Well. Many revelations regarding this procedure have come to light, whether I want them to or not.
The good: *fingers crossed*
No infection or major complications like blood clots. No wound dehiscience (wound separation.) Pain is not too bad. All staples and sutures (save one in the belly button) have been removed. Yay!
Drains probably in a tad longer than they could've been, and exit site (@ the "hoo ha") is very irritated.
Small seroma in back where I had lipo of sacral fat pad. Not a surprise. Have had fluid taken out of this twice.
Sleep disturbance from not being able to sleep in my God-given position of belly down.
Swelling. Holy cow, not to be underestimated. Probably the biggest impediment to achieving world peace right now. I blithely went ahead with this procedure reading about 'swell hell'...Bosh, I say...I can deal with anything. Of course I can deal with anything, but I don't have to like it!! Not complaining, but merely stating a fact. I think that the amount of swelling varies from person to person. Right now, I look like I'm 4 months pregnant. If it weren't for the scar being irritated from this, I probably wouldn't care as much, but I'm kind of like the "princess and the pea" right now...every light touch, bunched up undies, clothing etc, is magnified because my tissue is on high alert.
Remember ladies (and gents!) this is an elective procedure and we chose to do this to ourselves!! HA.
Well, to all my RealSelf friends, I could not physically get on the computer long enough to write anything of substance yesterday. I chose a surgeon closer to my family in the event I needed to convalesce near them or if I had a complication, they would be able to drive to the hospital where the surgeon practices in the unlikely event that I had to be hospitalized. I also didn't want to have surgery in my own town with my colleagues performing the surgery. Not that I don't think they do great work, but I prefer to keep the information private instead of on my digital record pulled up any random tech in the office. Besides, as I'm sure most of us are, we're paying cash for this. My health insurance company has no place to put their fingers in this pie. :)
SO...a one day trip of 6 hours of driving (by spouse) was just unbelievably annoying. We were supposed to visit my friend in the hospital on the way back, and just could not make it there in a reasonable time frame. I will visit her later, as she just had decompressive surgery on her brain to remove one of the large tumors found. She is awake and doing reasonably well otherwise.
The surgeon's visit was unremarkable. Spouse came and in his usual (lovable-ha) fashion diverted the conversation away from all my post-operative questions to discussions of favorite restaurants in the Chicago area. Picture the scenario: I am naked (at this point, I couldn't care less), people are coming in and out of the treatment room (RN's, techs, the MD, etc). I am standing, bent over onto treatment table so that staples can be removed from my back, and seroma fluid can be aspirated from my pre-sacral area. Spouse is getting green in the gills, but insists that he wants to be present. I have no issues with any of this except that I don't want to be responsible for organizing the scooping of his 6'1" 270 lb body off the floor after he faints from the sight of one large needle.
Spouse makes wholehearted attempt to redirect the event as if we were eating at a cafe for lunch, and trying to talk about favorite restaurants with the surgeon. I am trying to ask the surgeon questions about compression garment issues/design, wound care, you know..the WHOLE reason for which you are actually AT this appointment, no? I can't get a word in edgewise without yelling at spouse, which makes me look like the bad guy. I did get in all my questions, but it just came out in one big run-on sentence with a bunch of question marks thrown in. Ha. Surgeon is awkwardly caught as trying to be professional and courteous to all while not sure how to manage two type-A's at once in the office room.
Prior to this, of course, I am riding down with spouse for 2.5 hr drive while spouse is on car speakerphone (which I hate with the passion of 1000 suns) trying to arrange for us to get the best deal on a new washing machine. (The repair guy felt that the drum needed to be replaced, and oddly, it is cheaper to buy a new machine..go figure. Luckily, this is under home warrantee, as we just bought the house). So, roughly 30+ calls were made with bad static, poor connection, and the constant asking of the person on the other line:"what?" No one can hear anything when speakerphone is engaged. It sucks. I can't listen to music, even on headphones, because once every 5 minutes or so spouse wants me to write something down. We were pretty hyped up by the time we got to the appointment. From there, went to appliance store in Chicago burbs where spouse used to do business when he was flipping real-estate at fast pace. It was pretty cool, but I spent way too much time getting in and out of chairs, etc.
Went over to my parent's house, where the house looked like a demilitarized zone. My parents (love them) should have an orthopedic surgeon on retainer. In the past 1.5 years, my father has had ankle surgery to fix broken and dislocated bones from cycling accident, mother has had broken humerus, broken tibia from fall down stairs, and shoulder replacement surgery (stemming from both ski and bicycle accident trauma over the past 40 years..it catches up to you!). My father had his other ankle replaced 8 months ago (this is a rare surgery BTW) and just had sinus surgery a week prior to my surgery. SO...between the two of them, since dad is feeling discombobulated still from sinus surgery, no lawn mowing, no bush trimming outside, and piles of crap everywhere in the house. My parents represent THAT house on your block..you know the one, the one where the neighbors put their house of for sale and wistfully look over at the wildflower and weed garden that has been allowed to fester over the entire lawn. They refuse to throw anything out and are both cycling enthusiasts, so after the 15+ bicycles and and 30 years of bicycle accoutrement take up the garage, everything else has found a resting place permanently on the driveway, with its complement of weeds, etc. I bet the area can be seen from space as a landmark, in fact, I'm sure pilots use this anomaly of a property to mark their approach to O'Hare airport to enter the approach corridor at 10,000 feet.
I cringe every time I go to visit. Attempts at hiring a lawn service have been thwarted. Attempts at throwing out rotted 50 year old canoes have been thwarted. I swear there's a moonshine still out in the back somewhere...I would cringe at this but it probably tastes good...ha. My parents are both well educated; dad has an engineering PhD from MIT, and mom has a master's in linguistics and speaks like 5 languages. BUT...they cannot mow the lawn.
SO, we get to the house, and I decide that I can try to clip hedges with the manual hedge trimmer without engaging my abs. WRONG. I kept my arms at my sides and clipped away all around the house, and my brother finally got out the lawn mower and mowed the lawn. It looked a hell of a lot better, but I was already feeling it. We had middle eastern food for dinner and then spouse and I felt we needed to get back home..2.5 hrs more driving.
Fortunately, no speakerphone. Spouse has an SUV, and for whatever reason, the front seat will not maneuver to make me comfortable. We had to pull over for back spasm, and I sat in the back for the rest of the trip, which actually was much better.
BUT...yesterday, was totally bushed. That was way too much to do in one day, and when I got up I felt like had been beaten by a baseball bat. I grabbed the bag of coffee that my dad gave me as a gift (they are also coffee junkies, as were my grandparents..it is genetic, and I cannot escape it) and made a pot of coffee. As the morning went by, I felt worse...more sore, exhausted, more lower abdominal swelling, splitting headache, flu-like. No fever. Laid down in bed for a few hours with an ice pack, and took a rare day-time pain pill. No real improvement.
Spouse had multiple contractors over to look at the house, and control freak as I am, I had to come out and talk about flooring issues, paint issues and logistics issues. I felt like absolute s**t, which I felt was due to the exertions of the day before. Around 5 PM or so, I still felt exhausted, had another cup of coffee which did nothing for my headache (usually helps)...and then it dawned on me.
I frantically tore through the garbage and found the coffee bag. Suspicions confirmed: DECAF. My father gave me a bag of DECAF COFFEE. I was in withdrawal. If I didn't feel so crappy, I would've been laughing my little seroma off. I called my dad, and informed him that he gave me a bag of DECAF. He was shocked and dismayed, as he is as much of a coffee junkie as I am. I brewed up a standard pot, and within 20 minutes, all my symptoms except for lower abdominal swelling were gone. Lesson learned.
To, that brings me to swelling. Swelling. My drains are gone, BTW. Thrilled, but sore and my body is missing them in a way. They weren't doing much towards the end anyway, def, < 30 cc per day. Someone had commented to me on here about my body relearning how to reduce swelling, and they are absolutely right. It didn't really occur to me at first, but all the normal lymph channels for lower body and lower abdomen draining have been either chopped up into hamburger, or poked at with a liposuction cannula. I had a realization this morning that it will be several weeks of this swelling for me until my body's lymph system rebuilds itself. :-/
Of course, being the absolute geek that I am, I looked up the normal anatomic lymph drainage passageways on the abdomen, and read a few articles on different techniques of abdominoplasty and liposuction which have varying degrees of preserving or destroying the lymphatics. To be honest its somewhat of a moot point, I tell myself, because it is clear that I have swelling, so duh...the lymphatics are disrupted. The thing is, my scar is from an extended tummy tuck..it extends all the way around the abdomen, over the hips and to the back. There is about 6-8" (depending on swelling...ha) space between the tips of the scars on my back, and in that space, I had liposuction. I think I have two little screaming 1/2" channels on my back where the superficial lymphatics are actually working....they're like little elves the day before christmas slaving away while the other slacker elves go off drinking, and they are ready to go on strike.
But..this also explains while I feel so much more swollen when I wake up in the morning. I am laying on my back, again, not by choice, but because I can't physically lay on my side or stomach, and those poor lymph channels are being compressed. SO in the morning, I feel like I'm back to the stay-puft marshmallow woman...and as I move around (just walking around the house), things improve slightly.
I should invest in compression garment companies and design ones with boyshort legs for women under 5'3". I am searching for the perfect garment, and have not found it. The Colombians seem to have a fix on the market. Will bone up on my espanol ('levantacola' means 'butt lifting': remember that if you are ever taken hostage as a tourist in Colombia, it may save your life!) and check out their websites.
OK. need to get off my butt. Just still reeling from trip few days ago, much on the mind. Warily eyeballing my return to work date in 4 days...that will be interesting.
Hope all are doing well!