Imagine a little green tree frog fell into a well. Obviously it could survive in the cold, wet, blackness of the well but still the little guy wanted to be in the sunlight and breezes again in its favorite tree. Hop, hop, hop it went, bouncing from one rocky ledge to another and slowly making its way up when *splat* it hit a slimy spot and slid a little bit down the wall. On and on the little guy hopped but every time it seemed to be really making progress there was another colossal *splat* and it slid backwards once more. Slowly progress was made but those *splats* and the subsequent loss of ground were frustrating.
Right now, I am that frog.
Monday I was so delighted to be getting one step closer to being healed and getting on my feet again, and Tuesday’s procedure to remove the PICC went without a hitch. Initially I had been told that I would need to be off the anticoagulation treatments for 5 days but after a few choice words (colorful, in a drunken sailor sort of way) and some discussion, the doctors wisely agreed with me that I shouldn’t skip a single dose because with my disease the risk of clotting is far higher than the risk of bleeding out. When the catheter was pulled and a 3 mm hole directly into a major vein filled with pumping blood was left in my chest, I bled a single crocodile teardrop’s worth. Free of the PICC, clot free, and not bleeding to death, I went to bed at peace Tuesday night.
Then Wednesday happened.
When I woke up Wednesday, my stump was very swollen and very painful. While I was stretching, I noticed the skin under the clear dressing around the black sponge under the wound vac was red and hot. Upon closer examination I noticed an area of dark reddish purple extending out from under the sponge with a clear and defined edge…
My skin was breaking down again.
I owned my dismay, called my nurse, took the vac off, took pictures for the nurse, and packed the wound with a wet dressing. Within an hour I was being called by a very upset nurse from the surgeon’s office with instructions to keep the wound vac off until today (Friday) when I would need to be seen by the surgeon. The wound care specialist that was the nurse in charge of me when my stump was rotting in June and July came over to bandage my new wound. Her face said everything I dreaded even though she assured me it wasn’t as bad as all that.
Two anxiety filled days later the I got news I didn’t want to hear but sadly had anticipated.
My stump is in bad shape and another surgery may be in my future, followed by another 8+ weeks of homebound surgical recovery.
Right now the surgery is not set in stone, even though it is already scheduled for 11 days from now. Since I am such a special patient, the surgeon is hesitant to go in again unless absolutely necessary. After discussion with the infectious disease doctor, I had X-rays to look for signs of infection in the bones (not that infection appeared in the X-rays before) and I am back on 2 antibiotics in the hopes that if this is another infection I can kick it without having to have surgery. In the meantime, I’m still stuck in the wound vac.
PSA: Wound vacs suck.
Literally and figuratively.
And not in any pleasant way, either.
Tuesday I went to bed feeling like I was nearing the bright light at the top of the pit I’ve been in, thinking that in less than 2 weeks I’d be cleared for prosthetics. Wednesday I awoke to being farther back into the darkness with the possibility of more months added to my sentence.
Two steps forward and one step back is still progress, right?