Belly Sucker 9000

I got word today that my insurance approved the new wound therapy that my doctor (and the consulting wound care nurse) think will be beneficial. It’s called a Wound Vac (or negative pressure wound therapy) and helps a variety of different wounds heal more quickly. It’s supposed to work especially well on abdominal incisions that reopen (like mine) so I’m very hopeful that this will get me the rest of the way healed up quickly.

We’re calling it the Belly Sucker 9000, because at this point we’ve gone just a little around the bend taking care of something that looks like a raw meat hole straight into darkness where it should just be my belly. Doctor Roommate has taken to singing songs about how professional and awesome her wound packing is. Lyrics include things like:

I’m a professional belly stuffer.

Nobody stuffs bellehs better than me.

Yesterday she declared that I need to get a stop watch and time her while she packs my wound. You know, so there’s a baseline for Sabie Stuffing that can be competed against and improved upon.

I drew a hard line. No wound packing time trials with actual Sabie Belly. While it doesn’t hurt, it feels weird as hell and timing triage is JUST WRONG unless you’re part of actual war games.

Technically, this isn’t triage anymore, but the alleteration appealed to me.

Tomorrow is our last day of wound packing at home. The Belly Sucker 9000 arrives tomorrow and then I go to the Healing Center at Mercy Hospital for a wound care nurse there to apply the first wound vac bandage on Thursday. After that, they’re changed three times a week by a professional trained in wound vac therapy, so neither Doctor Roommate or I have to stare into the wound abyss anymore looking for necrotic tissue or infection.

Yay! So. Much. Yay!

Belly update – the waiting

Today I went to the doctor for another follow-up on The Surgical Incision That Didn’t Close/Reopened. This time a Wound Care Nurse (that’s a real specialty) consulted in and she agreed that healing has progressed enough to move to the next stage of wound care.

The next stage of wound care involves paperwork. There’s a therapy we’d like to move to which is very successful in cases like mine, but it requires approval from the insurance company. We’re waiting for the answer from them.

Until the answer comes back, we’re continuing with the same course: packing and changing bandages twice a day. Once I’m out of the antiseptic, I can move to wetting the packing material with sterile saline solution. If I don’t get approved for the new wound care therapy, this will be my life for the forseeable future.

In the words of Inigo Montoya, “I hate waiting.” Hopefully I’ll have some answers back tomorrow or Wednesday.

Belly update – slowly improving

We removed the last bits of the necrotic tissue today. My medical team is impressed with AJ’s skill in packing wounds. I’m so lucky to have her. I return to the doctor on Monday for re-evaluation. Hopefully we can move to packing with saline solution and a wound care nurse to help get things closed back up.

For what it’s worth, everything looks pretty much normal and pink now and Dr. Roommate is no longer making icky-poo-poo face when she’s packing it.

Please, let it stay normal and keep healing so we can move forward on Monday.

I should be more positive about the progress, but I’m very tired of being The Walking Wounded. The wet/dry pack that we’re doing means that I’m always just a little damp. Imagine having spilled just a little on your jeans so you feel marginally clammy, but it’s not enough to go get paper towels to dry it off – it needs to just air dry. Now imagine that it never quite dries, because you’re always spilling just a little on your jeans, so it never dries. The cover dressing helps absorb some of the liquid (read: the solution we soak the packing gauze in), but it’s not enough.

My skin around the wound is covered in tape burns despite our best efforts to minimize it. My goal is now “just make it stick.” If we tear up my skin more, that’ll heal more easily than the surgical wound.

If ever there was a thing to make a person feel like they’re being punished for the sin of glutony, this is it. I have seen my fat. I know that if I were thin, this wound would not be nearly so bad. Fatness didn’t cause this, but it sure as hell doesn’t help it.

I want to cry from shame every time I look into the wound to assess it’s progress.

When I’m healed, there will be lasting lifestyle changes. Body positivity is all well and good, but there is something to be said for being the most healthy I can be, too. I don’t believe my body weight is as healthy as it could be. I just want to be a better me, whatever that turns out to be.

Right now, I’m doing what I’m medically allowed: going for walks and making the most healthy meal choices I can make.

The good news (can we call it that?) is that my old appetite hasn’t come back. I don’t feel hungry nearly as often as I did before the hysterectomy and I find myself satiated with smaller portions. I’ve also found it much easier to avoid soda in general. Once a week, on game night, I indulge in a 12oz ginger beer, but I don’t really want anything like that any other time.

The bad news is that I’m having to learn to plan meals around what I now am willing to eat portionwise. That’s proving something of a challenge. How do I get enough nutrients in the volume of food that I’m willing to consume? I’ve started scouring the internet for new recipes. has become something of a new favorite. Everything I’ve tried from there works, is nutritionally balanced, and tastes good.

Belly update (Monday’s appointment)

On Monday I went back to the doctor with my surgical incision, hoping that we would be able to move to the next stage of care: Packing with saline soaked gauze instead of antiseptic gauze. My hopes were for naught. While the doctor did tell me that things were improved, they were not improved enough to move to the next phase and we still ended up debriding the wound.

It’s been very disappointing.

AJ has still been a complete champ about packing the wound for me, because I’m not enough of a contortionist to pack it for myself, but I have shame about the whole situation. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. Everything was supposed to be 100% smooth sailing, despite the fact that I had a whole organ removed.

I know logically there was nothing I could have done differently. I know that I can’t stand in front of the mirror to pack it because I will bleed on the floor. I can’t get a mirror angled correctly to see to pack it if I’m lying on my back on the floor to keep the blood in the wound.

I’m terrified that I’m going to split open further. I’m terrified that my intestines are going to fall out, despite the fact that the Doctor says that my abdominal wall is healed and there’s no danger of it. Every time I look at the wound, I have these mental images, these sick fantasies, that something terrible is going to happen. Guts fall out. Massive putrification. Cthulhu monster escapes from the dark depths of my belly wound.

All I can do is make sure we repack the wound twice a day and hope that antiseptic and 7 inch cotton swabs are enough to defend against Cthulhu monsters.

I go back on Friday of this week to be re-evaluated again. Hopefully I’ll make better progress this time.

Improved stomach, now with venting

tl:DR – My incision broke open more. I went to the doctor and we’re treating it with antiseptic at the site. No need for antibiotics just yet. I am mostly fine, just more ventilated in the stomach region than planned for at this time. I go back for a recheck on Monday unless I start running a fever or start having strange smells from the area.

The post has details after the jump, but no pictures (duh.) If you are grossed out by medical details, you may want to skip reading today.

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Living the staple free life

I think the thing I missed the most was twisting at the waist. If I twisted to reach a book or pet a cat a staple would pinch or stab me in the belly. I’m gently grooving on not being constantly stabbed by an industrial zipper’s worth of staples.

I made myself an afternoon cup of coffee to celebrate. I made it an afternoon cup because coffee interferes with iron absorption and I’m taking an iron pill with kiwi at breakfast. I’m taking to try to get my heme up post surgery. I lost more blood than expected because I was under longer, and so I’m very anemic.

Coffee only interferes with iron absorption if you take it at the same time as your supplement.

Coffee betrayed me. It sent me to the bathroom very quickly with stomach cramps. Sparing the details, at least it offset the side effects of the iron pills.

They say slow and steady wins the race. I am trying to be good and get healthy again as quickly as possible, through careful, slow and steady progress.

It still sucks when you’re watching all your friends cotton tails bounce off down the road away from you. There are only so many rabbit videos I can watch, after all.

The upcoming viewing plans

I’m so far behind on movie watching and show viewing that am pretty much the last geek girl in America who hasn’t seen Wonder Woman. My friend Tim and I are planning to go tomorrow night. I’m hopeful, but my initial impression of the first trailer was “WWI Captain America with Boobies,” so I’m not that hopeful despite all the hype. (Please be good.)

As for other movie viewing, I’m starting to plan my post operative recovery viewing – things that I know the roommate won’t dig, so I don’t have to worry about any kind of charges of “DVD Adultery” while I’m watching. So far the list is as follows:

  • Another – This comes highly recommended from Tim (of the above viewing of Wonder Woman,) so I’m expecting creepy/good anime things from it.
  • Ash vs the Evil Dead– Yeah, I know. Take away my @groovybruce fanclub card, but I haven’t had time to actually sit down and enjoy anything, let alone a full series with multiple seasons. Bad fan-girl. No autograph when he comes to Iowa City to promote his latest book in September. (Yes, there is so much squee in my heart right now that I could about pass out from it.)
  • I, Zombie – I’m a season or two behind. Might be a good opportunity to catch up.
  • Train to Busan – this has been on my list since I saw a review of in January. Actually getting solo viewing time to watch it is a bonus.

Not much of a list so far, but with three seasons of Ash vs the Evil Dead to work through, that will slow me down a bit. Likewise, Another is supposed to have layers that might require a second watching. I could still probably use one or two more things to round out my list.

Also, I’m noticing it’s a little zombie heavy. Not that I mind living on Channel Z, as it were, but classic monsters fan ought to have a bit more depth of monster viewing.

What other things should I consider for my list?

Giant Chickens from Outer Space

toy chicken next to toy sheep. obviously not to scale.

That’s one big chicken.

I added a rooster to my tiny home office desk farm since there’s no hope of having chickens here. Yes, I’ve checked the local ordinances. In addition to a $25/year chicken license, if at any time an adjacent neighbor decides the chickens are a nuisance (interfere with the enjoyment of their property), the city can just remove them. Given that we have one neighbor we aren’t exactly on the best terms with, I’m not willing to take the risk of the chickens becoming another point of contention.

So, toy chicken it is. It works out well since the city ordinance doesn’t allow roosters anyway, only hens.

Obviously, the chicken and the sheep aren’t modeled to the same scale even though they’re both Schleich toys.

I’m considering naming him Ruban de Cockborne, as he seems a rather dignified fellow for a giant chicken from outer space, and not at all like a crusty old cowboy.