A Happy Story about Boils, Cysts, and Open Wounds

Feb 15, 2001

The Bottom Line Keep it clean, use sterile gauze or pads, and keep your doctor up to date on your condition.

No one has written anything on this topic yet, but it's one that unfortunately has great meaning for me. *sigh*. About 10 months ago, I started noticing a pain in my very lower back (right at my belt line, and right above the crack. NICE.) It wasn't enough to be distracting, just uncomfortable. The pain grew, and then I started noticing some swelling in the same area, but somehow thought I had bruised my tailbone or something, and that it was all natural and would eventually go away.

Well, a few more months into it, my fiancee and I were registering at Target, running around the store with a scanner and registering for the whole @$%@%$ store, and I started feeling dizzy, and decided to sit down on one of the shelves. So then I went home, had a fever of 104, and was not at all happy.

So I went to the doctor the next day (by this time that lump had swollen to about 4 inches by 2 or 3 inches) and she looked at it, pronounced it a Boil, and gave me some antibiotics and told me to wait for it to come to a head and burst on it's own. It did that night, after I put some Black Salve on it, and I thought my troubles were over.

Turns out they had just begun.

The schmoo AKA blood, pus, etc that drained from this now open wound was the foulest smelling gunk imaginable, and the pain was excruciating. The wound was infected, and the antibiotics were helping, but I still had this would that was very uncomfortable. It eventually went away, (and then came BACK about a month ago...more on that later) but there are some things I've learned about it since then that would have helped me out if I had known them earlier.

1. Keep it clean. This is so incredibly obvious, but it's really difficult to do, because it's so painful to be anywhere near the wound. My Grandmother lived with us for the seven years before she passed away, and had an open wound on her leg--it had been the bite of a brown recluse spider, and it ate away at her leg. Being a diabetic, with poor circulation, it never did heal, and got infections and was incredibly hard to keep clean, because every time you'd touch it, she'd scream. I had the same problem with my wound. Keep it clean. Use antibiotic ointments, pack it with gauze, but keep it clean, no matter how difficult it is. The tendency is just to let it go, but eventually something will get in there that will cause infection.

2. My wound was leaking/oozing/weeping blood, pus, etc for several weeks. Eventually, the gauze ran out that the doctor had given me (and we had some left over from my Grandmother's leg...) when I ran out of that, I honestly thought the words "if only there was a product made to absorb blood that also had an adhesive side that would stick to my underpants...." then it hit me like a bolt of lightning....PANTYLINERS. I actually wasn't sure what they were called, but went to the store and casually perused the Feminine Hygiene aisle until I found what I thought would suit my needs. These were my best friends for about a month, and then my wound closed and all was well.

3. Until it came back. This is my last piece of advice--if you have a wound which has closed, and then it returns, or symptoms of infection worsen, then GO BACK TO THE DOCTOR. I delayed it until the pain became unbearable, but found out some vital information.

This "boil" I had for so long wasn't a boil at all, but something called a "Pilonidal Cyst". It's not like a cancerous cyst or anything, and I'm honestly not sure WHAT it is, but I know it's not supposed to be there and I'm eventually going to need surgery to have it removed. In the meantime, I'm bleeding like a mofo every day, and it's very uncomfortable. I'm doing everything I can to avoid infection, and I seem to be doing okay so far....but I know if I don't get this removed soon then I'll eventually catch an infection.

Anyway, this was pretty gross, but I really do hope that it helps someone. A lot of diseases are manifested through having open wounds that won't close, so it's vital that you go to the doctor. They can help you. I usually put it off for way too long--the doctor said that if I hadn't gone in when I had (the first time, with the temp of 104) then I probably would have been hospitalized so they could use an IV antibiotic to flush my system out.

So go to the doctor, and keep it clean!

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