And, hopefully for the last time, the bandage came off.
I had my procedure seven days ago to remove my permanent catheter. I hadn’t needed dialysis for over four months now and my lab results have shown that my numbers have stabilized. At this point, the permanent catheter was becoming more of a liability than functional — it was clogging up from lack of use and it’s presence was just inviting possible infection. At the same time, my quality of life had been reduced by quite a lot.
So they decided it was time to take it out.
The procedure was done with only local anesthesia and I was awake throughout the whole procedure and all I could think of was that I could go to the beach again. It has become a possibility again. I can have a shower like a normal person. No more bathing with a wet towel and using the shower head to only hit certain parts and avoiding others. No more having to wrap my catheter with cling wrap. No more.
I went home that very day but I couldn’t rush into the shower and start singing happy-sad songs while using a shampoo bottle as a microphone. The wound was still fresh, kept together by stitching, and I had to wait until it healed.
Two days ago, I took out the initial bandages as I was told and my mom and I washed the wound with Betadine and put another bandage over it. The wound was still healing, the scabs hadn’t fully formed yet but it was healing.
And it was gone.
Last night, I went to clean the wound again on my own and told myself it was now safe to have my first real shower in nine months. I was just going to be careful about washing, applying soap, and toweling that area, but everything else would be fine.
So I did. I took the first proper shower I had in nine months. I got teary-eyed and almost burst out crying in the shower. How apt. The water would fall on my hair and I could let the water just drop all over me and where gravity and contours of my body and skin would let it trail. I could do this unafraid.
I was always a child of the water. I always felt at home when I was in the sea or in a shower. It felt like coming home. It was such a simple act, one I did everyday, and it was taken away from me by my own health conditions and I felt the loss greatly.
I felt like a person again, a real person.
Peter Pan came into the window of the Darling children’s room looking for his shadow. He went looking to complete himself. I went looking for water.
There were parts of my skin that hadn’t felt water on it for nine months, the parts that were constantly under bandage, micropore tape, or cling wrap (when I bathed). It was the first time that part of my skin had water running down it and it felt electric. I could fill the sticky residue from nine months of adhesives piled up on my skin and I gently rubbed it off.
This is joy. This is freedom. This is release.
You could still see the demarcation line from when all the micropore tape and the bandages had kept the skin dry, safe from infection. I can’t rub it off completely yet in fear of opening up my wound. It will have to come out over time when the wound has completely healed.
I realized, last night, I didn’t have gauze in my room to cover up the wound so I used band aids for the meantime. Soon, I’ll let the wound out when it has scabbed and just let it breathe. My skin, the part of me that was covered for nine months for my protection, will finally get to take in air.
It’s like taking in breath.