Monday, September 6, 2010

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

So as you all know, this was my 6th surgical procedure. To say that I have some practice in surgical incisions is an understatement. Generally, my instructions are to keep it clean and dry and change the dressings twice a day. I use dressing-changing time to monitor for any signs of infection. Last Monday night I changed my dressing and went to bed. All was well in the ankle world. Since I changed the dressing immediately before bed on Monday, I did not change it first thing Tuesday morning. I noticed that I had some increased pain, but my pain had been increasing for a few days and I attributed that to overdoing it. By lunchtime on Tuesday, I was VERY uncomfortable. I had lunch with a friend, and told her I thought the bandages had bunched up under my boot, and I needed to straighten them out. I un-booted myself and as I unwrapped the gauze it became clear that the friction I had been feeling was not from the bandages, but from a large lump of rock-hard swelling. And to top it off, my incision had turned a beautiful shade of Barbie hot-pink. I proceeded to stare at it dumbfounded. Not because I didn't know what this meant, but because I DID know what this meant. And I could not believe that after 5 previous successful surgeries, my background in biology, and the fact that the incision was almost 3 weeks old, that I had become infected. I was almost in denial about it. I was hesitant to call the doctor because I truly thought there HAD to be another explanation, and that in an hour or two, things would return to the way they had looked just a few hours prior when I had changed my bandages. My disbelief eventually wore off, and I called the doctor's office, who called me in a prescription for antibiotics, sight unseen. I had a regular post-op appointment scheduled for Thursday, so the plan was to get two days of antibiotics in and reassess then. I spent all day Wednesday and Thursday morning sweating and feverish at work. My incision did not look better and I felt worse. My appointment Thursday was scheduled with the nurse, and I called that morning to see if Dr. McGorgeous could sneak me in to take a look. Since Thursdays are OR days for him, he was booked solid. At my appointment the nurse was very nonchalant. She was able to squeeze my incision hard enough to get a sample to culture. I will not go into detail on the amount of pain that entailed. Just imagine someone grabbing your fresh incision and squeezing. Hard. I was concerned that after 48 hours of antibiotics I was actually feeling worse. She said that was normal and I should just go home and wait for the culture results. I wasn't pleased with this, but I had decided that if she didn't take this seriously, I could always just go to the ER. As we were wrapping things up, there was a knock on the door, and Dr. McGorgeous walked in. I have no idea how he knew I was there, or what made him decide to come over from the surgical center, but there he was. He looked at my ankle, listened to what I had been feeling and the first words out of his mouth were "I'm sticking you in the hospital". He continued with "Don't be offended, but based on your history, I'd rather be safe than sorry". So began my first hospital admittance since birth.
To be continued....

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