Mexican Pipeline: Medical Emergency in Mexico (cont.)

I left the urgent care facility with mixed emotions. I was relieved that I was going to be okay (but not happy about no activity for a whole week). I also was still unsure of what a mattress stitch was, so I decided to look it up online. I found out that a mattress stitch is a type of suture that is used for areas with high tension (meaning, areas on the body where a wound occurs and is more likely to pull apart). A mattress stitch is extra strong to reinforce the area while healing. This made sense to me because the wound was on the outside of my leg about five inches from my ankle. This portion of the leg supports a lot of weight while standing, walking, or any other upright movement. So, with all my new understanding all I could do now was rest and wait for the cut to heal.

Mattress Stitch

Each day the wound got better. The swelling went down after about four days, but despite the lack of infection the redness remained. After day seven, I went back to have the stitches removed. I was really apprehensive about the procedure. The wound area was healing, but still really sore. The doctor assured me though that it wouldn't hurt - he was correct. The stitches were removed in less than ten minutes, and already the skin that was raised due to the tightness of the stitch started to relax. The following day the redness started to decrease, and the pain decreased. After two weeks, I could return to my normal exercise routine. I kept the wound very clean and made sure to keep antibiotic ointment on it to prevent dryness and infection. A month later and the wound is almost completely healed.

While I wouldn't want to repeat the accident, I did learn two things:

  1. I know what a mattress stitch is, and
  2. I should ask what kind of doctor I am going see before I get any medical procedures done in a foreign country.

Overall it was a good experience. Some people bring back hammocks, sombreros, or jewelry as souvenirs from Mexico. I have a four inch scar that reminds me of surfing in Puerto Escondido, and learned that the waves aren't nearly as treacherous as that one loco bandido surfing The Point that day.

Danielle R - aka Shark Girl

Last Editorial Review: 8/10/2007