The other day Ripley starting barking, so I knew I had company. I looked out to see a van coming up the lane. A man hopped out and headed toward the front door with a large paper bag. I’m thinking “Hey someone ordered Chinese Food for me!” Nope. It was a bag of medical supplies. The packing slip said “Staple removal kit.” 

paper bag
Looks like Chinese Food…

Of course I’ve been anticipating the procedure. It’s next, after all.

First though, let me tell you just a wee bit about how I survived nurse Amanda removing my drains. It was quite easy. She cut the suture, then I braced myself by putting my hand on her shoulder and followed her instructions. “Take a deep breath in, now breathe out …..” Then I swore a lot.

Here’s one of the drains that came out:

The white flat part with holes is the section of drain that was inside my chest. No wonder I’m super swollen since she pulled them out!

At any rate, I got through that. No problem.

drain hole & bruising
This shows the drain hole that is healing, but check out the pattern of bruising! Turns out that tape affects bruising a LOT! The angled bruise marks above the hole are from tape, the rectangle around the hole is also the same shape as the bandage. I think that’s all rather weird.

So now, the staples. I have 26 staples across the left, 27 staples across the right. The surgeon explained that depending on the stretch / tension in the skin he would either be doing invisible stitches or staples. I got the staples. 

26 staples
Here’s a glimpse of my left chest (can’t really say it’s a breast anymore, but with the swelling it kind of looks like one…)

What exactly does that mean about my skin? It’s tighter? I’m more apt to be an idiot and do too much each day? I would NEVER do that! Anyway, I wonder about his choice. Because the staples are very very cruel. They look cruel and feel cruel. When the pain meds wear off they tingle and sometimes burn. I can’t sleep on my side or hug anyone. I know that they are doing their job and allowing the incisions to bond together. They’re just a bit much. 

At any rate, Amanda told me the date that the next nurse would be coming to take them out (day after next…) and I asked “soooo, how exactly do you take those out”? 

I of course was imagining the various staple removers that I have used – one that looks fairly sinister, with 4 fangs that come together when the hinge is squeezed, and other that seems to rely on a measured thrust under the staple. Neither of these seemed like good options for my chest. I waited with some dread as she rooted through her kit to find hers. Finally she pulled out a slim device and showed me. 

This one is from the paper bag (yes, I had to open it, what can I say?):

She explained it in simple terms which I will do my best to pass on here:  the device bites the staple in the middle, crimping the staple and forcing the curved ends (that are nicely tucked under my skin) to pull up and out. Just like that.   

I’d rather have Chinese Food. 


7 thoughts on “Stapled

    1. Don’t you think it’s interesting that they send a “single use” staple remover and a LOT of supplies in a paper bag ahead of the procedure?? It’s all very odd, this home care nursing.

  1. Janice
    I’ve taken quite a few staples out
    It’s a long process… some will hurt… some will not. But they’ll come out and your chest will heal up nicely!
    So proud of you!
    Bringing lasagna soon.

  2. Having had many removed, it sounds worse than it is, but they can sometimes hurt and sometimes not. Take your medication before your nurse comes. When do you want Chinese food delivered?

  3. Just read this now… the day _after_ the staples came out. Theses posts are so helpful for the rest of us to know what is going in (yikes!); and to enable others who have experience give you tips. My chronic pain experience says when in doubt, take meds to stay ahead of the pain. Just like the others. Hope today was a good day with the beautiful sunshine, staple-less. 💕

  4. Hi Janice, wishing I could drop in and say hi and give a HUGE (but gentle!) hug. Hearing your journey from afar as it evolves, and love to see your smile within the photos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *