My Spiel about Peel

Yohan’s Surgery #12: My Spiel about Peel

August 16, 2016

False alarm! We thought the cast was coming off, and it did, for about 30 minutes, before they slapped another one right back on his foot. And what’s with adult orthopedics? The available colors are so exceedingly boring! They did offer pink, orange, black, dark blue…. Yawwwwwn. Yohan wanted tie-dye, rainbow, flames or even animal print. Nope. In the adult world, can’t do that. So, he settled for orange-bright neon orange. We could have decorated the cast (lots of ideas on Pinterest!), but we have an ongoing trust issue since I secretively wrote MOM on the bottom of his casted foot when he was asleep. Whatever.


When Gilles brought him to see Dr. Pfeffer 2 weeks ago, we could not wait to see the surgically repaired foot. Watch Dr. Pfeffer’s face.

Best reaction ever, right?? I made the GIF (pronounced gift without the “t” and evidently a hotly-debated and controversial topic right now in America) so I can watch it over and over and over again. Dr. Pfeffer is so pleased with his work, which means that I am very pleased with Dr. Pfeffer! If you look closely at Yohan’s foot, it is both beautiful and kind of gross. Beautiful because his foot is aligned, straight and relaxed. Gross because there are crusty scars, peeling, dead skin, overgrown toenails, and did I mention peeling, dead skin?
Let’s discuss the peeling, dead skin issue a little further. Here are a couple of very interesting facts about epidermis:

  • Skin accounts for about 15% of your body weight.
  • The average person has about 300 million skin cells. A single square inch of skin has about 19 million cells and up to 300 sweat glands.
  • Your skin is at its thickest on your feet (1.4mm) and its thinnest on your eyelids (0.2mm).
  • The skin renews itself every 28 days.
  • Your skin constantly sheds dead cells, about 30,000 to 40,000 cells every minute! That’s nearly 9 lbs. per year!
  • Some sources estimate that more than half of the dust in your home is actually dead skin.
  • Dead skin comprises about a billion tons of dust in the earth’s atmosphere.
  • Your skin is home to more than 1,000 species of bacteria.
new cast

TMI? Too bad-deal with it because I am not done. Read on……

Now, we need to discuss how the above-mentioned facts relate to Yohan’s foot. Personally, since Yohan came home with a minimalist cast, which is shorter, less bulky and quite revealing (you can see his straightened toes – all five of them!), I have never, ever seen so much flakey, cracked, mummified skin sheddings all at one time, in my entire life.

Under that cast, many dry, scaly, dead skin cells have accumulated, not having been sloughed away with soap and water in a daily washing routine. And that smell! Pee-ew! Sweat leaves moisture under the cast, creating quite the ripe aroma of sticky, perspiring, stinky feet.
I’ve become much acquainted with the stench, because Dr. Pfeffer gave me a very important and ultra precise job to do with Yohan’s pinky toe (the only digit to have been surgically straightened). Twice daily, I have to press down on it, and give it a good stretch, for 30 seconds, 3 times in a row. Once I’ve accomplished my mission, my thumb is covered with Yohan’s dead skin cells, which completely messes up the image of my lovely fingerprint. Disgusting. But, of course, like when changing diapers, when it is your own kid, it’s not that bad. But do not ever ask me to do this to your feet. That would be an immediate “No Way, Jose!”

nursing dummies

Today, when stretching Yohan’s pinky downwards, he kept telling me it hurt a lot, but I rolled my eyes and ignored his whining. When I finished the third set exercises, I examined his toes carefully and to my horror, I realized that I was unnecessarily creating trauma to the base of his fourth toe with my long ass thumb nail. His healthy, vibrant skin had several large, deep indentation marks, and his toe started to turn bright red, with a bluish tint. OMG! Think, Elizabeth, just think for 2 seconds before acting. My dreams of becoming a professional nurse have been destroyed. I failed before I even had the chance to begin. As we continue on this journey together, Yohan’s trust in me is slowly eroding. I’m not the person he once thought I was. He’s just presented me with a gift for all my hard work: the book, “Nursing Tips for Dummies.”

Yohan no longer needs pain medication. He is not weight-bearing yet, but he’s getting around quite nicely on crutches. He can probably do much more than he will admit, and I’m letting him get away with it. I need to balance out the guilt I harbor about the abuse I’ve subjected him to. But that all ends Thursday: cast removal day! Off with the old, and on with the new walking boot!
A new chapter, with all new adventures, begins Thursday.
Until then, when you take your next shower, know that you are getting rid of tons of dead skin cells. Enjoy the shed!

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