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Insult to Injury and Back Again - Further Complications Insult to Injury and Back Again - Further Complications

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Unread 11-16-2007, 07:32 PM
Insult to Injury and Back Again - Further Complications

Hello ladies,
Boy, I had no idea that my hyster would be such an eventful experience. Not that I didn't expect the surgery would be life-changing, as it has been, but I just didn't see all the rest of the stuff coming.

As many of you read, I had a pulmonary embolism a week after my hyster and spent three further days in the hospital. Then, I was put on Coumadin (warfarin) to thin my blood and aside from additional abdominal swelling, which I thought was related to the drug, I thought I was well on my way. I'd been back to work for a week and was doing well.

And then last Wednesday, early morning, happened.

I woke at 3:00 a.m. to a completely distended abdomen, and what I thought was just horrible gas. I stumbled down a flight of stairs to the kitchen for my Gas-X stash and downed it immediately. In a crumpled hunch, I made my way back upstairs to my bedroom in the worst pain of my life, and passed out cold from the pain, collapsing on the floor. I came to a few minutes later and crawled to the bathroom, thinking a BM would help. I nearly passed out and fell off the toilet. I managed to crawl (literally) back to my side of the bed, and my DH finally woke up to see me writhing on the floor straddling a body pillow and moaning like death. I was convinced I would snap out of it and still be able to get to work.

Yeah, not so much.

I called my mom a time-zone away (it was 5:30 her time), and I asked her if this was normal for post-op. Of course I knew the answer, but I needed to hear it from my momma. My DH got the kids dressed and took me straight away to the ER and then left, as he had to take my oldest to am Kindergarten.

They tapped a vein on me, started me on the 48-ounces of barium water diet and took me in nearly immediately for a CT scan. What they saw was a pelvis full of infection, in the way of a gigantic abcess which was on the verge of sepsis. They didn't tell me until much later that they didn't know if I'd make it. They immediately decided to admit me and before I knew it, I was getting infused with two pints of blood. My doctors started filing in and making plans. In light of the blood thinners I was on, they knew they couldn't take me in right then. As such, the pulmonologist I'd been dealing with met with my hyster surgeon, as well as my internist. They all agreed to roll the dice and take me off the blood thinners, and reverse the whole process, taking my blood viscosity back to normal over about 10 hours.

Then came the emergency surgery.... they removed a bursting abcess the size of a grapefruit from the right side of my pelvis, and gave me a lovely external dran and three new belly holes. The drain became known as my hand-grenade, because that's just how it looked, and of course, it was full of toxic infection....

I spent five days in the ICU, and my mom and dad flew out immediately. I was so glad to have them there. My sister came out too. I had been laying there just crying and crying. I blew five IVs before the whole experience was over, and was fortunate enough to have my sixth hold until I was allowed to go home. My parents fed me, walked me, and kept me stabilized until yesterday, and then I was feeling strong enough that they could head back to their own lives.

So what have I learned from all this? Is there anything I can offer you wonderful ladies who have seen me through such nightmares?

I offer this: when they tell you to walk after your surgery, do so. Be as active as your body allows. The first four days I was home, my DH was less supportive than I had hoped he'd be. I spent four days flat on my back, in bed, alone, walking only to the toilet. I had a blinding migraine, a sinus infection and the stomach flu, but they were not excuse enough to not walk. I should have walked. I might have avoided the pulmonary embolism.

As for the cause of the abcess, it appears that the blood thinners allowed for a reopening of a surgical site, and I re-bled into my pelvis. I had been having vaginal bleeding -- nothing to cause alarm -- it was dark brown, and I was only putting out a couple tablespoons per every four or so hours. It also smelled bad, but I thought it was normal, because I was passing stitches at the same time. I was describing that to my doctor and he thought it was normal too... turns out it wasn't. I was leaking infection, and I was lucky to survive. Again.

So if anything odd happens -- anything at all -- even if it doesn't seem connected to your surgery.... get it looked at.

I still feel freaked out at every little thing right now. I'm scared -- no, terrified, that my body is out to get me at the moment.

Please take care ladies. And if anyone has the time, I'd appreciate a prayer or two, because I'm not able to rest at this point. Thank you all so much for being here.
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Unread 11-16-2007, 08:02 PM
Insult to Injury and Back Again - Further Complications

Thank God you got help when you did!I cant imagine what you have been going through but, I hope and pray each day finds you stronger and on the way to recovery!
I'll be praying for you tonight! Please let me know how you are doing!Please be careful and take care of yourself!
Unread 11-16-2007, 08:27 PM
Insult to Injury and Back Again - Further Complications

Many many prayers comming your way!Please take it easy and try to get some rest.I am so sorry that you are going through this.I hope that the rest of your recovery is very uneventfull and time passes quickly untill you are completly better.Many hugs,
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Unread 11-16-2007, 08:37 PM
Insult to Injury and Back Again - Further Complications

Dina ~ You poor thing!!! Why can't you rest? You need to. Please take good care of yourself and then the time and distance from the bad things will begin to give you confidence in your body again. As for being scared - heck I would be too if I were in your shoes.


Unread 11-16-2007, 08:49 PM
Insult to Injury and Back Again - Further Complications

Dina - I'm so sorry to hear you've gone through all this. The PE was bad enough.

Just know that I'm thinking of you and sending lots of love and hugs your way. Surely things can only get better from now!

Take care
Unread 11-16-2007, 08:58 PM
Insult to Injury and Back Again - Further Complications

I'm new here and I just want to say that you have my prayers and from the way it sounds you're due for a break. Hang in there!!!! Cassie
Unread 11-16-2007, 10:23 PM
Insult to Injury and Back Again - Further Complications

Dear Dina,

Many years ago I had a similar experience and like you I lost all confidence in my body until I felt if something could go wrong it would. I had an ectopic pregnancy and a week later developed DVT and was back in hospital. The additional bleeding that the blood thinners caused brought me back for a colonoscopy (the doctor wanted to rule out cancer as there are sometimes links with blood clots and cancer) which they performed without any sedatives and was the worst experience of my life. Later I developed alergies to the coumadin and the only solution was to inject myself with heparin 3 times a day. I thought I would never get better and I got really depressed. The good news is that time is your best friend and over time things fade and the incidences of you body letting you down (as I saw it) will eventually stop and you won't keeping thinking all the worst case sinarios. You are quite right to warn others to keep moving after the op. My doctor warned me that I should never stay in bed for prolonged periods even if I had the flu. When I did eventually get pregnant I had to inject myself with heparin again (500 shots for each of my 2 pregnancies) as my doctor explained "If you choose not to take the blood thinners and you do get a blood clot and it goes to your lung you may only have 3 minutes". Blood clots can be deadly and only the lucky one get away with a few days in the castle on a heparin drip. For my hysterectomy I was put back on the heparin 12 hours before and 3 shots after (heparin gets out of your system faster than coumadin) and the doctor took extra precautions for bleeding although he said I bled twice as fast during the surgery and inserted a drain for the first 48 hours post op, but I was lucky and had no further complications. I am so sorry to hear about your situation, you have been very unlucky, but I am pleased that everything was caught in time. Give yourself time, it has been a very rocky road so far, but take each day and minute one step at a time and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I will be thinking of you.
Unread 11-16-2007, 10:29 PM
Insult to Injury and Back Again - Further Complications

I am so sorry you are going through all of this during your post-op. I am glad that your parents were able to help you during that time in the hospital. I hope you get to feeling better soon. I am so glad you went to the hospital when you did!!!
Unread 11-16-2007, 10:40 PM
Insult to Injury and Back Again - Further Complications


So sorry to hear you've been through so much......I just can't imagine, you poor thing!!

Please get some rest! Your body (and mind) really needs it!!

You are in my thoughts and prayers, please keep us posted on how you're feeling/doing.

Unread 11-16-2007, 10:46 PM
Insult to Injury and Back Again - Further Complications

You must have been scared out of your mind! I'm so glad you got to the hospital when you did. This certainly underscores the importance of monitoring your temperature post-op, since that can give you an early clue to an infection. You can't really rely on pain to tell you something is wrong, because there's a lot of post-op pain anyway and you are most likely taking painkillers.

I'm so glad you're OK and on your way to recovering. It also sounds like you spent way too little time recuperating. I hope your family recognizes how very important it is to heal properly now, even if it seems like you are healing fine.

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