Waking up from my venogram to find a Tegaderm stuck on my groin covering the incision into the femoral vein, made me want to weep. Even removing it as quickly as I could, I was left for weeks with a red, itchy and weeping groin of burning pain, all in the nice neat shape of the Tegaderm. I do believe this is about as far removed as you can possibly get from what Justin Timberlake had in mind when he was singing about "bringing sexy back."
Even the most hypoallergenic tapes and wound covers I've encountered in various hospitals, have ended with me red, rashy and weepy. Sometimes nursing and surgical staff believed me and went out of their way to at least try and find a less reactive alternative, but more often than not there was scoffing and a lack of belief which led to more red weepy rashes. Even a red arm band is no deterrent to many. I can't count how many times I have waved my red wrist or ankle band at medical staff who still insist that the tape, ECG dot, dressing they are about to use will be "fine".
(This is the welting 2 weeks after 5 fun filled days in hospital)
It's a hard one. What can you do when you are fast asleep in theatre? You can hardly object. And at times you simply have to suck it up and endure the pain to keep a surgical wound covered to avoid infection. Although as I found out last year, those red weepy patches from the adhesive can also become infected and leave you mighty unwell. Or, when you need a holter monitor or ECG what can you do when you need to know what is going on with that pesky heart. Though I would say to all nursing staff, rubbing the skin with sand paper prior to putting on the ECG dots is one sure fire way to make my reaction even worse. Connection be damned, it's going to be bad enough without already inflamed skin thanks to taking an emery board to my chest.
(One of my scars courtesy of an ECG dot from my last 24 hour holter monitor)
(The adhesive burn pattern over my pacemaker incision was incredibly painful and many tears may have been shed. Though the alternative of leaving it exposed and risking infection in a wound that would lead straight to my heart, was not really an option I wanted to pursue.)
I did try testing to see if the local allergy dermatology clinic could find me some safe alternatives.
(This was not a pleasant experience for either the itching and burning,
or the week long non-bathing.)
And after two weeks of hell I was none the wiser. (After the first week they added another strip down my arm, just for shits and giggles.) Although I do now know I have an allergy to clove oil, a heap of chemicals I can't pronounce and most perfumes. All of this did not help me find safe dressings.
I do use a blue cohesive bandage where I can. This contains no adhesives and sticks to itself, and for those who need it, you can get latex free versions. It comes in a range of widths and colours and is available from a number of different companies. Brilliant stuff that my lovely phlebotomst, Jacqui, put me onto. It's the same tape they use on race horses. Me and a thoroughbred, equine super-athlete, the link is obvious, right?
(Works a treat for IV Saline)
The nurses who managed my weekly IV saline infusions were also clued up on this dressing and as you can see above it was used instead of the usual Tegaderm/tape combo to keep my cannula in place. And because it is elasticised they simply wrapped my arm with the same after the cannula was removed to provide the needed compression. I now have a stock of this bandage at home so I can take it to hospital or wherever I may need an IV these days.
*Every time I write Tegaderm, Spell Check wants to change it to, Megadeath. Somewhat appropriate I think!*
Having complained long and hard on Facebook, as you do, and lamenting that yet again I was a blistered and weepy mess, I was lucky enough to have an alternative tape suggested by one of my fabulous readers.
Their suggestion was 3M™ Kind Removal Silicone Tape 2770-1
So of course I searched high and low for this tape so I could test it. Which of course meant that I couldn't find it here in Australia unless I wanted to buy it in bulk. Now if it worked, like my blue cohesive bandage, I would stock pile the rolls. However if it didn't, 40+ rolls of useless blue tape mocking me from under my bathroom sink would not be the best use of my limited funds.
Luckily, my Facebook is filled with marvellous and generous people from all over the world and the lovely Jessi, who first suggested it, sent me a sample all the way from the U.S. of A. Thanks, Jessi.
So the testing began. I put a small piece on the inside of my lower arm with the aim to leave it on for 48hrs.
(Of course I forgot to use a pen with ink that doesn't give me a reaction. *facepalm*
Luckily the redness did disappear after a few hours.)
24 hours in it was a tiny bit itchy but nothing to write home about. It did manage to mostly stay on after a shower, with only slight lifting on two of the corners. This was also after many hours of pre-open house cleaning and Great Dane slobber, so quite a feat.
And after 48hrs, well 57hrs really, as we had our open house, and time went by in a flurry of cleaning and praying to every deity known to man that someone would buy our house. And basically I forgot until I was about to hop into bed, which is a good sign when you think about it, the photo below shows the result.
So 57 hours later there is a tiny bit of redness but no itchiness or burning. Hallelujah! It didn't hurt to take off, didn't pull, and, most importantly didn't leave any residue.
(About 72 hours post-first putting it on.)
So thank you Jessi. Thank you 3M. And thank you feeble brain and general apathy, that I didn't have the energy to turn on my computer camera and capture the abomination that is my bad in bed celebratory Voguing.
Now I'm off to bulk buy some tape.
Oh and if someone can suggest a waterproof wound dressing that works just as well, that would be fabulous.
I should probably add this is in no way a sponsored post. Just sharing something that worked for me and may help others who have the same issue.
This is as close to dancing as I'm going to get today.