Monthly Archives: June 2014

A Close Shave (Part II)

Warning, this post gets a bit gruesome! Continue at your own risk :S

A few weeks back I wrote a post about my tracheal shave last year. The surgery in Manchester went well and I returned to Leeds to start the healing process.

A week later I went to the GP to have my stitches out. She said there might be a bit of an infection so prescribed me some antibiotics and I headed home.

As I walked back to my flat I felt a burning sensation where the stitches had been. The pain in my neck started getting worse and worse. I got home and went straight into the bathroom and looked up into the mirror.

And then the blood, quite literally, hit the wall.

It was immediately clear what had happened, part of the scar had popped open and was now bleeding quite a lot (the word ‘spurting’ springs to mind).

I put a hand over my neck but the blood ran out either side of it. I held a handful of toilet paper against it but it instantly soaked straight through.

I’d stocked up with medical supplies at a pharmacy on the day of the surgery, so now tied a bandage around my neck and grabbed my phone to make a couple of hysterical phone calls (and not in the funny hysterical way!).

Whilst waiting for a speedy ride to hospital, I decided to take a photo of the wall where the blood first hit. I’ve included it here as a small pic, click it to view the full-size version if you dare!

My blood!

The emergency services operator had told me not to take the bandage off, even though it had soaked through, but just to keep putting bandages on top. I arrived at the hospital with a huge stack of them on my neck! One plus point about arriving at A&E with an open neck wound is that you get jumped straight to the front of the queue…

The nurse took my dressing(s) off, took one look at the hole (now a centimetre open and with neck stuff sticking out) and said “You need to see a doctor!”

Now bandaged up again I was whizzed across the hospital in a wheelchair to a ward to wait for the doctor. When he arrived he asked some questions and then took a look under the bandage. “You need to see the Ear, Nose and Throat team” he declared.

Unfortunately the ENT team were busy in surgery and so the bandage was replaced and I was hooked up to a drip and left in the waiting area.

Eventually two of the team were able to come and have a look under the bandage. They seemed suitably impressed as didn’t come across this sort of problem every day! They were however concerned that any blood or liquid in my neck might drain down my throat and into my lungs, which would cause me to drown in my own fluids. This meant they wanted to speak to their boss before taking any action. They were considering taking me into theatre to explore the original surgery area, although this wouldn’t have been great for the healing process.

After some long phone conversations with the boss they decided the risk wasn’t that great and it would be ok to stitch me up and send me home. I was so relieved to hear this!

A year on and there’s still a scar on my neck, although it has healed well considering the unplanned disturbance. Nobody that I talk to notices the scar and makeup will cover it if I’m feeling really self-conscious.

The original surgeon offered to cut the scar out and stitch it up again if I wanted… I don’t think I want to go through that again just yet thanks!!

So, am I still glad I had the surgery? Yes I am, the Adam’s apple reduction has given me soooo much more confidence about how I look. Although I have learnt that every surgery does have risks, no matter how small it seems.

Oh, and 8 hours in A&E with an open neck wound is no fun!!!