Category Archives: My Gastric Bypass Surgery Complications

The “bad” and “ugly” of my gastric bypass surgery. The things that went wrong.

The Wound Vac Is Gone!!

Oh, I am sooooooo happy!

I just came back from my visit to Susie, my wound specialist. Have I mentioned before how awesome Sue is? She’s like the Michael Jordan of wound care. No, he’s retired. She’s the Tiger Woods, the Jimmie Johnson, the Tyler Hansbrough… Whatever your sport, whoever is the elite “top of their game” person, that’s who Susie is. She’s just gooood.

I wish I could describe in detail what all Sue did to make the huge, gaping hole in my stomach become just a tiny indentation. It’s as if the Grand Canyon was all filled in, and is now just a creek on the surface. That’s what I have – a very shallow area that could have been just a deep scrape if you didn’t know any better. Continue reading

I’m So Depressed

I just can’t take much more of this.

Yesterday, when I went to get my wound vac dressing changed, at first Sue (my wonderful wound expert) said I should be able to get rid of it on that visit. I told her I had some concerns, that I had mentioned to the nurse on Saturday, but she had said they were normal. I wanted Sue to tell me that because I trust her more.

Some background: My incision went from my belly button to my sternum. The original infection was toward the bottom, about an inch up from my belly button. When it happened, they didn’t re-open my entire wound, just the bottom half.

Well, now the skin over the top half was red, and there was a distinctive knot underneath it. It has been there for quite a long time – originally, there was a bulge there even before the infection happened. There was also a distinctive odor.

At first, Sue agreed that it was probably normal, but the knot concerned her. She said it might be a hernia. Fortunately, I’d taken my Xanax. After all, a hernia started this whole drama. As time went on, though, I began to wish I’d taken 2. Continue reading

Baby Steps Back To Normalcy

I went to church last night. It was the first time I’d been there in almost a month. In fact, I’ve not been anywhere except home and various hospitals and doctor’s offices. So for some reason, the thought of being in a crowd nearly gave me panic attacks.

I could have taken some of the meds they gave me for that, but I refused. I’m trying to wean off the meds all together.

Several people at my church have had gastric bypass surgery, and as I explained exactly what had happened I could see the fear in a few eyes. So I pointed out the fact that my research shows this particular gastric bypass surgery complication happens to only 3-5% of all patients. So statistically, I’ve got us all covered. It shouidn’t happen to anyone else I know.

Right now, my biggest problem is fighting off depression. Continue reading

Gastric Bypass Surgery Complication Pt. 7: The Road To Recovery

It’s now been just over 3 weeks since the intense abdominal pain sent me to the ER in the middle of the night and my gastric bypass surgery complication saga began.

Since then, a case of badly twisted bowels turned into a nasty infection in my incision site. At first I had daily visits from a home health care agency to change what was a “wet to dry” dressing. That basically consisted of gauze stuffed into my open wound with bandages taped over my stomach to hold it all in.

The trauma of seeing my stomach laid open gave me panic attacks every time my dressing was changed. One week ago I was put on a wound vac, which keeps my wound taped up much more securely, drains the fluids that collect in it, and only needs to be changed three times a week. It hurts worse to change this, but it is making my wound heal much faster. Plus I feel much more secure between changes.

All in all, things are getting better. Continue reading

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.) Continue reading

Gastric Bypass Surgery Complication Pt 5: Don’t Take Crap From Anybody

I was repeatedly amazed at the incompetence and general unprofessionalism of some of the people I dealt with during my gastric bypass surgery complication.

Here are just a couple of examples, I could give more. I could talk about the nurse that wanted to know who I was going to vote for, didn’t like my answer and tried to debate me. I’ve already talked about how bad the ER was, and the crabby blonde chick that said my room was ready when I came back infected when in fact it would not be ready for another hour and a half.

But these are the most frustrating examples of bad care that I received. Writing about them gives me a chance to vent. The lesson for you, dear reader, is to never blindly trust your medical personnel. Don’t take crap from them. You have rights and they are not always looking out for them.

I also must say, in the beginning, that other than these examples I did receive good care. My surgeon, along with his senior partner, were awesome. So was most of the rest of their staff, with the single exception of this PA: Continue reading

If I Could Do It All Over, Would I STILL Have Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Me after gastric bypassI’m taking a slight break from chronicling my weeks of misery. There’s still a bit more to tell, though I’ve already told you the worst of it. Mostly, I want to vent about some of the ridiculous things that happened – the medical personnel who were incompetant or rude or both. I really want to drive home the fact that you have rights when you’re in the hospital and you shouldn’t take crap from anyone. And that you have to be vigilant, because some of the hospital staff could care less about you.

Plus, it’ll be therapeutic.

But first, I want to tackle the topic I’d planned to put off till more time had passed. I wanted to give myself enough distance from the trauma to make sure I could be objective.

I’m jumping on into it, though, because I’m already being asked the question. Both by some of the medical people I’ve interacted with over the last couple of days, and by a few people online.

The question is, in light of this horrible experience, would I STILL have gastric bypass surgery if I had a chance to do it all over again? Continue reading

My Gastric Bypass Surgery Complication Saga: Part 4

Let’s see. We last left my Gastric Bypass Surgery Complication Saga as I drifted off into a drugged stupor following the trauma of watching my infected incision being re-opened and cleaned. Despite feeling like I may develop post traumatic stress disorder, it did feel better to have all the pus and gook out of it. Of course, the good dose of morphine didn’t hurt matters, either.

Next up was a CT scan, both to look for possible “fistulas” (holes in my bowel that would have meant the brown liquid really was fecal matter) and to possibly determine why I’d been unable to eat.

CT Scans Are Different For Gastric Bypass Surgery Patients

They brought a whole half-gallon of stuff that looked like lemonade and said, “drink this as quickly as possible.” I reminded them that I have a stomach the size of an egg and that “as quickly as possible” for me to drink a half gallon would be somewhere around 6 hours or so. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

My Gastric Bypass Surgery Complication: The Misery Continues

Well, despite being quite the workout for my surgeon, my internal hernia repair went well and I was back in my room within a few hours. I was in a good bit of pain, but had the “magic button” dispensing morphine when I wanted it. So far it seemed my gastric bypass surgery complication was under control.

The hospital, however, despite being a “center of excellence” for gastric bypass surgeries and doing boatloads of them every year, had no idea how to handle a patient who was a prior bypass patient in for something else. It was the third meal they brought me before my ‘clear liquids’ were all sugar free. And when I was bumped up to “gastric bypass stage 2″ (which should have been mushy stuff heavy on the protein) I got things like pancakes and grits.

Overall, it was pretty uneventful and by Saturday morning (October 18th) they let me go home. Unfortunately, my troubles were not yet over. Continue reading