Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Own Snow Globe

The past six months of illness and treatment have brought many less-than-attractive changes to my body (which already needed all the help it could get before October). There are the lovely Dracula-esque markings all over my neck. I’ve got a pretty tough three-inch scar above my left breast where my defibrillator was implanted, not to mention the bulge of the actual device pushing against my skin. Then there are the needle marks up and down my arms that probably make strangers think I’m into hardcore drugs.

But the most charming of all of these bodily changes is the extreme dandruff I have developed on my right arm. There’s an area from my elbow to about five inches above my elbow that is not only constantly prevented from getting fresh air but also has not been washed since January. Early January. Can you imagine how disgusting your skin would be if you hadn’t bathed in over four months? That’s the deal with this particular area of my arm (fortunately for my coworkers, not my whole body). Because my PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line goes in through my upper right arm, part of it is constantly sealed and sterile (except when my [exceptional] home nurse changes the dressing once a week) and the whole area is hidden beneath my rubber sleeve when I bathe. Pretty much every time I move, a small snow storm erupts near my right arm. It's like my own personal snow globe.

So think about me the next time you skip your daily shower and feel like a slob. Multiply that skipped day by 120 and remember that’s how dirty my arm is. That ought to make you feel better about yourself.


  1. When we thought Lily had broke her wrist this weekend, they splinted her arm for 2 days. The hardest thing for her was I wouldn't let her shower! She finally talked me into putting a plastic bag over it Sunday night and giving her a quick bath. Out of all of the things that should bug her about it, that was the worst!

  2. Mmm... remind me to sit on your left in meetings... :)

  3. Post tropical vacation, I'm peeling pretty badly and have dusty skin coming out of my sleeves so I feel about 1% of your pain.

    Beside the point, glad to hear you are well and in good spirits. Look forward to reading more.

  4. I'm thinking (nurse) Amy must be totally grossed out! Does she wear a hazmat suit when she changes your dressing? Maybe the two of us can figure out a solution when I get to NJ. Please ask Amy to have a suit for me! Love you Mom

  5. Andrea, I have seriously loved all of your posts. But I really wish I hadn't read this one. I think I'm going to pass can make fun of me all you want (which you do!), and you can think I'm the biggest wimp of all time (which you do, justifiably so!), but I am literally sitting with my head between my knees right now! Have to go back and clear my mind with the "Ode to the Bedside Commode"!