STITCH INFECTION: ABDOMINAL SURGERY RECAP

Surgery for the infection underneath my abdominal skin went as well as it could have yesterday.

Abdominal_Infection_SurgeryMatt delivered me to the hospital and stayed with me the entire time (that they would allow him). He was such a good sport, yet I felt badly that he would have to take an entire day away from his obligations for this little medical hic-up, and worry about me for hours on top of it all. Argh! Well, what could be done?

 

After a fast from midnight building up to the procedure, Matt & I made it to the hospital on time at 9:00am for an 11:00 procedure. The surgeon was running an hour and a half behind, so it was quite a long wait, but no worry, I could catch up on all the wonky politician statements in the voters pamphlet, ha!

 

Then the anesthesiologist appeared. Oh good, I thought, we’re getting close. I just wanted to get home. After the hernia repair, back in October 2012, I remember waking up and fighting nausea for hours. That kept me at the hospital until 11:30 at night when my stomach finally settled. I made sure they would mind the anti-nausea medication this time. Ok, it was a deal. Dr. Tseng came in and reiterated the planned procedure. We told him to go take a break and get lunch, we would be happy to wait until he felt ready (he was 1-1/2 hours behind schedule, for some unknown reason, possibly a stressful one!). He laughed assured us he would.

 

Next think I know, I was in the recovery room (funny, the passing of time). The nurse was buzzing around my bedside and I heard Matt’s voice coming around the corner. All went well, and I passed this test. No nausea to speak of. I ate some ice chips, then sipped some water, then added saltines on top of that. I was out of it, but felt good. About an hour and I took two Oxycodone for some creeping soreness, and got dressed, and we left! It was about 4:00pm; a full day.

 

The doctor had found some extra suture material under the smaller of the two pimples on my abdomen, which would have made it impossible to fight off an infection, then removed some of the mesh from under the larger pimple. He found no tracks of infection leading to other areas under the skin, so was confident he excised everything he needed to in order to vanquish the infection. Let’s hope. Now I will be “packing the opening” with gauze to draw out fluid as the infection drains. The nurse recommended instead that I see a healing specialist who will have some alternative methods of healing the wound. I guess packing went out of fashion? Not too fond of it, myself.

 

I felt some wetness on my clothes and the wound had been weeping through the bandaging and all three layers of clothing, already! I think this is good? My body is expelling the infection? I am not to change the dressing for 24 hours, so I packed on a hand towel and pulled up a fitted cotton skirt to aid holding it in place. I looked as white trash as possible with my hot pink tank top, short, fitted skirt and bulging belly bandages. Ha!

 

It was such a beautiful, sunny day, a good day for recovery on the couch! And Matt stopped at the grocery store to buy some salmon and halibut to barbecue. It was peaceful at home. I snoozed for a while. We watched The Social Network, which we enjoyed. Even though we were both tired, we had a lovely date!

 

Fingers crossed, now we wait and see. Only if the infection does not go away or the hernia reappears will I be back in the hospital.

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HERNIA OR DIA-WHA-?

Pot belly: Is it a hernia or a diastasis, or… BOTH?

The look of it is like a bowl that was slid underneath my belly button. I’ve had a good month and a half to wonder about, and fret over what is happening inside my belly to cause this. I finally scheduled a surgical consultation to find out what the heck…

Matt & I met with a surgeon at St. Vincent’s in Portland, and got the lowdown on my disfigured tummy. The verdict: A hernia… AND diastasis!?! Well, why choose between the two when I can have both! That has been my fundemental philosophy since birth, mainly when it comes to desserts, but it also seems to be true for medical conditions. For example, many years ago my dentist informed me that rather than the standard four wisdom teeth, I had six, which would all be removed at once. (A little extra Percodan for me!) There are some ways which you DON’T want to be special.

Hernias

A hernia happens when the delicate lining of the abdomen pushes through damaged abdominal wall, as how an inner tube pushes through a damaged tire. About 600,000 hernia surgeries are performed around the US every year. The two methods used to treat hernias are “open”, where a full incision opens up the abdominal wall; or “laparoscopic”, where small incisions allow the surgeon to perform the fixes through small tubes without a large opening being necessary. Hernias will not get better over time. Here’s more on hernias.

hernia_laparoscopic_surgeon

Laparoscopic Surgery

hernia_laparoscopic_equipment

Laparoscopic Equipment

hernia_laparoscopic

Laparoscopic Equipment

hernia_mesh

Hernia Mesh

Diastasis

A diastasis happens occasionally during pregnancies or rarely after an abdominal surgery. When the abdominal muscles separate down the center, due to access during a surgical entry, and the delicate facia tears, the muscles spread apart allowing organs to push between the muscle wall. This is not my tummy pictured, but the doctor was able to do this to my belly. More on diastases.

diastasis_rectus_abdominus

Diastasis

This procedure will be painful, I am told, it can be out-patient, but I will likely stay over night in the hospital, then it will take two to four weeks before I will be active again. It is a simple and quick procedure, and it is covered by insurance. Very likely I will schedule it for late October

There goes Halloween!

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