Surgery Log

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pilo14 - Definitely gotta stay positive like uwp said. I was babbling to the nurse when I came out from surgery about 'mind over matter' and all. They estimated I'd take an hour to wake up and I only took about 30 minutes. Just gotta keep saying, "I -will- get better and this -will- heal!"

uwp - Thanks for the note about the infection thing from the nurse and also the antibiotics. I think I feel optimistic about the whole thing, really. The only thing that's been a problem thus far has been feeling good and trying to do too much too soon. It's like I have to stop and remember, "Okay, there IS a HOLE in my BACK. Slow down."
Taking time off work

So I was starting to think about how much time I'd really need off work because I know a lot of employers aren't as understanding as mine.

It has now been about a week since my surgery and if I absolutely had to go back to work tomorrow I would try to:
1. See if they'd let me work from home.
2. See if I could work half days.

If I had to go back full time right now, based on my energy level, pain and drainage, I could probably do the following types of jobs:
1. A desk job where they'd let me get up frequently and hopefully have somewhere for me to lie down every now and then (sometimes I do feel very tired during the day and I'm not doing much right now).
2. The type of job where you're doing some standing and a little bit of walking, but no heavy lifting and where hopefully I'd be able to sit or lie down every now and then.

I couldn't do jobs that would involve:
1. Having to be really alert (like performing surgery or flying a plane:)) because the pain, although not all that bad, is kind of distracting and the pain meds do make me a little dopey.
2. Getting bumped or jostled. Even lying on my back is uncomfortable on the wound area. If I had to take a bus or subway to work, I'd try to go before or after rush hour to avoid getting bumped into. And I wouldn't want to be back at a job where you might get bumped or jostled by overly energetic pre-teens who don't watch where they're going on on their way out for recess;).

So I probably could go back to work right now in some circumstances because I am able to read and type and carry on somewhat coherent conversations, but I'm very grateful I have more time off right now.

Hopefully that gives you all an idea of life a week after an open excision:)
Woo for day four post-op! Things seem to be going well, except for a little concern about a possible infection getting started (see other thread). I'm actually feeling better than I have since the surgery itself.

How's it going on ya'lls "ends" uwp and NorthernGirl?
Still doing great. Feel like I'm still experiencing slight increases in sensitivity during packing changes, but its not really painful. I dont know if that makes any sense. Still feelin weak, but since I dont have anything to really do, its not an issue. and still no BM (sorry for the overshare), although its not something im looking forward to, nor feeling the need to yet.
I havent really attempted to sit too much, more out of fear, but I have managed to sit on one leg leaning to the side. We might attempt to go see a movie tomorrow evening, figuring since not many people will be there I can put up the arm rests and lay on my side. It would just be a nice to get out of the house.

Infection, huh? Did you go to the wound care center today? Last night I did have a little bit of the "gunk" (mostly pale yellowish, small hint of green), which I believe is called exudate, but so far so good still. I found this on the website, maybe it helps:
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Exudate - This is the by-product of healing that you will start seeing in your wound at about 5 days post-op. At first glance, you may think you have an infection since there will be little gobs of "gunk" in your wound. Exudate can be white, yellowish, grayish, greenish or light brown. Exudate can also have a slight odor, it is normal. [/FONT]
  • [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Strong odor with pain, redness and swelling usually indicates infection, call your doctor ASAP. [/FONT]
If I were you, I think you'd be ok till your nurse comes, just because my nurse said if I had an infection, I'd know. But its your body, so if you think something may be wrong, then go get it looked at. Cant hurt anything.
Hopefully its not anything for you, and if it is it seems like you're catching it early. Good Luck!
So just a heads up to the other recoverers: I'm at the one week mark now and I'd say today has probably been my roughest day in terms of pain. I didn't take my painkiller as early as I usually have (I'm trying to stick to one Tylenol 3 with codeine a day taken about an hour and half before my packing change) because the nurse came later today, and I really started to feel it by noon. I took the painkiller shortly after that. I'm feeling better now, but I did feel it when she swabbed out the wound with some gauze (it's the first time I have really felt anything with the packing change). So my advice - keep up with your painkillers - it does seem to get worse before it gets better. Having said that though, it hasn't been unmanageable in any way (I'd expected a lot worse).

Hope you're all continuing to do well!
Hey gals - it seems everyone is doing good. I'm sorry to hear that it's starting to be a bit painful, but hey, what can we expect right, it is a wound, gals - remember that! Just be careful because yous want to heal correctly the first time around. NorthernGirl - I like your posting on "taking time off work" it helps!
So far... so good...

Day 5 Post-Op:

Hey guys, I got the wound vac "installed" today. It's actually pretty nifty and neat, I'm glad I don't have to do dressing changes and the like by myself anymore. The nurse got the thing to suction on the first try and she's like, "Okay, be ready, it's gonna hurt." It felt like a blood pressure cuff might feel on your arm, and that was it! I guess they can be pretty painful, though, since it is literally creating a vaccuum with the wound to get the gunk out. I've already got some fluid going through the tube, so so far, so good. I've got the Wound VAC Freedom, so I just have to carry around a little black purse looking thing. Now, hiding the tube with blood and gunk going through it is a little interesting, but hell, it's a LOT better than leaking through your pants with the stuff. And people understand when you say, "Well, I had surgery on my back and this helps me heal better/easier/more comfortably/whatever." The one guy I talked to actually was like, "You know, my sister could use something like that, etc. etc."

I'll keep you guys posted if you want. Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone!
Wow, that Woundvac thing sounds pretty cool! Does this mean you don't have any packing changes until the thing gets removed? How long do they leave it in? Glad to hear getting it put in went so smoothly. Happy holiday!
I am having my surgery on Jan. 3rd. My doctor (Aaron Roth) said that he usually sews the wounds closed but 10% chance it will come back, so I said no thanks, let's leave it open.

I found out that I have 2 holes, as the second attack finished about a week ago. Therefore, I am eager to get the surgery before it burrows deeper.

I'm currently on a 7 day cycle of antibiotics because it was infected :(

I'm very excited to be done with it and move on with my life. I bought a dounut already too, and I'm taking hot baths every day. It was really hurting 2 days ago, but I had started my period, so that's probably why.

Good luck to everyone! This is a crappy time of year to be having surgery, but I hope your healing goes smoothly and our asses calm down in 2008 :p
enchanted... good luck on your surgery! Let us know how it goes. Also, as far as the donut, I've heard those arent comfortable for this type of problem. You need a coccyx cushion (usually rectangle shaped with a small section cut out of the back, which allows the tailbone to hang off). Tush Cush (, are popular ones, although I did find out at a local pharmaceutical and medical supply store.

Besides that, my advice is to just take care of everything early. Run your errands and do all your shopping ahead of time! good luck
Day 6...
Merry Christmas to everyone! Hope everyone is still able to enjoy the holidays, even if they must spend it on their side. I did make it to a movie yesterday, but had to lay down on the ride there, and also layed across two seats at the theater. It didnt feel too bad though. I am still increasing in sensitivity, and slightly in pain, bit it doesnt bother me too much since I was expecting far worse. Honestly, compared to my lancing, this has been a piece of cake pain wise. I did have a bit more drainage and exudate last night and this morning, which is normal, and im sure partially due to moving around more. Still very happy at this point!
Britt- the vac sounds like it sucks (haha) would be painful. Do you only feel it when its put on, or while its on too? and does it stay on 24/7?

Day 7 Post-Op (Wednesday):

So it's been a week. I've had my wound vac for three days now. I've noticed that things are still a little uncomfortable with it, but it's a lot less of a hassle than changing packings three times a day and such. The nurse comes three times a week to change out the canister (the manual says do it at least once a week), and it's actually pretty cool to see all of the gunk that you're getting out of your body. Does that make me completely and utterly weird? lol -- As for the discomfort, I've cut back on the Motrin so that I'm only taking about 800 mg a day or so (it's a prescription from when I fractured a bone in my foot -- the doc okay'd it).

Yes, it stays on 24/7, which means sponge bathing. Kind of a pain, but well worth it. I just wash my hair in the sink and don't go running around in this Florida heat too much. It's not painful at all, or wasn't for me. Like I said, it just felt like a blood pressure cuff tightening on your arm, oddly enough, when the nurse turned it on. You can feel it a little bit, depending on exactly where your wound is, but for the most part, it makes sitting and such easier. I was actually able to chase my niece and nephew around for Christmas because they got one of those electric kiddie cars (the red Mustang, of course). It was nice not having to go soak every few hours and miss out on holiday stuff. Only thing is that I am having to carry the purse thing around, so I won't be going out for New Year's. Only a little bit of tubing shows, but when there's bloody looking stuff going through it and I'm in a bar... well, you get the idea. It really is sturdy, though, because I thought I was going to bend the tubing or something, but it's like industrial strength stuff. The 'purse' can be carried in a variety of fashions -- on your belt, around your waist, over your shoulder, and there's even a hook to hang it on stuff. You can roll up the extra tubing and put it in one of the pockets so it's not hanging out everywhere. And the battery lasts FOREVER. I leave it on to charge overnight and during the day I've never even seen the battery display go down even a little bit.

Okay, I'll leave it at that. Hope everyone had a great holiday, whichever you choose to celebrate. Looking forward to a good, PC-free new year!
Thanks for the description of the WoundVac - it sounds like it has lots of conveniences, but that's too bad about the purse making New Years Eve plans difficult. Though, even without a WoundVac, I'm wondering if I'm going to feel up to being in public by then.

I'm now on Day 10 (I'm counting my surgery day as Day 1) and both the pain and drainage have lessened (they were at their worst on Days 6 - 8). I'm feeling better in general too. I'm trying to do more sitting (on my TushCush, of course:)) and am finding I have to get up every 15 minutes or so because I get kind of achy (both the wound and my unused muscles in general). Standing is very comfortable for me (but it's always been that way - with lower back problems, I tend to do a lot of standing because sitting is what hurts). Not sure how happy I would be going back to work yet - I think I would need a few more days to get my muscles used to being upright again. The nurse today said the pain and drainage would come and go and having them again wouldn't necessarily be a sign of problems.

The only thing that has me a bit down right now is that the nurse yesterday estimated my wound at 1 inch deep, whereas the first nurse I had, measured it at 1 cm. I'm starting to think that first nurse missed something, because I do feel like they are packing my wound deeper than at the beginning, so I do think it is probably closer to 1 inch than 1 cm. Hopefully, it won't make the healing process too much longer.

Good luck to the rest of you with your continued recoveries (and upcoming surgeries) and hope everyone had/has/is having a happy holiday!:)
Day 7 for me...
Hope everyone had a good Christmas. I would like to point out that my parents, the comedians that they are, got me a pair of footy pajamas with a butt flap as a joke, so that theres easy access for packing changes. I'm glad its something we're atleast able to find humor in.

Still feeling pretty good about everything. I am getting slightly more exudate, but still not really draining a whole lot. I was up and about yesterday more than I have been, but am still feeling a bit low energy wise and get tired easily. Sitting in a somewhat normal position still is not an option. I can sit on my side, which I what I had to do for Xmas dinner. Its weird because when I'm soaking I feel like I can actually sit better then on the couch or chair or anything.
I dont know if I'll be up for New Years either, which is quite unfortunate as its my first legal one :) We'll make a decision that day, however, but if I have any reservations I won't push it. I'd rather not take the chance of having any setbacks or anything from overdoing it for a night.

Britt- just have to say how much I love that little power wheels mustang. I have an actual bright yellow one, but those little ones are adorable.
Day 8...
Ok, this is the first day I have an actual concern. My draining has mostly just consisted of a slightly yellow fluid, and some of the exudate. I havent really had any blood for like 3-4 days. We changed the packing 3 times yesterday, one extra time after going to the bathroom. When doing the last change before bed, there seemed to be a bit of blood on the packing. Assuming it was normal, we didnt really think too much of it. This morning however, when changing the packing, there was a bit more blood (pinkish/bright red in color). My 2x2 packing was about 3/4 of the way completely saturated (still some white on the gause, so its not like it was completely drenched), and then a bit had gone through onto the dressing. I was up and around quite a bit on Christmas,2 days ago, but yesterday I took it easy and didnt really do anything that I thought would cause more draining. I dont really feel much more pain or anything, although my back is stiff... but no fever or other signs of infection. I'm wondering if this is something to be alarmed about? I might call the nurse and ask, but i figured maybe I'd wait until the next packing change tonight and then make a decision then based on the drainage then. Any similar experiences or suggestions?
uwpsocr13 - The home care nurses I have said going to the bathroom might cause a little more drainage and bleeding at the beginning, since it does put pressure on that area. They also said moving around in different ways may cause some bleeding. They told me to be concerned about it if I was bleeding through the inner and outer layers of gauze or if it didn't resolve itself after a day or two. They said bleeding on its own isn't a sign of infection. Good luck with it - I'm sure it will stop on its own soon, but it never hurts to call the nurses.

I'm now on day 11 and have found I'm a lot hungrier today than I've been. When I read the nurses log (I've been doing this every when they leave since I discovered it a few days ago;)), I noticed that after a few days of having the wound described as a "red, healthy base", the one today described it as "pink and clean". I'm wondering if this, with the increase in appetite, may mean that the wound has finally settled down and is now ready to close itself up properly. Actually, I've decided that's what it's doing `cause mind over matter, right:)?
WOW - that's good Northern Girl! I was a bit scared about Uwps Day 8 log - since I might have to cut my "recovery time at home" short (you gals have seen my "vent" post), but since you're on day 11, you've been through what Uwps has! It is SOOO COOL that you gals are doing this log, it's so helpful!
pilo 14 - I feel so bad for you and that stupid situation you have at work! But, if it helps, I could probably go back to work today, though I'd be moving slowly, needing some rests and would probably get a lot of sympathy from my co-workers:). Glad this log is coming in handy for you - I find it's also helping me keep track of my own recovery and I'm glad some good is coming out of going through this recovery.
It's stupid alright - but I can't complain - gosh, we had some layoffs for the umpteenth time this year and I'm still there (and not to mention I get my bonus) - but $$ is not all that - I still feel that I cannot believe these people cannot understand the emotional, the trauma, the pain, everything else that people that do not have our "disease" go through. I actually have a co-worker that has had it, but he's gone through 2 lancings, and still no surgery. So he can emphatize - but no one else seems to understand, and it's a work environment, so I don't necessarily want to "gore" out everyone.... sigh... Again, I know I sound like a broken record - but I'm so glad I have this forum with people that understand... :'(
Uwps - how you doing girl? I hope your "abnormal" draining is okay - and actually "normal."

Actually, I hope all of yous are doing good - hahah - it feels like I'm watching NFL (I love watching football with my fiance') - rooting for my team - hahah - :)
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