Social Question

filmfann's avatar

Have you ever had to pack a wound?

Asked by filmfann (50087points) June 8th, 2012

I just got a call from my HMO, suggesting that I remove the packing from my arm tomorrow, and repack it with a clean tape.
The problem is that it is on my elbow, so I can’t do it myself. My wife will have to do it, and she is quite squeamish.
Have you ever had to pack or repack a wound? What was the gross factor? Any advice on this?

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11 Answers

syz's avatar

Is the wound a cavity of some sort? Packing tape is usually used to keep an area open to allow for drainage. The gross factor is going to be dependent on what type of material is in the wound, how extensive the tissue damage, etc.

Got any friends that have nursing experience?

creative1's avatar

It involves removing all the tape and the gauze packed into the wound, at times there will be puss and little bit of blood on the bandage especially if its the first change of the wound. How deep is it? The less deep it is, I found the less on the bandages. I have had to change my bandages and empty my own drains that were put in after adominal surgery and I am not typically that great with that type of things especially if its my own body. I am less bothered by it if I am doing it to someone else.

Maybe you could have her unwrap it and you can remove the packing which is the worse part but then have her do the repacking and rewrapping if it bothers her that much.

Good luck with everything, I hope you heal quickly.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It’s amazing what a person can do out of love. Give your wife a chance to decide if she can handle the task before calling on a recruit. Talk her through the process, have the materials handy, and if need be, repack it yourself by using a mirror. Then she can tape it up. She doesn’t have to see the residue on the old bandage or the wound.

Please keep us posted on your recovery.

LuckyGuy's avatar

You will help the situation a lot by just pretending it doesn’t hurt. Take a Tylenol beforehand if you have to. Your confidence will spill over to your wife.

Mariah's avatar

After my one of my surgeries, my staples were removed too early. The incision came open and I had an epic belly wound that I packed for 5 months.

I’m not very squeamish, but for what it’s worth I really didn’t find it bad. The first time or so was icky, but after a while it was like nothing. My mom helped (didn’t touch it herself, but handed me supplies as I needed them) and she’s a fainter, but she also found it less difficult than she expected.

Protein will increase your healing rate like you won’t believe. There’s a supplement called prostat that mixes into gatorade, I’d highly recommend it.

I don’t feel like I’ve given you much information, but after 5 months of it I’m pretty familiar, so definitely feel free to PM me about it whenever.

tranquilsea's avatar

My son dropped a sharp knife from the counter onto the top of his foot. The knife tried to fillet him. I had to get pressure on his foot asap and then wrap in such a way I could get him to the hospital.

Then my sister fell with a glass in her hand. The glass broke as she came down onto it and a large part drove right through the fleshy part of her hand and out the other side. I had to carefully pack that wound with the glass still inside her hand. Then it was off to the hospital again.

Both wounds needed daily changes in bandaging. Compression bandaging at first and then regular bandaging there after.

I swear I could be a great nurse or paramedic after all the things I’ve had to take care of.

Trillian's avatar

Can you get sterile idoform gauze? You should remove and repack every 24 hours. Remove gauze, irrigate with sterile water, repack with less than the day before. Visually inspect to ensure tissue is granulating (filling in the void), repack and cover. Repeat until there is no danger of tissue healing over a void and re-infecting.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, many times. The largest wound was probably ¾ inch by 3 inches, so not very very large, but pretty big. It was my BIL. He had a melonoma removed. They take a huge chunk out of you when it is melanoma. Smaller ones for my husband and myself. Well, my husband had one about the same size, but it was more superficial, not as deep as the melanoma. That one actualy I removed his stitches, and it was a day early I guess. It opened up a little. His scar there is less than perfect.

Coincidentally, my husband just had to do it for me on my elbow. I had a wound not healing correctly, should have been sewn but it wasn’t. He replaced the gauze for me several times. We finally went to the doctor again and they gave us some better supplies to work with and my husband took care of it for me over the next week. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t see it well enough to do it, and I was barely able to move from the accident.

I agree with @syz the gross factor really depends on the specific wound.

gailcalled's avatar

I developed a hospital-related abcess over a new lumpectomy incision that blew and left a small crater in my boob. I was housebound for several weeks and because of high risk of infection, i had a visiting nurse come in daily to repack it

She used a sterile pack of scissors and tweezers, gauze soaked in sterile saline solution and tamped the gauze in the hole. Over time the hole slowly shrank, but it was an ordeal. And I was lucky that it healed eventually.

filmfann's avatar

I pulled 8 inches of packing tape out of my arm. Fortunately it didn’t show any of the warning signs I was told would mean repacking. Thanks everyone for contfibuting!

Rarebear's avatar

Tell me more about the wound. If you can post a picture somewhere I can give you more advice.

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