Friday morning Miss M had her second post-op appointment. The goal at this appointment was to check all of the incisions and remove the pain pump.
I should just interject here that Miss M has a pretty significant fear of needles, tubes, incisions, and anything that might potentially involve pain. Wait – I should revise that last statement – bottom line, the actual bottom line, is Miss M truly – deeply – fears pain. She’s an incredibly intelligent woman. She’s one of the strongest women I know. She has survived things that lesser individuals would not have been able to – and with grace, no less. But part of the problem is that she is not only intelligent, she has a really developed ability to imagine what the pain factor might be. Part of it is also a fear of the unknown.
You know me – pretty much been there, done that when it comes to medical procedures! LOL!
For me – it’s an act of immersing myself in understanding the procedure, finding out why it would be done, how it would be done, and study anatomy to try to gain an understanding of the mechanics, so that I can gauge how much pain and/or discomfort might be involved. I can completely relate to Miss M’s concerns. I do NOT have a love affair with needles going on. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with giving myself or others shots, removing sutures, caring for incisions, wounds, etc. But if you’ve read here for any length of time, you will likely recall my horror at the pronouncement that a PICC line would be in my future. I was terrified, honestly. I hate IV’s – when they’re in ME. I don’t mind seeing them put in other people at all. Can I watch when they put one in me? Ain’t no way! I close my eyes, I turn my head away, I concentrate on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, and I focus my mind elsewhere. It’s not rational. I get that. But it’s me, and I can apologize until I’m blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that I just can’t get excited about it. (And just so you know – if I ever had to go back in the hospital (please Lord, no!) – I would ask for a PICC to start with, hands down, no question in my mind – even though I hate the process of getting them, they are so far superior to a traditional IV line, it’s a complete no brainer for me!)
Just like Miss M – part of my problem is that I have too vivid an imagination. While having a vivid imagination can be a good thing in other avenues of life. In this one? Not so much.
So – I get it. I completely get it. And because I know how to calm myself down (not gonna say I don’t shed a tear or two when something particularly scary has to be done), I can help calm Miss M down, too. The really great thing about her is that she’s willing to listen to me, refocus her mind, and concentrate on remembering to breathe, and make it through a procedure quite well. I have to smile, though, she’s always so surprised – but I’m not – she’s a rock star, that girl!
Anyway – all that being said, Miss M had a significant level of fear and trepidation about having that pain pump removed.
I’m going to show you some pictures – and once again – let me just state for the record:
Do not disrespect this woman’s privacy. Honor the fact that she’s willing to share her journey. If you are not comfortable with seeing incisions, drains coming out of bodies, stuff like that – DO NOT go forward from here. Okay?
So – in this picture you can see where the Marcaine (a numbing solution for muscle pain) pain pump tubes are still in place – they are the tiny tubes between the JP drain tubes:
As I’m sure you can also see – her incisions are beautiful. And you can also probably see that the swelling has set in. One of the things that is a given with plastic surgery is the fact that you will deal with swelling – significant swelling – not for days, not for weeks, but for months. They say it can take up to 6 months for that swelling to completely resolve. Honestly, it freaks some people out. It’s perfectly natural, though, when you consider how many inches of incision are involved and tissue excision and disruption, etc. It just messes with the brain, though, and really freaks some people out. They equate swelling with weight gain, and if you’ve been where we have (WLS post-ops) weight gain is scary.
In this picture you can see the fabulous Melissa removing the pain pump tubes:
Miss M handled the removal really well. She reported that there was a tiny sting, and it did feel a little weird as it was being pulled out because she could feel it leaving from the inside of her. I always describe it as an “ishy feeling” – kinda squirmy. But honestly – in my own experience, not a lot of pain involved. (I won’t lie, having the j-tube removed in 2010 kinda sucked, though.) But as expected, Miss M was a trooper and did great.
We did forget to get a picture of the back incisions at the last appointment, so I made a point to get a picture this time. Here you go:
Lovely, isn’t it?
I think the thing that I’m most impressed with is how clean the incisions are, how there’s essentially no redness and pulling at the incisions, and how symmetrical everything is. Lovely, lovely results.
Dr. Egrari did come in toward the end of the appointment and pronounced how pleased he was with everything. All the way around everyone has been impressed with Miss M’s progress. One of the things we’ve all been keeping a close eye on is how her drain output has been – both quality and quantity. For most people, it can take nearly a week for the output to get clear and tinged color – i.e., not really bloody any longer. Miss M’s drains made that transition on Wednesday – just two days after surgery! Amazing! Her drain output has decreased appropriately every day as well. So well, in fact, that Dr. Egrari told us that drains may come out Monday or Tuesday – depending on total output in a 24 hour period of time. She’s such an overachiever, Miss M!
At the conclusion of the appointment we got settled in the car and I had to hand Miss M a pair of sunglasses to wear – it was so sunny and beautiful out! So much so, that we decided to go for a drive. She felt well enough to be out and about for two hours, in fact. I’m so proud of her!
We got back to the hotel later that afternoon and Miss M enjoyed a well-deserved nap!