Oct. 23, 2017

Temporal artery biopsy recovery at home

My surgeon took me off work for a week.  Sounds like a lot and unnecessary for such a minor surgery, right?  Look at it from the point of view from someone who has fibromyalgia.  Like me.  Stress, any kind of stress, can trigger flare-ups.  This minor surgery triggered a lot of flare-ups for me.  Because of this, I gave in to the opportunity to take the week off.  I was so grateful that I did.

The day after the surgery was painful for me.  Even though the wound is only about half the length of my ear, it hurt like hell.  Now, I’m no weakling.  I have a very high tolerance for pain.  However, this was on my head.  Right in front of my left ear, in fact.  Not behind or above, but in front of it.  It’s a very sensitive area for me and this really hurt.  I spent most of this day, after I went to another appointment, asleep, so I could escape the pain.

That’s another thing. Anesthesia was part of my surgery and I wasn’t supposed to be driving 24 hours after the procedure.  Admittedly, I didn’t think of it and drove myself to my appointment that had been scheduled for a few weeks.  Nothing happened because I drove conscientiously.  However, when I got home, I was dizzy, nauseous, and hurting.  So, when they tell you not to drive within 24 hours of a procedure, listen and obey.  I learned my lesson.

I admit that sleeping was difficult.  I’m a side sleeper and I sleep on my left side.  The wound is on the left side of my head, so I had to do my best to sleep on my right.  Training yourself to sleep on a side that you don’t normally sleep on is weird.  It was like my body was telling me that I was doing something wrong, but I couldn’t risk messing with the wound.  I know I’m a broken record, but it’s on my head and it freaks me out.

This first day home, I noticed that I needed to change the bandage.  Waterproof band-aids work so well!  I cleaned the wound and put the band-aid on and it was fine. 

By Friday, the fourth day, I started to worry because that side of my head still hurt.  The headaches and fevers were more frequent.  During recovery in the hospital, I was instructed to call my surgeon’s office if I noticed symptoms of infection like fevers.  I didn’t call them.  Why?  I have fevers daily.  This wasn’t new to me and it wasn’t worse than normal, so it was fine.  I kept the wound clean and dry, and watched for physical signs of infection.  Everything was good.  But my headaches were driving me nuts.  The pain medication that was prescribed definitely helped out.  It helped knock me out and I was incredibly grateful.


My message for this post?  Follow the post-operative instructions provided.  Follow them to the letter.  Keep the wound clean and dry.  Take your pain medications as prescribed.  DO NOT drive within 24 hours after a procedure.  You might not be as lucky as I was.  Be very careful and remember that your safety is paramount.


Next…going back to work