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Andrew Pollock


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Sunday, 25 January 2009

Too much deja vu

Seriously, every time Sarah has surgery, it all goes pear shaped.

The bottom (last time it was towards the top) of Sarah's incision from her recent wire removal surgery was looking a bit red, swollen and hard on Friday, so she went in to the clinic at got them to take a look at it.

They decided that a knot in the sutures was trying to work its way out, and causing inflammation or something, so just like last time, they decided to reopen the incision a bit. They did that, and cut the knot out, and rather than packing with gauze, they just taped the small opening closed with some steristrips and covered it with gauze and sent her on her way.

Somewhat fortunately (for me) Sarah went into the clinic during the day while I was at work, so I missed participating in the fun and games. They didn't use any local anaesthetic, but Sarah said it didn't hurt too much.

That night, though, she was in a reasonable amount of pain, again, similar to last time, except it was a band across her upper abdomen, below her breasts, instead of chest pain.

Mindful of the staph infection disaster from last time, we trotted off to the ER on Saturday afternoon, hoping to nip this in the bud. They did some blood work, which came back clear, and gave her some IV pain medication, which didn't seem to do much, and were generally scratching their heads as to the cause of the pain.

Fortunately, one of the surgeons involved with Sarah's wire removal from 2.5 weeks previously happened to be on call, so he got called in. He had a bit of a poke around the opening with a long cotton bud, and declared that it was possibly infected, because there was a bit of cloudy fluid discharged when he poked it in. Oh, and the cotton bud disappeared a good centimetre or more under the skin further up the incision, which indicated an abscess was forming.

So, for the second time, I got to watch my wife being cut open with a scalpel. I think the local anaesthetic injections were the most painful part for her. He opened the incision up a bit further, and packed it with some Betadine-soaked gauze, and we got sent home with the same instructions as last time this happened: I had to repack the wound with saline-soaked gauze two to three times a day and let it heal from the bottom up. She was also prescribed some antibiotics. She's got about a 2cm incision just below her breasts. It looks a lot deeper than the hole from last year's incision.

So we got home about 6pm last night, and went to bed around 11pm. Sarah lasted a couple of hours before she woke up in even more pain than before. She called up the hospital and had the same surgeon paged, and he advised her to come in to the ER again. So at I think about 2am, we headed back.

They took some more blood, did a CT scan, which came back clear, and decided to admit her. They're giving her IV antibiotics and pain medication. Initially she didn't want to have any more IV pain medication because it didn't seem to be working, and it tends to make her nauseous. She wasn't keen on dealing with throwing up with the amount of pain she was having. It hurt to move as it was.

With a mixture of IV anti-nausea drugs and the IV pain medication, the pain has finally come under control though. She did have one bought of vomiting this evening, which didn't seem to cause her too much discomfort, and she's getting in and out of bed more comfortably. They're going to keep her in overnight. She has a post-operative followup tomorrow in the clinic, so I expect they'll keep her in the hospital until at least then, depending on how things go.

Her cardiologist, intimately familiar with last year's debacle, dropped in this afternoon. He's wondering, given how this has happened twice now, if Sarah has some sort of allergy to the type of absorbable suture they've used. Apparently there are different types of sutures, so if she ever has any other surgery, we'll have to get them to try a different type

It'll be interesting to see how she goes tonight, as the pain seems to get worse overnight. She hasn't had any IV pain medication since about 1pm, and she wanted to see how she goes without it, because if she gets discharged tomorrow, she'll have to rely on oral stuff anyway.

I think it definitely gets harder for her to manage her pain when the pain is causing her to lose sleep. She can only deal with having a couple of night's worth of bad sleep before it all gets too much. So I'm really hoping she gets a good night's sleep tonight. Not that hospitals are renowned for that...

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