Gastric Bypass Surgery Complication Pt. 6: Wound Management

Wanna see my wound?

I went a few days ago and got hooked up to something called a wound vac. Basically, they stuck a sponge that looks a lot like the carbon filter from my son’s fish tank into my wound, attached a drainage tube and hooked the whole thing up to this little machine that gurgles all the time, sucking the draining fluid out of my stomach.

The positives of this machine are that, A, they taped up my wound so it’s no longer just open. That has helped a lot with my anxiety (of course, the Xanax hasn’t exactly hurt matters, either). And B, it is supposed to make said wound heal much faster.

When I went to get this thing installed, after having been told by both the manufacturer AND my Doc’s office where and when my appointment was, I arrived to discover that the hospital had absolutely no record I was coming. No appointment. Couldn’t do anything because there were no doctor’s orders.

I can no longer be surprised by any of this.  (WARNING: If you click the “read more” button, you will see an actual photo of my open wound. If you have a very weak stomach, you may want not to do that. You’ve been warned.)

We finally got hold of the doc on call, who gave verbal orders over the phone (it was Saturday morning so no one was in the office) and I was send down to the proper place.

The ladies I met there were very cool, and put me at ease. Of course, I’d taken my Xanax just before arriving, so that helped, too. But I wasn’t anywhere near panic mode.

As they took the dressing off my wound, their reaction really surprised me:

“Wow! That’s beautiful!”

“That’s gorgeous! That’s the best looking wound I’ve seen all week! Look how read and meaty that is! You have a beautiful wound!”

They even took a picture:


Yep, that’s it: The thing that’s been giving me full-on, shaking, crying hysterical panic attacks. It doesn’t look so bad here. And you certainly can’t see my intestines, which is what I was thinking were hanging out, despite being told more than once now that it had healed way past the point of my intestines being exposed. You can see how large the original incision was — each of the little dots beside the incision line represent one staple that was holding it together after surgery.

(On a side note, this is as good a time as any to point out what the sagging skin from gastric bypass surgery looks like. See how my belly still looks so fat? That’s what’s underneath when I’m wearing size 8 clothes that make me look tiny, and have people telling me I need to stop losing weight. You can’t even see my belly button because of the flab hanging over it. Can you imagine how that messes with your mind? Clothes on, you look like a hottie. Clothes off, you look just as flabby and fat as ever.)

Well, I don’t have a pic of me wearing the wound vac, but I did find another pic of someone else that looked just like mine, so here’s that as well:

Again, the cool thing is that the wound is all taped up and feels much more secure.

The not-so-cool things are: A, I have to carry this thing around all the time. B, having it changed hurts MUCH worse than the regular dressing changes did, and C, it makes a constant, irritating gurgling noise.

BUT, when I went back yesterday to have it changed, my very cool wound specialists (who thought my wound was so pretty) could see bigtime improvement. My husband said he could, too. I still can’t look at it.

Estimates are I’ll be hooked up to the wound vac for 2-3 weeks. But at this point, that’s a serious improvement over where I was say a week ago.

My gastric bypass surgery complication gets a little better every day.

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