Tips & Tricks
This is a random collection of tips and tricks I bequeath unto you...
When you get to Vancouver, go to any drug store pharmacy and purchase a bottle of "222". It's over-the-counter, literally. You have to ask the pharmacist for it, but you do not need a prescription. This has ASA, caffeine and most importantly, codeine in it. H&W are only going to give you like 10 Tylenol-3. The main difference is 8mg vs 30mg of "the good stuff". Buy the 100 pill bottle as that is the maximum quantity you can take across the border back into the states. I then suggest you use these for the first few days and save the T3s for later days. The reason being, your head will be pretty numb for several days. I'm on day six right now and the back part of my head is still numb from the injections (or is it b/c nerves were cut?). In any event, the only real stinging pain I have felt is last night and also first thing when I wake up after sleeping on my staples. Also if you can, DO NOT take your 2 Percocets they give you. Sandbag those babies for the day of staple removal -- something tells me we're gonna need 'em...
I'm on day 12 now and have to say that there really has been minimal "pain". It's not even really pain. Like on a scale of 1 to 10 I'd say it's a 3 at most. Really more annoying than anything. And again, a bit itchy on the staples. The top is ONLY tender when you mess with it, like shampooing, but even then it's no big deal. I did wear a hat for about 5 hours on this past Saturday night, and the back of my head was a little sore where the had intersected the staple area. Not horrible or anything.
I tend to let the warm/hot water run from the shower on the back of my head on the staple area. I find this sooths the area. Be careful NOT to let the water hit your transplants until the 6th day. Until then just use a bucket/pitcher/cup of water to rinse the graft area. I was told on the day of staple removal to really soak my head back there for a while to soften it up -- maybe I'll lay submerged in the bathtub of hot water for a while.
About 7 days in, my scalp was "crusty" looking I notice -- It was pretty disgusting actually. I was not keen on letting it be that way, so I got some Vitamin E oil (as suggested by the post-op sheet) and put that on morning and night. TIP: drop it on the top part and carefully smooth it out downwards and sideways. This stuff gets everywhere and if you put too much, it will just drip all over your forehead. Then after a day of that, I used a vibrating facial scrubber to loosen the scabs. This process is pretty gross and you'll want to do standing in the shower b/c little chunks will fly all over the place, then you can rinse/shampoo immediately after. Just go gently with the scrubber, it has soft bristles and really I just touched the areas with the vibrating head on low speed. I didnt' really "scrub" per se. But that seemed to be good enough to get the skin crusts to wiggle free and come loose. for some bigger ones I used tweasers to pull them up. I didn't notice any hair coming off, so just be cautious and don't pull anything that doesn't want to come off easily. I had to do this for two days and by Friday, my head looked very good -- it is still red from the blood under it, but the hairs feel softer and there are no make-me-want-to-puke-crusties on it. BLECH!
I don't have much to say here other than the inflatable airplane-pillow they provide isn't going to cut it. I have a nice soft memory-foam style one and it's angled on one side and flat on the other. I put the flat side on my shoulders and so the angled part against my head. This is less surface area and tends not to agitate the staples as much I think. You have to sleep upright for the first 3 days they say. After that I just sleep on the very edge of my real pillow in a way that only my cheek is on it really.
Day 12 and sleeping still sucks. Can't WAIT for these staples to be gone in two days. I can totally see how even if there is pain involved with removal (which I'm told there isn't -- we'll see...) it's still got to be worth it.
I don't know for certain if this is going to work or not, but I have read and heard from several people to take suppliments to speed the growing of my existing hair back from the buzzcut. Namely MSM, Biotin and Silica. I picked them up at the local Vitamin Store and have been taking them daily since Friday (two days after surgery). I'm really hoping it does cause some rapid growth of my "old" hair because this 1/2 buzz and 1/2 long is retarded looking...
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