My experience with surgery and healing

Discussion in 'Pilonidal Discussions' started by burgundy, Oct 19, 2004.

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  1. burgundy

    burgundy New Member

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    Everyone on here has been so helpful - and I know that some of the most informative posts have been ones where a member posts his or her surgical experiences as they are happening. (You get so much more information that way rather than an abbreviated overview!) So I figured, now that my time has come, I'd return the favor for someone else wondering about what to expect.

    Anyway, my surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 20. I'm to have the open excision with marsupialization procedure. I'm scared to death. I can't even go into hospitals without getting dizzy, so I have no idea how I'm going to get through tomorrow. My mom's afraid that I'll go into shock if I don't get some sedation or anesthesia RIGHT away! I keep on having these visions that the anesthesia wears off and I wake up in the middle of the surgery - talk about terrifying. I haven't been sleeping well, and I'm so nervous and tense that a muscle in my left eye has been twitching crazily for the past week. It's pretty annoying.

    My surgery's not until 3 p.m., so they said there's a good chance I'll have to stay there overnight. As much as that would freak me out as well, part of me thinks it may be a good thing, to at least know I'm getting good professional care in the first 12-18 hours of my recovery. My husband said he'll be there for me every step of the way, but I don't want to be more of a burden than I have to be.

    Tonight will be the worst of it, when I'll be rushing around trying to make sure that everything's set. I have no idea what to wear to the hospital. Or how I'm going to position myself in the drive home from the hospital. Or how I'm going to deal with the pain. I know hundreds and hundreds have gone before me in this...but I'm SUCH a wimp!

    Anyway, that's all for now. If you're a praying person, I'd appreciate any extra thoughts you could send my way! I'll post again after the PC is OUT of my rear! [(o)]
     
  2. Mo

    Mo New Member

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    First of all - GOOD LUCK!! [:8)]

    Try to relax as much as possible (ha, I know that's easier said than done!) before your surgery. It might be a good idea to bring a magazine or book with you to keep you from freaking out before the surgery - if your husband is with you, that will help a lot because you'll have someone to talk to and hold your hand while youre waiting to go in. Don't think of yourself as a burden - I'm sure your husband doesnt see it that way! And like I told someone else in a different post - keep reminding yourself how great it will be when you're done with it!

    If you do end up staying overnight, chances are you will be doped up and all you will want to do is sleep, which makes the time go by faster. And having medical professionals there for the first hours of your recovery really is a comforting thing.

    As far as what to wear to the hospital - if you have a nice comfy pair of pajama pants, that would be my suggestion. And bring lots of pillows and leave them in the car so they're there when you go home, it will make you a lot more comfortable. I'm sure you've read all the posts about that, and about taking pain meds before the ones from the hospital wear off (see if they will prescribe percoset for afterward, it will really help the pain and make you nice and sleepy) :)

    Good luck and best wishes!!!
     
  3. burgundy

    burgundy New Member

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    Wellllll hello all! I'm back. Currently kneeling on the couch with "Desperate Housewives" on in the background. I figured I'd check in to tell how surgery and the first few days afterwards have been.

    Surgery was on Wednesday, 9/20. I slept in that day which was good, but then quickly panicked when realizing what day it was. Surgery wasn't until 2:45 which turned out to be 4:15 in actuality. They kept me waiting for SO long, I felt like I was going to die! My husband was there the whole time with me but it still felt like an eternity.

    For anesthesia, I think they gave me a MAC, b/c they said it wasn't a general. WHen I woke up, I was on my back, which surprised me. THey had me sitting up partially. I didn't feel groggy at all and they gave me a nice hospital dinner of chicken noodle soup and jello...yummy. At the beginning of the day they said I would have to stay at the hospital overnight, but they sent me home as soon as I finished the dinner, pretty much. Very soon after I had woken up. The ride home was fine, I just sat on one cheek and it felt fine. The rest of the evening I spent on my stomach on the couch, and pretty much the only thing that hurt was my lower back, which has continued to hurt throughout this whole thing, due to the ways I have to lay.

    THursday was okay, more of the same, except that I was feeling pretty nauseous. So, the doctor prescribed me some anti-nausea medication, Compozine. (Turned out to be a bad idea). Doctor said to not do anything to the dressing/bandages until Friday, so we didn't have to deal with that yet. My parents came over to visit and my husband and employer both got me flowers. [^] Already got very sick of being on my back and side! I think I slept a lot.

    Friday sucked. Husband came home on his lunch break to change the dressing (doctor had said it didn't need to be packed but we are going to pack it at least once a day because of all we've read on here). Anyway, I freaked out and got all tensed up prior to and during the dressing change. I mean VERY tense. My legs locked up and I could hardly move them, not even to maneuver myself in the shower. My neck started locking up as well. I could not move it from side to side. THe packing itself didn't hurt much, but not being able to control my muscles really freaked me out. HUsband massaged me and got things to calm down, but later that afternoon it came on again. I threw up and then couldn't relax when all I was doing was laying on the couch. So I was getting pretty scared and called my mom, who came over from work and massaged my legs for a full hour to get them to relax and finally I went to sleep. But that night as I was trying to go to sleep for the evening the muscle spasms/seizures came back again - SO painful. Husband called the on-call doctor, who said I could either try to sleep, or go in to the ER. Well, husband then spent close to 3 hours trying to massage away the spasms until finally I could sleep.

    Saturday - more of the same. When it came time for the packing change of the day, my legs locked up and wouldn't even support me when I tried to stand up - the right hip would jut forward and throw my back out so I would fall over without husband holding me up. It was the most bizarre thing, to not be in control of my body like that. At one point my nexk seized up so bad that I could not even look down at my toes. So finally we decided to go in to the ER. They were pretty concerned and eventually determined that it was an adverse reaction to the anti-nausea medication Compazine. They gave me 2 large doses of Benadryl (of all things) and a saline drip to re-hydrate me. THe Benadryl loosened me right up and I haven't had a problem since. I've been taking Benadryl over-the-counter meds as well.

    So, today has been a lot better, I suppose. The packing change went pretty well, and apart from being really annoyed with my choice of lounging options (stomach or side), I'm doing okay. According to my husband, the wound is pretty small. About the width of a pinky, 5-6 inches long, and 1/2 an inch deep (it was marsupialized). So, I"m guessing I shouldn't have such a terribly long recovery time ahead of me. Is this pretty typical size for a wound?

    I also would like to know (TMI warning!) how did you all wipe your butt after having a bowel movement? My wound goes down pretty far and I am terribly afraid of getting stuff in it when I wipe. I went for the first time today and jumped in the shower immediately afterwords b/c that's what the hospital recommended, but I found out a while later that I hadn't gotten everything. DOes anyone have any tips that might help?

    Thanks for all your tips and kind words! I will continue to keep you posted on how things are going.
     
  4. Mo

    Mo New Member

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    Welcome back! Glad to see you got through the hospital part well - I bet you're glad it's over with!

    That sucks about the muscle spasms, but at least they figured out what it was and were able to make it stop! Benadryl? Strange! I found that the meds made me somewhat naseous too, so I would take Tums with each one. Also make sure you eat something solid before taking medications, that can help too.

    As far as the last part - baby wipes are great! I also used a wet washcloth after using toilet paper, then I would take a shower. My wound also goes very far down, and when I first came home I was really worried about that too. Lucky for me (hahaha) I wasn't able to go #2 for almost a week, even with the help of laxatives, thanks to the medications. With either the baby wipes or the washcloth, it's still a good idea to hop in the shower afterward.

    Good luck and I hope you feel better soon!
     
  5. jakemrjr

    jakemrjr New Member

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    Hiya,

    Quote: "Is this pretty typical size for a wound?"

    It sounds like a typical open wound size. Since your wound is only half an inch deep it may fully heal in around 6-8 weeks. Filling in the depth is what took the longest for me since it was about 4 inches deep, I still have somewhat of an egg shape missing; it's quite odd.

    About the wiping part, is the packing in the way? I had someone help me by cutting the bottom part off first. I swear I must have used an entire roll of toilet paper everytime. I also got in the shower afterwards. I had the most trouble the first two weeks and then things got better.

    Wishing your healing goes well,

    Jake
     
  6. Qwest

    Qwest New Member

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    What a scary experience, thank goodness the worst part is done with.-- keep focusing on getting better and healing more and more each day. Yes, showering is the best way to make sure you are clean after using the restroom. Make sure you are using a handheld shower (they are simple to connect), and be aggressive. The water needs to come out very strong and forceful and cleanse the area for about ten minutes. Our surgeon stressed the importance of being aggressive with the handheld shower after you use the bathroom and at least one other time daily. It will promote healing and keep bacteria from re-entering which is so important. Best wishes.
     
  7. burgundy

    burgundy New Member

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    hello all...I'm now a week and a half post-op and figured I was due for an update.

    Above all, I'm getting really frustrated with this whole thing - having to be on my side/stomach all the time, poor sleeping, packing every day, etc. I am discovering that I don't have much patience for this and just want it to all be over NOW.

    However, apart from that, I guess things are going pretty well. I spend most days on my side on the couch with our cats and the TV. At night when my husband is home, I take a long shower to soak the wound and then my husband swabs out the wound/puts in new packing. This is by far my least favorite part of the day. Overall I guess in the broad range of the spectrum, my pain during this is not terrible. But, I am a wimp.

    Today, I sat on our very cushy couch for a few different short periods. The longest stint was a half hour, after which it was pretty sore. My husband thinks the wound is looking good, although he says it is hard to see progress when he sees it every day. (I myself have never seen the wound - there's no way I could handle it. Yesterday I turned around too soon after he took the packing out and saw blood on it and freaked out.) Anyway, he says that he can see new skin forming at the top where it was the shallowest, and that he's not having to push the gauze in as deep as he used to, so hopefully it's starting to fill in. Also, it was itching a bit today, which I guess is a good sign.

    Two questions: First, when my husband swabs out the wound, lately he has been avoiding wiping any areas with dried blood on it for fear of disturbing any clots. Is this a good idea?
    Second, I'm not sure that I've been getting enough exercise, but I am concerned about doing harm to the wound. today I went outside for th3 first time, for a 10-minute walk. I haven't really felt up to doing much more. Also, we have a small apartment, no exercise equipment, and don't belong to a gym. Any suggestions?
     
  8. burgundy

    burgundy New Member

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    Today, the wound has really been itching a lot. It's making me nuts! But since it's supposed to be a good sign, I guess I shouldn't complain much.
    Today was the first dressing change where I didn't cry, so I think that's also a good sign. I sat for about an hour today and it felt pretty good! Can my doctor write a prescription for those coccyx cushions, or are we on our own for that?

    Well, my two-week checkup is tomorrow and I'm scared. I've gotten used to my husband handling the wound because he realizes how skittish I am with pain, but I'm worried that the doctor won't be quite as gentle. Also, my wound was marsupialized - do they usually use dissolvable stitches or will I have to endure him taking them out? My husband can't tell and I've never looked at the wound. Anyway, if someone has any insights on any of these questions, I'd appreciate it! Thanks.
     
  9. jakemrjr

    jakemrjr New Member

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    Hi Burgundy,

    Quote: "...when my husband swabs out the wound, lately he has been avoiding wiping any areas with dried blood on it for fear of disturbing any clots. Is this a good idea?"

    Hmmm, I don't know. My first instinct would be to scrub the wound with gauze no matter what, and then pack it. My surgeon had us scrub the wound everyday in the shower. It was supposed to help lessen the drainage.

    I believe the scrubbing worked because whenever we didn't do it the drainage increased. (I was told it pushed back the blood vessels and creates less bleeding the same way as ours gums work.) I guess ask your doctor tomorrow about what you should do with that.

    You should take some pain medicine before you go to your Doctors tomorrow. I don't know how your surgeon is, but my surgeon was not gentle with my wound.

    I found a coccyx cushion on clearance at Target yesterday for 10 bucks. Pretty good deal. My insurance does not cover anything like that but I can always look into it.

    Good luck,

    Jake
     
  10. debater_gurl

    debater_gurl New Member

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    Burgundy I had the same thing done with my first surgery(i'm going to have a 5th one soon). When I would go #2 I would wipe down to the bottom of my butt whole. Then use a baby wipe. I would take a shower once in the morning and once at night. So when I did this I had my mother make sure there wasn't anything there.
    As for the cushion I had one after the first surgery. I found it to hurt more then help. The one I had was shaped like the toilet set, but just fome and not the proclen set. So if you can stand sitting on the toilet for like 20 mins get one, if not then don't spend the money on it.
    I hope your doc vist goes good.
     
  11. burgundy

    burgundy New Member

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    Well, my doctor's appointment went well. He hardly poked at it at all, and fortunately the marsupialized stitches are indeed dissolvable and won't need to be cut out. Hooray! [x0x] He said the wound is healing very well and that my prognosis looks good. There was one small hole near the bottom of the wound that he wants us to take special care to keep clean, but that it just needs more time to heal from within and shouldn't be a threat. This of course made me very nervous and scared to ever use the bathroom again, but my husband keeps trying to reassure me since the doctor didn't sound concerned. Overall the doctor says I am well on the way to recovery and this thing is gone for good. So I suppose that I can be happy! It is itching again which is still driving me nuts but other than that, my pain medication need is diminishing significantly. [(o)]

    I have another appointment 2 weeks from now, after which he will determine what kind of timeframe I'm looking at to be returning to work (part time). So, it looks like it will be at least a month out of work - which is a week longer than I told them. I hope they don't whine too much. I don't care much, though, b/c I'm getting disability payments and I hate the job! [:p] I am getting a little bored at home, but we're going to start painting the living room so maybe that can keep my busy.

    Hope you are all doing well, regardless of who wins the Presidency! ;)
     
  12. burgundy

    burgundy New Member

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    Yesterday during cleaning of the wound my husband accidentally disturbed a scab and boy did it bleed! It had me a little worried, but I just have to tell me that it's normal - I have an open wound on my butt!!
    When he swabs out the little hole the doctor pointed out, it really stings badly. But I guess I just have to grit my teeth. I want this to heal SO BADLY!!

    I have been working on my tolerance for sitting...I can sit on our really cushy couch for over an hour now! I actually could probably go for even longer, but I am sitting as upright as possible and forward on the cushion, so there's no support for my back. So, it's actually my back that starts to hurt first and makes me move. *sigh* Oh well, it just feels good to not be laying down! I haven't tried driving, and I still haven't really left the house other than being driven to a voting place on Tuesday. These four walls are getting old fast!
     
  13. burgundy

    burgundy New Member

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    Yesterday (2 1/2 weeks post-op) my husband decided that I needed to get out of the house since I had only done that once since the surgery. So, he took me to the mall to help him pick out some new work clothes. I put on my baggiest jeans and everything! It felt so good to be walking around and doing something 'normal' for a change. I sat on a pillow in the car and it wasn't too bad at all. However, after 3 hours at the mall...BOY was I tired! I was ashamed at how weak I've gotten in such a short period of time. I was just exhausted. When we got home I flopped on the couch and almost fell asleep before I'd had a chance to eat dinner. At least I slept well last night! Been a long time since that has happened. :)
     
  14. ladyleekz

    ladyleekz New Member

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    i know how you feel but do not be ashamed by the weakness it is normal after a surgical procedure. it justs gets better over time.
     
  15. burgundy

    burgundy New Member

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    Some good news items to report!

    -The deeper hole at the bottom of my wound that my surgeon pointed out as a place to keep extra clean has almost closed up, according to my husband.
    -Tomorrow is 3 weeks post-op and I'm pleased to report that I spend 70% of my days SITTING on our very cushy couch. Of course, with breaks to walk around...but it's sitting and it feels so nice to be upright again! Unfortunately it still pains my back after a while to not have some support.
    -My husband reports that the top of my wound has pretty much closed up. In the middle of the wound he says it is about 2 millimeters wide, and the bottom is 4-5 millimeters wide - about 2 or 3 mm deep. He says the overall size of the wound has decreased by at least 50%!

    And the best news:
    -I have a job interview for this Thursday (11/11)!! [:8)] I am worried about dressing up in work clothes and also what they will have to sit on. But my husband says that they'll be understanding. I just feel kind of embarrassed about having to say anything, but I guess it's better than looking really uncomfortable during the interview. So, I am nervous but excited! Wish me luck! [(o)]
     
  16. AnditStarts

    AnditStarts New Member

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    GOOD LUCK ON YOUR INTERVIEW!!!!!!!
     
  17. Kali

    Kali New Member

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    Good luck on the job interview and your healing sounds like great progress.[:8)]
     
  18. burgundy

    burgundy New Member

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    I am now officially one month post-surgery. I am sitting a lot (although only on very squishy couches or chairs since I don't have a coccyx cushion) and feeling a bit more like "me". I went out to eat with my extended family over the weekend for my dad's birthday, and shopping with my mom the next day. Both went well, and riding in the car feels okay as long as I am sitting on a pillow. (I haven't driven yet...no need, I guess.) I'm not taking the Darvocet any more, although I do take some Ibuprofen a couple times a day. The stitches are dissolving quite a bit, too.

    Towards the end of last week there was some green exudate on the packing, which I will take as a good thing. I was starting to get a bit worried because I hadn't seen any yet and so I didn't know if it was healing as well as it should, but now I've at least had some. Am I correct in thinking that maybe not everyone sees some exudate in their wound?

    At my second check-up on Tuesday, the surgeon said the wound was looking good and that he is "reasonably sure" that it should heal up with no problems. Remember that this is the guy who didn't really want to do the open procedure on me because he thinks that 1/3 of them don't heal...so I guess he is just trying to not give me false hope. Well I am determined to not be part of that 1/3!!! My husband says the wound looks great every night when he cleans it. Of course he is not a doctor, hehehe, but I'll take what I can get. [^] Doc gave me the all clear to go back to my crappy job...*sigh* I really hate it there, I was hoping to drag this out longer!

    Thanks for the encouragement on the interview...it went well but I don't think I'm qualified for the position. Oh well - I have my resume in at 2 other places now, too! We'll see...
     
  19. Linda

    Linda New Member

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    That's great that everything is going well for you. I'm so glad!
     
  20. burgundy

    burgundy New Member

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    Just checking in!

    I returned to work on November 22, which was almost 5 weeks post-surgery. I'm only doing three-quarters' time still, however, since my job is 99% sitting. (It's so wonderful how much shorter 9-3 seems as compared to 8:30-5!) I've brought a pillow to work and am trying to make the best of it, although I have discovered that that arrangement isn't nearly as comfortable as our cushy couch here at home. I've been cleared by insurance to work part time until December 13, so I will for sure be taking advantage of that. I've also returned to church, pillow in hand, and am actually enjoying driving - I've only gone 20-30 minute distances, but it hasn't been uncomfortable.

    We still wash the area out with saline every evening - Actually, at this point my husband and I figure it could probably be done less often than that, but when I take a shower the tape and bandaging get all messed up and end up coming off, so we have to clean it anyway. We figure it's better to just plan on doing it every night after a shower. Husband says 90% of the wound has new skin on it, and so at this point it just has to fill in and rise to meet the level of the rest of my outer skin. I still have never looked at it... [:I]

    I've also painted our entire living room and had another job interview with a different company than the previous one. So I am enjoying the concept of starting to feel like 'me' again. [x0x]
     
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