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Hygiene
HYGIENE
To stink, or not to stink...Okay, so hygiene is not often our major concern when it comes to surgeries, but with the RED, it probably should be a priority.  

The writing in pink applies to GIRLS ONLY

If you've got long hair, your surgeon will probably have you put your hair into pig-tail braids starting behind the scarline (if you already have one) to hold your hair back during the surgery.  This can make it easier for them to keep most of your hair.  Make sure you ask the surgeon about the hair issue, because it's different for everyone.  If they are able keep most of your hair, they will probably goop it up with some disinfectant smelly stuff to hold it back.  It wouldn't be so bad, except that you're not allowed to wash your hair for about a week (again, talk to your surgeon, because everyone's case is different).  It's kind of gross, having pasty hair for a few days, but the best thing to do is to leave the braids in until you can wash your hair.  This way, the goop stays within the braid, and doesn't get all over the place.  

With the RED on, you can't be taking showers, so you'll have to take shallow baths. Shampooing is a very hard task.  You can really only wash the end of your hair. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT MASSAGE YOUR SCALP.  This would be very bad with the RED on and could open the door for scalp infections near the pin sites.  You will probably have to have someone help with these baths, since you can't really see where you shouldn't touch.  You'll feel like a baby, you may even feel stupid having Mommy or Daddy help you, but it is SO GREAT to feel clean after being in a hospital!  

Another issue is the pin sites.  These are the places where the screws go into your head (sounds gross, but it's not as bad as it sounds).  The pin sites can become infected if they are not taken care of.  Every day we would clean my pin sites with Q-tips (the best kind was the long kind), benzol peroxide, and/or vasoline.  This kept the pin sites from getting infected.  The ones that were already infected were kept under control.  This also limited scaring afterward.  It was a tedious task, but it was worth it.  

This little nose of mine... After that first surgery, I probably used about 50 boxes of kleenex in the hospital.  Seriously, I had about a 1 x 2 x 3 foot trashcan that probably overflowed two or three times.  My dad said I was Kleenex's most valuable customer (you're suppose to laugh here).  After surgery on your head, there is usually a lot of discharge that somehow finds it's way out your nose.  Don't blow hard, just get out whatever comes  out (I know, I know, gross).  It can be very uncomfortable feeling stuffed up, but after a few days, I started clearing up and things got better.  
Okay, on to another subject...

This is the way we brush our teeth...This is a nearly impossible task with the RED dominating most of your mouth.  That's why I had to use a Sesame Street baby toothbrush.  I also had to use a special mouthwash from the hospital.  I'm not sure how they expected me to use it, since I couldn't shut my mouth all the way, but I ended up just squirting it in with a syringe.  This worked... sort of.  
Another thing that helped was a water pick.  

ANY OTHER CONCERNS?  I KNOW I'VE PROBABLY MISSED SOME.  IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN, CHANCES ARE, OTHER PEOPLE PROBABLY DO TOO.  PLEASE LET ME KNOW SO I CAN POST THEM FOR EVERYONE TO SEE.  SIGN THE GUESTBOOK!  

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