Sunday, April 13, 2008

Complications Where You Come From, Complications Where You're Bound

Yes, I have been out of it again. My original surgery was Feb. 28, '08, and that same day surgery turned out to be four days at Yale-New Haven Hospital. My "bleeding out" complication began March 13, and I was at Yale 5 days that time. I should have had surgery to open it up then, but my surgeon sees people all Friday and obviously didn't want to disrupt his schedule-or his weekend-with a complications surgery, so he decided to have his residents keep packing the wounds and sent me home. Within a day or two
Over the next few days, the holes through which I was supposed to be draining got larger, and continued to pass red blood, so I called my primary care physician (who I had met once only). She looked at it and referred me to a local surgeon, since by then I was clear I was NOT going back to Dr. T. in New Haven. I met the new, local surgeon at 4:30 Friday afternoon, and by 5:30 I was checking into L&M (our local hospital), scheduled for surgery the next morning!
I like doctors who are willing to treat aggressively, if I ask them to! This surgery was really debriedment, the stripping off of skin and infection, leaving me with a large hole in my right side, in front of my hipbone. And I do mean large-about 7 inches by 2 1/2 inches and fairly deep, too, with a 3 inch tunnel which runs under the skin towards my belly button.
I came home Sunday, and went back into the same routine of having a Visiting Nurse in daily to pack the wound. After a week, my wound vac arrived. You can Google it if you are really interested, but briefly, it is a two part system. The first part is fitted to the wound and sealed. The second part is a machine from which one side plugs in to an outlet and the other side into the sealed wound, causing negative pressure. It sucks the pink liquid out, and helps the wound heal quicker. Like in two months, as opposed to eight months if I'd stuck with Dr. T'homson's regime.
Am I angry? You betcha. I am enraged at Dr. T's treatment of me when I went back to Yale in mid March. I even suggested surgery several times to his residents, but they blew me off, as they did when I said I had a second tunnel. Eventually, when I am feeling better, I will write a stiff letter to Dr. Thomson, with copies to the head of surgery at Yale, and to Dr. Bell, my gastroenterologist, who recommended him.
Meanwhile, I am into my third month of being homebound, and feeling pretty much as if I am starting all over again at the beginning. Winter has gone, spring is busting out all over (to coin a phrase) and I am not supposed to leave the house without a minder because I am so weak-from surgeries, blood loss, lack of exercise, etc. I have been out (alone) to see my daffodils and little blue star flowers and crocuses, but there will be no working in the yard this year, alas.
Lonely? Sorry for myself? Yup, definitely, due to too many days spent alone, stuck in the house. I am tired of TV and reading and eating the same food over and over (luckily I froze a lot ahead of time). I know that this too shall pass. My wound van will have me healed in another month or two, and I will actually be looking forward to my former life of physical therapy, regular therapy, doctors' appointments and walks around the neighborhood.
I will certainly survive. I always do, no matter what life throws at me. I can hardly believe that I am writing this, but I am already beginning to think about whether to have my next surgery-on my left shoulder, and absolutely necessary in the long run-in the autumn, or wait for winter! Such is life. It just keeps going, and I have to go with it.
Blessings, Margo