Not quite wonder woman

Surgery #3: more post-op

I’m very much losing track of time with this no schedule life I’m leading right now. I started a post and was going to pick up and finish it but realized that was almost two weeks ago and I have no idea where I was going with it.

So today I am 4 weeks plus 3 days post-op but I’m gonna try to patch together the past few weeks.

 

On March 14th 20 days post-op I had my second doctor visit.

Emory Hospital. There is construction going on everywhere but parking and getting in the building was surprisingly easy.

They removed the staples and replaced them with Steri-Strips. For those of you unfamiliar with these strips they are thin very sticky pieces of tape that hold wounds close. They are supposed to fall off by themselves in approximately 10 days or so. About half of mine have fell off as of today (11 days later).

On March 17th only three days later the Steri-Strips that were right where any clothing waistband hits fell off, were kinda gooey, and needed attention.

I know this picture is pretty yucky but that’s the reality of the situation.

Instead of rushing down to Emory to get it fixed we bought some Steri-Strips at the store and I reattached them. 3 thin strips was all it took but the opening was still a concern. My RN daughter had a look within the next few days and we decided it was okay. I’m not sure as far as scarring goes if that was the right call.

On March 21 (27 days post-op) I put a message in my patient portal addressing the waistband issue, an issue with an odor that I can’t even describe, the drainage tube, and going back to work. I got a response within a few hours which was nice because they say it can take up to 24 hours for a response.

Quick response with Emory’s patient portal.

 

So today I’m feeling like I’m getting back to normal. It’s hard for me to not feel like a patient when there is a freaky tube coming out of my side, a faint weird smell that drifts up from my stomach, and drying tape strips clinging on for dear life to my incision. I dread taking a shower because I have to deal with all those things but sometimes when I see improvement it’s good. Most days I just think ‘ugh’.

Here’s the steri-strips and the bandage I put on the ones susceptible to being aggravated by my clothes, after I put more steri-strips on it.

The saggy pouch is due to the void left by the hernia. The skin has been stretched. The dr said only time will tell how well my skin will bounce back, how much of that is swelling, or how much weight loss will improve it. Swelling can last 6-12 months. It may be a while to know the final results.

There are informative sites that will tell you that recovery from this procedure is 1-3 weeks.  I’ve come to the conclusion that they are referring to a simpler operation. Some hernia repairs and abdominoplasties are performed laparoscopically and some use an incision from hip to hip. I think these might have shorter recovery times. But it does make me wonder if the push to get back to normal and worry about time off from work and being ‘lazy’ prompts doctors to release patients to full activity or people just return to full activity and push themselves before they are ready.

I had the idea that I would go back to work 4 weeks out on March 22 and at that point going to the store was still exhausting, my drainage bulb was still putting out about 60 cc per 24 hours, and then there is the incision problem. I’m glad my doctor just plainly said, “Nope, you’re not released until you at least reach 6 weeks post-op.” I don’t have to make any excuses just following doctors orders. So I have a few more weeks to convalesce and honestly I think I need it.

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