Random Musings of a Banded Bad-Ass (not really)....

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Rest of The Tale, In Bullets...

 (continued from previous post)
  • After visiting with my friends, I retired fairly early, as they had to wake up at 4AM, to go to Children's Hospital.
  • At about midnight, I woke up, needing to pee, but had excruciating pain throughout my abdominal area and groin....so much so, that I had to prop myself up and crawl out of bed.
  • I was awake the rest of the night, having to pee about five times in the next three hours.  It was so hard to get up, and hardly anything was, um, coming out.
  • I laid there in pain, as I did not want to cause any additional stress for my friends, whose daughter was having surgery early that morning.  My husband had since arrived at the house and was sleeping downstairs on their couch, so my plan was to alert him as soon as they left for the hospital.
  • They left later than planned, at 5AM, and I got up and told my husband about my pain.  He asked if we should go to the ER, but I declined.  Took some OTC pain meds and managed to fall asleep.
  • Awoke at 6AM, and thought a shower would do me good.  I collapsed in the shower, and my husband had to help me off the shower floor to the bed.
  • Called surgeon's office, and he said I must be dehydrated, but was not overly concerned.  He asked me to come in that afternoon, during clinic hours. It turns out I was dehydrated, and fluids helped a bit.
  • I saw Dr. B. that afternoon, and he prescribed pain meds and antibiotics--not sure how/why he thought I  could manage without these initially....
  • A week later, I just finished the antibiotics, and am weening off of the Vicoden.  Still very weak and tired, but this is likely related to the meds.
  • God news:  The wound looks great, and he may have saved me $3K with this whole ordeal.
  • Now, I just need to get the port relocated.  I have no restriction, but have had little appetite, so all is well for now,

Monday, April 9, 2012

"Third World Medicine" [Part Deux of My Daunting Tale]

OK, to continue with my long ordeal, I'm on the exam table in my surgeon's office, and he has just offered to remove my port: no hospital or surgery center, no general anesthesia, just a couple of numbing shots in the belly. I am panicked, but I agree. He quickly preps my wound site, gives me two shots (stinging, but not awful) and I shut my eyes so as not to see all the blood (there was blood). He explains to me that this is kind of like delivering a baby....taking a relatively large item thru a pretty small hole. He tells me that he will not cut me, and if he can not pry it out, he won't proceed. Then he cut the stitches and began the pulling and tugging. It felt so very weird, but it was pressure, not pain. It took about 10 minutes to get it out, and he then told me he would cut the tubing and all of my saline would spurt out. That it did, and he held the port with about 10" of tubing up for me to see. He then tucked the rest of the tubing back in, repeated his contention that what he did was about as third-world medicine as it gets (no, he's not a quack, and I'm not sure I agree anyway). He packs the wound, bandages me up, and shows me how to care for it over the next several weeks. I sit up, I feel awesome, and am so relieved to be done with this step. I leave the office, and there is no mention of pain meds or antibiotics. It did not cross my mind, as I felt great, and apparently it did not cross his either. Oops.

I leave the office, I stop by Target on my way to our friends' house, where I will be spending the week caring for their two-year old, beginning at 4:00AM (this turned out to be a really bad idea). As I was walking thru the store, I had some weird shooting pains in my groin, but was not too concerned. I made my way home, visited with friends, ate dinner, then retired for the night, still feeling pretty good.

Unfortunately, I am still weak and tired, and will need to finish this post tomorrow. Let's just say my symptom-free, pain-free experience quickly went awry. Obviously I'm OK, but one week later, I'm still on antibiotics and pain meds, I have not pooped in eight days, I have my first-ever hemorrhoid, and I have had bouts with fever and dehydration (literally my first [adult] experience with either of these issues).

Until tomorrow,

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bye-Bye Port {kind of an interesting story...well, maybe not}, Part One

So, as you may or may not know, I have had issues with my port site pretty much from the get-go. Following my surgery in February 2010, the port site would closed, but it was always very tender. My surgeon had difficulty locating the port for fills, and after the third fill, the wound slowly began to open up. After several failed rounds of antibiotics and packing the would, there was little improvement. We talked about a possible revision surgery, but it was not in the budget, and even though he could not do any fills, I was at a good level of restriction.

Flash-forward to last August...I went in for a visit and Dr. B. said he though the would looked better (not sure I agreed, but whatever). He told me he would see me in six months, unless I had any complications. Well, complications I had. In early December, another set of small holes opened up just below the wound site, and they gradually got larger, until they became one hole. And behind that hole--white plastic, MY PORT! Oh, crap!

Me, being in denial and thinking I could make the wound close up somehow, did not call Dr. B. right away. Plus, it was the holiday season and I was oh-so-busy. Well, of course, that wound did not close, so I finally made an appointment to see him in early February, for my 2-year Bandiversary.

He was fu-reaked out. Said he had to operate SOON, and wanted to perform two surgeries: First, he would remove my port and scope the tubing and band, to check if the infection had spread and caused an erosion (although he did not suspect so, based on my health and the functionality of the band). Then, after that wound healed in a couple of months or so, he would perform a second surgery, to add the port in another location. He said his surgery coordinator would get me pricing quotes from the hospital and two surgery centers, and that she'd call me. In the meantime, I would speak to the husby.

I got the quote a week later, and it was surprisingly low. $5K for both surgeries if I paid cash, and a considerably higher price if I went through insurance, as they would only cover the scope. Apparently Dr. B had called in some favors, and had the port donated, was giving his service free of charge, and worked out a deal with the ASC to have it listed as cosmetic, for a lower price on their end. I was actually quite pleased.

Then, we had a major family tragedy. My nephew was killed in action in Afghanistan, and it sent the family reeling. There were many, many services, ceremonies, etc. and, of course the grieving and supporting his mom and wife. Another month passed by....Eventually, Dr. B's office reached out to me, and I made an appointment for last Monday, late afternoon. I would be down in the area, as I had agreed to babysit our best [couple] friends' toddler all week, so they could stay at Children's Hospital with their other daughter, who was having surgery of her own.

Well, I could tell Dr. B. was not pleased with me. He was nice, but firm, and kind of scolded me for the delay in follow-up. He said he needed to "remove this port yesterday." He asked if he could schedule surgery for the next day or two, but I had to decline, based on my childcare commitment. I could see the blood rising in his neck, and he went on to tell me that he was leaving the country the following Wednesday, and could not wait until he returned.

He then asks about next Monday or Tuesday (although he says it's not ideal, as he does not like to perform surgery right before leaving he country). I tell him by husband will be traveling, but I can see if I can find someone else to bring me (also not ideal). THEN, as his face begins to get really flushed, he blurts out, "Or, I could just remove it right here, right now." [GASP!]

And after a couple of questions and answers, he began prepping me for a "third world medical procedure" (his words, not mine).

TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW (this is way too long, I'm sorry).