On the heels of the horrific feelings I had emotionally and nerve wise I had made appointments with all my doctors. On Thursday I already had a follow-up with my wound care surgeon. Then Thursday night I had the last appointment with my GP. Already on the books I had an appointment with my Hip surgeon and I had made an appointment with my pain doctor for the following Wednesday. I knew I was reaching the end of the care with my wound surgeon so I felt like it was time to go back to pain management so I could get that wicked pain that drove my body into a total body crazy anxiety attack and that’s not something my wound care surgeon could do.
Thursday morning I was drained, I was beyond drained. Fatigued. Weary. Tired from the inside out. I had mild concerns when dad changed my bandages and said it appeared to change between dressing changes. Weird. But since I can’t see where it is, it’s hard for me to gauge anything. I still have a significant amount of drainage but even that seemed to vary from day to day. Still though, I felt confident this would be one of the last times I’d have to see my wound surgeon.
Got to the wound care office; I had managed to put on some mascara and blow dry my hair, but I looked a hot mess. Big time. Generally even when I feel sick I make an effort to put makeup on to look nice. Or niceish. Didn’t take long before I was called back. The nursing staff there is so very kind. Dad came with me and sat in a corner while I pulled my pants down as far as I could. The massive pain I was in from my left hip meant: not much. My chart was reviewed by one nurse while another got my vitals (my BP was through the roof – for me but it made sense since my pain was riiiight at a 9.) My bandages were removed, I was cleaned, measured and then pictures were taken and loaded into my file. When I turned my head to see the picture I started getting teary. I look like a monster. My nurse assured me it was just the staples and it would heal and look good in time and not to worry. Soon, my surgeon came in. He gloved up, sat on a stool since he’s like 6’6”. I had been lidocained up and he began removing staples that had become quite comfortable in my body after nearly 4 weeks. For the most part I didn’t feel anything. A couple were a pain in the butt. Literally.
He started talking about how bad the lower part of the incision looked the part where the drainage had come from. I was lying on my left side facing a wall half naked, partially draped in a blanket and those poor nurses were trying to help me maintain my dignity since the surgeon is a man and of course my dad has no interest in seeing my half naked ass.
And then he said it “I think this shows the implant has to come out”
I jerked around “WHAT? But…but…the antibiotics. 3 times a day of antibiotics. You said…I could keep it. I’m eating. Dad, tell him I’m eating. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to.”
My surgeon told me this was nothing I had done or not done. He said “Even with all the treatment that is going on your body refuses to close. See that?” He showed me two of those 5 or 6 inch qtips used to draw cultures. “I was able to put these in to the end and if they were longer, I’d have been able to get them in further. This proves the incision is so far deep this is not working.”
Cue tears, sobs. “But. But. But I don’t want you to take it out.” I said
“We talked about this. You knew there was a chance this wouldn’t work. In an older person, say an 80 year old woman, the body would not be able to handle being closed up over an infected implant. But in someone your age, we hoped it would work. It didn’t. All we lost was time. When we went in we didn’t burn any bridges so we could go in later and do this if necessary.”
“But it’s not even been a month! I thought we were supposed to give this some time?” I asked.
Tears. Sobbing. Kate the nurse poked her head in, rubbed my shoulder. Dad stood on my left side with a box of tissues as I cried and snotted all into them. Sexy.
“The issue is the infection is not clearing up and it can move into your bloodstream; go into your heart valve and…”
He didn’t finish because I knew the next words: kill me.
That part hadn’t even occurred to me.
I continued crying. And then I cried some more. I asked my doctor for a note to go back to work Monday and pain meds to hold me over so I could walk with my painful left hip until I see my pain doctor next week.
We discussed my appointment with my hip surgeon which had already been scheduled for the 19th. I sobbed. I tried not to sob and sounded even worse. The surgeon apologized for having to be the bearer of bad news. As I write this tears are streaming down both sides of my face. It’s not *just* this…it’s so many other things. So many things you might not think about or even imagine could be going through my head.
When the surgeon left and asked me to see him next week, and the nurses left to collect wound supplies I told dad I planned to self soothe and I insisted on a Breve Latte and a scone.
I was bandaged up like some kind of crazy person (she did a great job). I dressed, wiped my eyes and dad offered to go get the car while I made my follow-up appointment. I spent the majority of the day crying off and on. Fearful of my future. Scared to death that this infection could kill me any time. Having a distinct feeling your body is attacking itself is the worst feeling ever. I can’t even begin to aptly describe how absolutely petrified I am every time I close my eyes that it will be the last time.
Ok I can’t see any more for the tears so I’m going to post and thank you for all your support and well wishes. They help more than you know.