Misery Part 3: Complications On My Gastric Bypass Surgery Complication

If that title doesn’t make sense yet, it will. Because yep, you guessed it – the surgery to fix the complication that arose from my gastric bypass surgery (the internal hernia and twisted bowels) developed a complication of it’s own.

So I have a complication on my gastric bypass surgery complication.

Right now we’re up to Friday, October 24 in my saga. Initial pain began on Monday, October 13. Surgery to correct the problem happened on Wednesday, October 15th. I came home from the hospital on Saturday, October 18th. Wednesday the 22nd I visited the DR and had 26 of 46 staples removed, and on Thursday the 23rd I had the Upper GI trying to figure out why I still couldn’t eat anything thicker than chicken broth.

I have an incision from my belly button to my sternum. In the hospital, there was a bulge at the top of it, the nurse (and later my surgeon as well) said it was likely “old blood” and recommended a damp towel and heating pad be kept on it.

So Friday morning that’s what I was doing. I was laying in bed with the heating pad on. My kids had stayed home from school, mostly due to exhaustion on everyone’s part and the burden of trying to find people to take them back and forth. I’d called into my surgeon’s office to see what the next step in figuring out why I couldn’t eat would be, but hadn’t heard back yet.

My incision felt numb, and like there was a knot underneath it. It was red, but I thought it might be from the heating pad, which I turned down.

Early afternoon, I got a call from my Dad, checking on me. As I hung up the phone I felt a bit of an itch coming from my incision. I gingerly touched it, and it felt wet.

What happened next was the most disgusting, traumatic thing I may have ever experienced.

This is your warning: if you have a weak stomach, do not read any farther. I will spare no detail – I don’t know what detail may help somebody at some point if you (god forbid) ever go through this horror. You have been warned.

I pulled back the heating pad just in time to see a thick, dark brown liquid begin ooozing from my wound. It looked like I was having a runny bowel movement through my stomach. The stench was unbelievable.

I panicked. I began to cry and shout. My kids came running but were stopped at the bedroom door by the smell. I immediately picked up the phone and called my surgeon’s office.

“There is poo poo coming from my wound!” I cried hysterically to the first person who answered the phone. It was more than oozing now, it was gushing. I screamed for a towel, and my 13 year old ran to get me one. He brought it to me with his shirt covering his nose. My 7 year old ran into the other bathroom to gag – he has a very weak stomach.

“Can someone get you to the office?” the nurse asked.

I called my MIL, who lives close by. She came quickly. I called my husband, who left work to meet me at the Dr. The kids stayed home (my oldest is old enough to babysit) but said later that they had to open all the windows and could not come back in the house for 2 hours because it smelled so bad.

By the time I reached the dr’s office, my big plush towel was soaked. My MIL was pretty sure it was poop, too. She’d never seen anything like it. I was on the verge of hysterics.

Thankfully, the waiting room was completely empty because the stench engulfed me. I could just imagine them coming out as soon as I’d come through with Lysol.

They put me in a room and tried to clean up the mess. The towel was unsalvagable, we threw it away. The nurse wiped me down best she could despite the fact that the brown liquid was still running out of my stomach. I heard them on the phone outside talking about me.

My husband arrived pretty quickly, and they told him to take me straight to the hospital where I would be admitted. We made double sure I didn’t have to go through the ER and got moving. DH is very good at calming my nerves, but I was still on the very edge of total panic.

So at the hospital (have I mentioned how my local hospital SUCKS???) I come in the front door with gauze over my stomach and a diarrhea-like liquid ooozing out of it. I’m in a panic. They get me a wheelchair, but I still have to go through admitting. This takes 30 minutes minimum, where they leave me just sitting in the waiting room.

Finally, they tell me they have a room ready for me. The admissions chick even calls to double check this fact before they get the transportation person to wheel us up there. But when we arrive, a rather bitchy blonde nurse in hot pink informs us that no, “I said the room would be ready for you. Not that it is now. The person in it will be gone within the hour and then it’ll take us about 20 minutes to get it cleaned and ready for you.”

An hour and 20 minutes? Lady, are you breathing in my presence? There is excrement oozing from my stomach!

So we are sent BACK down to the admissions waiting room. The orderly is so sweet and apologetic. But we are not surprised.

Back in admissions, (I can thoroughly understand why they didn’t want me sitting there stinking up the place) they say they’re going to take me to the ER to wait. Before I can even get my own panic out, my very mild-mannered husband has one of the only conniptions I’ve ever witnessed: “Absolutely not! We WILL NOT go to the ER under any circumstances!”

“But they can make you more comf-”

“NO.”

Within a few more minutes, a room has miraculously been discovered.

My own surgeon was out of town on vacation, so the other senior partner in the practice comes to take care of me. He’s a great guy. In fact, after all of this I’m really grateful to the entire practice. Dr. D insists I get a good dose of morphine before he does what must happen next, along with some nausea meds.

I was dehydrated. It took much poking and an IV specialist to get my IV in. But finally, I was drugged. This is where it gets really bad.

I watched as Dr. D removed the remaining staples from my long incision. My wound popped open and lots more brown liquid, pus and blood gushed out. I could see my insides. It hurt like I don’t know what despite the morphine. I watched as he cleaned the wound out. The stench was knock-you-out bad, although both Dr. D and the IV specialist insisted they’d seen worse.

My husband had had to leave the room. He didn’t want to watch. I wish I hadn’t had to.

By the time they were done I felt like I’d been in an episode of M*A*S*H*. They left my wound open, packed with gauze, and set up a CT scan to make sure my intestines were OK.

For a little while, at least, I dozed off into a drugged stupor.

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