• Tammy Davis

Potato Chips, Electrode Stickers, and My Belly Button


Cleaning and Kettle Chips

I recently had to have some minor surgery. Everything went well, and I am recovering nicely.

Each time my doctor would call to check on me, he would say, “The only thing that can go wrong now is if you over do it. So don’t.” But one day I was feeling pretty good and did more than I should. On that same day, I became ravenous. Several days of not eating much of anything at all left me wanting something salty and crunchy. Cape Cod kettle cooked potato chips did the trick. I went to bed happy.

There is always a price to pay for bad decisions. The next morning I woke up with an unusual sensation. I had a prickling, poking feeling. When I went to sit up, it was worse so I went right back to horizontal. I was sure I had messed something up. I did not want to call my doctor but thought I should. I stood up to get my phone and realized the problem. A piece of potato chip was stuck in the adhesive of the incision. It was right above my belly button so every time I sat up it poked me. I had not ruptured a suture. I had simply fallen asleep with a bag of extra crispy snacks. Crumbs in the bed were the culprit. Not chores the day before. I think I’ll leave that anecdote out when I go for my two-week check. Cleaning and kettle chips, the doctor doesn’t need to know everything.


An Incision Way Up There?

Part of the recovery protocol is checking the incision sites. Oozing? Bleeding? Tenderness? Those are the questions asked by the nurses who call to do the post-op follow up. About four days after my surgery one incision was really driving me crazy. It wasn’t painful. It just felt different from the others. I was looking forward to the nurse’s call so I could talk with her about that one spot. She asked me about the three lower incisions, and I gave an accurate report. No problems. All good. She moved on to the next topic, so I took her back to finish incision review. I told her I was a little worried about the incision in my arm pit. She said I didn’t have an incision in my arm pit. Potato, potahto. I was a little worried about the incision in my ribs. She said I didn’t have an incision in my ribs. I told her I was feeling the bandage right that very moment as we were talking. She said I didn’t have a bandage, all incisions were sealed with adhesive. She told me to go to a mirror. Upon closer inspection of my arm pit/rib cage, I realized it was an electrode sticker that didn’t get taken off in the hospital. The little metal snap piece was rubbing me. That was causing the discomfort. Not a big deal at all, but just as I’m not telling my doctor about chips in the bed and cleaning the bottom of the refrigerator, something tells me the forgotten electrode sticker won’t go in my report. I’m good with that.

Overall, my chart will read something like this. Healthy women in her early fifties came in for routine surgery. There were no complications. Patient is happy to be home. She is following doctor’s orders and getting stronger every day. Patient realizes that health is wealth. If we have our health, we have everything we need. If we have our health and an occasional late-night snack, we are lucky indeed.

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