Yesterday was the first day since my surgery that I didn’t see the nurse to repack my wound and change the dressing. She had said previously that the wound would heal better the more time we left the packing undisturbed, hoped to move on to alternate days, and that if I felt everything was in place and not too soaked, then I could give Sunday clinic a miss.
Everything looked fine when I got up to check early on Sunday morning and it didn’t take much persuading for me to climb back into bed for a much-needed lie in. By lunch time however, things started to soak through the dressing a bit; it’s only blood but the thing is, as well as being a little bit messy, my sensitive nose can smell it and that makes me feel dirty so… The nurse had given me spare dressings, aquacel, saline irrigation, gloves and pinny – the whole kit! – just in case this were to happen and I felt brave enough to give it a go myself, which is what I did.
I followed the instructions she had given me to make sure myself and the area were sterile and set about removing the dressing. I had only caught brief glimpses of the wound up until this point and so was a bit nervous about what I’d find underneath. I figured it was something I needed to face though, it’s my body after all. I have to admit that it was a bit bigger than I had expected but nothing I couldn’t cope with. I wasn’t brave enough to remove and replace the packing though so just cleaned the edges and stuck a clean dressing over the top. I was so relieved to get the thing on as I’d been worried the packing would fall out, that I’d have no choice but to poke some more in!
It seems that keeping the packing in was the right thing to do anyway, because when I went to the clinic this morning the nurse said that it had done really well with that extra day of being untouched; whereas the tape was just filling the wound beforehand, it was now coming above the surface, which feels like great progress! So we made the decision that we would leave replacing it until my post-op appointment on Wednesday morning. Again, I have the kit to sort things out myself if needs be, but hopefully I won’t have to.
The bleeding is normal by the way, just the body trying to heal itself as the nurse told me. I managed to take a quick picture for anyone interested in seeing what the surgery involves. I’ve no flash on my camera phone so it is quite dark and not gory, but if you really are squeamish this is your warning not to look!
The wound is located in my left groin/top inner thigh; I’m not sure of the actual measurements. The surgeon removed all the infection and the scar tissue, where tracts or sinuses had formed and my body had tried to heal repeatedly. The wound couldn’t be stitched because of the risk of trapping infection inside; if the body heals from the surface layer down than a cavity remains and is perfect for reforming abscess. This way, the body heals from the bottom upwards, meaning nothing gets trapped inside and the area is replaced with healthy tissue. I can’t imagine what the scar will be like, but I doubt I’ll be wearing bikinis for a while!