Saturday, June 29, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have never been so busy as I have the past few weeks. On Tuesdays I see my surgeon in the wound clinic for him to monitor my progress. I had a wound vac put on for three weeks and it came home this week. Progress! The wound remains about four or so inches long and about an inch deep. It started out about eleven inches long with a depth of over 2 1/2 inches so this IS progress but it's been slow. About three days a week a visiting nurse comes to change the dressing, listen to my lungs and check my vitals.

I had learned a few weeks ago that my bottom right lung was still partially collapsed from the surgery.
This Tuesday an xray showed that the sack surrounding my lungs once again has fluid in it This is an ongoing battle that I fight. Very frustrating No matter how little salt I eat, no matter how diligent I am with the medications to remove fluid, it still accumulates. When it does I am short of breath and to walk a short distance is somewhat taxing. The solution becomes having the fluid removed via a large needle. This is not something one wants to happen. I feel I am a lung expert by now. Ignorance IS bliss when it comes to this stuff.

It's been rather hot here. I am finally starting to drive short distances. I can't lift over 5 pounds so things like grocery shopping are out of the question. My pain is less than it was but I do have pain at times. Going up the stairs has to be very slow. I think the swelling has gone down some. I am wearing my regular clothes but they sometimes don't feel comfortable.

Rob has off four days for the fourth of July. Woohoo. The bad thing is that Monday is my birthday and he can't take that day off or he won't get paid for the two holiday days. We're going to have to celebrate on Sunday. Yesterday started out to be a terrible day: FIOS went out at 8:30 a.m. That meant no phone, internet or tv as I waited for my visiting nurse to arrive at 10:30. At about ten I showered and I had to remove the dressing and packing (ugh). The nurse was running late and I just had gauze over the wound.
My sister-in-law Leslie showed up (what a wonderful surprise!) with her daughter Jamie. I have such beautiful nieces. Leslie had made me a bean salad that was so delicious, a Guy Fieri recipe. When the nurse later arrived she had a machine that was problematic and I had to go to the cardiologist for a PT (blood test). I got home and got a nice delivery of Omaha Steaks (and pork chops, chicken etc.) sent by my generous and loving cousins in Maryland. It turned out to be a great day. Our FIOS didn't come back until ll:30 last night though. How did we ever live without the internet? Thank God for cell phones.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gallbladder saga part two

I am now on somewhat of a schedule. Way too busy honestly for someone recuperating from surgery. On Mondays I was having my blood level checked to see if it was thin enough. On Tuesdays I see my surgeon at the wound care clinic. Thank God they numb me up with lidocaine before he touches the wound. He removes the top layer of skin that has healed and it is not fun.
I was mistaken about the parts unhealed being only an inch deep. They were 2.5 deep. Last Saturday I got the wound vac. They stuff a spongy product into the wound. It's very strange. The following Monday the visiting nurse came and felt there was way too much bleeding so she called my surgeon and told him. Since he knew I was already anemic he insisted I go to the emergency room to have my hemoglobin tested and if necessary, to have a transfusion. I had to find a driver first which I did. When I arrived I was shocked that on a Monday afternoon there were 100 people in the ER in total. Took awhile until they got me set up and blood drawn. The resident came in and said that they were afraid I had blood clots in my lungs because I was so short of breath. I was so NOT happy at that point. I pointed out that I was on IV heparin or the coumadin (closely monitored) and felt it was not possible. They wanted to do this scan which involves getting dye which is not good for your kidneys. I took out my cell and called my lung doctor. She came to the ER and basically took my side. The blood test showed that I did not need a transfusion however the chest x ray showed a partially collapsed lung on the right side. This is what was affecting my breathing. Ugh. No wonder the oxygen didn't help. Had I used the piece of breathing equipment that they gave me after surgery? No, I hadn't. So I came home that evening. On Tuesday I saw the surgeon and he said he saw some signs of healing that he had not before and was encouraged. They put the wound vac back on and I was on my merry way.

I have visiting nurses coming on Thursday and Saturday to change the packing and check my vitals. They have decided to test my blood saving me the Monday trips to do that. They lecture me on eating. I have been home from the hospital some two weeks and am down about ten pounds. I have no appetite. When I force myself to eat I get indigestion. The surgeon tells me that this will work itself out. I hope so. I am kind of housebound not being able to drive. This past week one of my friends came for a visit. That was nice but by the time I had to put lunch together for us I was shot. People don't realize how a major surgery takes such a toll on you.

Rob has been working Saturdays. This is extra hard right now because I rely on him to do so much. My mother lives 5 minutes away and is willing to drive me to an occasional doctor visit but she does nothing more. Rob gets up at 5:30 a.m. for work and after working in a warehouse all day comes home and has to prepare dinner. On weekends he vacuums, cuts the grass, etc.
I feel terrible that I can do nothing right now. I am still in a lot of pain. While the wound is healing I'm told it's still about two inches deep in four spots. My cut is diagonal and you can't move without it hurting.

Rob's in the shower right now and we are going to go for a drive somewhere to get me out of the house. Haven't been anywhere since Tuesday. Maybe get lunch somewhere. I will be so relieved when the pain eases and I know the wound has healed. The surgeon has assured me that one "problem" on the CT scan is nothing to worry about. They found a hiatal hernia which I will have to see a gastroenterologist to treat when I can drive again.

Oh for a boring life!!!!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Gallbladder Saga

I knew that in late April or May my gall bladder had to be removed. I also knew that because of the size of it ("huge" according to my surgeon and the radiologist who scanned it) that it would be the old school way. No little three holes and leave the hospital that day for me. I was admitted on May 15th and began my IV blood thinner after stopping the pills. On May 17th I was wheeled down for the surgery. I woke up and found myself in SICU. Thankfully I was breathing on my own but surprised that they had my bed in an almost upright position. The nurses and care there was wonderful but I didn't do so well. My hemoglobin had dropped and although I had received two pints of plasma doing the surgery I ended up getting two more after passing out on them. They did three scans to make sure I wasn't bleeding internally, which thankfully I wasn't. I finally made it down to a regular room when they told me that I was not healing well. I have to say there were several factors that I feel were to blame: I was woken every six hours for bloodwork, I had noisy roommates and the hospital is not a quiet place. Finally after two plus weeks I was sent home. At this point I was ready to lose it. When I saw the surgeon the following week he said the wound was not healing well and he referred me to a wound care clinic and ordered a visiting nurse and daily dressing changes. He was not able to remove the staples.

Yesterday I followed up at the wound care clinic (what a marvelous place and group of people.) I won't go into the details but was so thankful they numbed me up first. Today they will be bringing something called a wound vac to put on it to help the healing. I have four places that are more than an inch deep. It's quite painful still. I am trying to move about the house throughout the day and not be a couch potato. I'm really not up to activities such as shopping. He did remove the staples yesterday. My surgeon is really wonderful. My inability to heal is caused by many factors such as anemia (after all the blood my hemoglobin is still 8), the PH I have with my lungs lowers my oxygen levels which promote healing and I have belly fat. :(

I am trying to look at this as a minor inconvenience that will pass. I hate being so helpless and having to rely on others so much. A family friend Joyce an R.N. has been wonderful coming here and helping me with dressing changes and such. I'm hoping this will only be about a four week ordeal. When it's over with I have to pursue the other issues they found on the CT scans.