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Five Routine Minutes: Don’t Pick At Your Stitches

Back before Christmas, I had that surgery I’ve written so much about. It was good. I went in hurting, I came out completely pain-free.

I did end up with a giant bandage on the side of my neck, but that was a small price to pay for the relief. The bandage came with strict instructions – do not take the bandage off, do not get the bandage wet. They really didn’t mention why those things were so important. The instructions were very specific though, so I figured out that the consequence might be pretty severe.

They told me to leave it alone, but they gave me an extra bandage in case I needed it.

A week and a half later, my beard was growing in and I still had the bandage. Do you know what isn’t a good combination? Medical tape and a beard. They were so direct – wear the bandage, don’t get it wet. I was stuck with a hairy face and tape. It was starting to hurt, so I called the doctor’s office.

The person who answered the phone put me on hold to talk to someone who might bless the idea of me getting rid of the bandage. She came back a few minutes later and said it was alright for me to get rid of the problem.

Then she added something unexpected.

What kind of person has to be told not to pick at their stitches? I don’t know, but until she said it to me, I was certain that I was not one of those people. I thought I’d made a good impression on the doctor and his staff in the run up to the surgery. Somehow, they developed the idea that I am a stitch picker. Where did I go wrong?

Maybe I was talking in my sleep during surgery.

I am certain I am not a stitch picker person, no matter what I said in the operating room.

Even though no one told me what would happen if I fooled with my stitches, I just defaulted to the worst case scenario and decided I wouldn’t do it.

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31 Comments on “Five Routine Minutes: Don’t Pick At Your Stitches”

  1. Being told not to do something invariably increases my need to do whatever it is. I am not allowed to read the Ten Commandments, Not anymore.

  2. AiXeLsyD13 says:

    Glad you’re doing well, and following instructions!

    Perhaps they know stitches can get itchy, causing one to inadvertently pick?

    Are they the “disappear on their own” kind? I had those once when I broke my nose.

    (More good advice that you probably know already: Don’t Stage-Dive in to a crowd of moshing punk rock fans.)

  3. I support you Blurt. I have itchy feet (don’t ask) and when Hot Joe sees my hands headed in their direction he shouts, “DON’T SCRATCH!” It’s all I can think about for the rest of the night. I even wake up at 2 am to scratch.

    I say pick ’em.

  4. We Found Him Captain! says:

    You are lucky they didn’t install one of those upside down lampshades around your neck, one around each wrist and one around each ankle.

    Can you imagine going back to work with all these lampshades attached. That would be the most impressive roll call of your career. You should consider doing that. I’ll pay for the lampshades if I can come and watch……..

  5. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    You are so hilarious! Stitch picking only leads to misery and a head/heads on the floor. The thought of picking stitches frightens me. I’ve pulled at a thread on my clothing before and have been left with disastrous results.

  6. Maybe as long as you wash your hands before you pick at them? Then they won’t get infected because you’ll have clean hands.

    Sorry. I’m an enabler.

  7. weid0089 says:

    Trust me, Oma. What you said in the operating room was surely not about stitches. My guess is you were commenting on how hot your nurse was or how you really should have used the bathroom before going under 😉

  8. shoutabyss says:

    You had a good looking medical team. And I always thought you were the sort. The sort to pick at stitches.

    The other day the cat attacked while I was rolling over in my sleep and clawed my toe in half. I find that I’m somehow fascinated with the injury. Of course each step I take is a painful reminder, because the toe is super critical to the act of ambulation. The surprising part is how I find myself taking off my shoe and sock at work just to touch the gash and visually inspect it.

    And I kind of want to show it to everyone I meet. “Look at the size of that thing! It’s so deep, too!”

    I wonder if your uncontrollable urge to pick is a similar phenomenon.

  9. Pie says:

    Stitches are meant to be picked at – don’t listen to your nurse!

    The last time I had an operation I woke up to find I was clipped rather than stitched. It looked like I had a zipper on my tummy. You don’t want to pick at those if you get them, Oma. They really hurt. I know: I tried.

  10. Debbie says:

    I’ve never been tempted to pick at stitches. Scabs? Definitely. Stitches? Never. Don’t you do it either. That head-falling-off picture should be enough to convince you!

  11. Does make you wonder if people call in asking if it’s OK to pick at their stitches. Love the last drawing.

  12. Lenore Diane says:

    The detail of your drawings is impressive – I mean, including the surgical masks on the doctors. Well done! I’d say you’ve earned the right to pick, but I am not a doctor – nor do I play one on TV. You best listen to the experts.

  13. Blogdramedy says:

    I don’t know exactly what they did to you in the hospital even after reading your posts but I have to say your drawing skills have improved dramatically. 🙂

  14. planetross says:

    I’ve pick Stitches and a few Lilos … for being the most annoying animated characters.

    note: if I pick a stitch, do 9 don’t save time?


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