
*Of course, this tutorial is following the post-op care instructions I was given by Medalie. If any of this information goes against what your surgeon suggest, discuss any of your post-op care variations with your doctor.