Connor_Fell (connor_fell) wrote in tguk,

Top Surgery: How often/closely did you check on things post-op?

On Friday 9th I had top surgery - double-incision. Seemed to go well, out of hospital next day and recovering at home. I'm taking the painkillers I was given and avoiding heavy lifting, am mostly just in discomfort from the surgical binder.

But... I'm paranoid. I'm not great with medical stuff which doesn't help, but I keep being convinced the tenderness in my sides is something Gone Horribly Wrong instead of just "I had major surgery and I'm wearing a tight surgical binder which is squashing my ribs".

The surgeon said not to touch the bandages at all until I saw him in 10 days time, and to keep the binder in place as much as possible (I'm struggling to figure out how to keep clean without harming bandages - awkward placement!) so I'm basically only taking the binder off to readjust once a day it when it gets too uncomfortable. I have a quick look over the bandages - there's no new blood or anything - so I'm assuming that and the fact I'm walking around means I'm doing OK.

But how much checking up did you do immediately post-op? How did you check? Any advice about being less paranoid here?
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Resiiiist picking at or taking anything off you're not supposed to as best you can. Like I can talk, but try not to prod. Tenderness and pain and itching is totally normal to reasonable degrees—you've got two deep wounds that are still healing up, think of how much even little cuts can ache and add in compression, and there you go. I hurt the most over my sternum at first (where I didn't even have incisions, go figure), but the sides/outer bit of the incisions hurt for longer, especially where I had drains. The binder pressed on the tubes and the outer edges of the incisions themselves and owww.

Think of it this way, by leaving everything covered that long you're getting to miss some of the gross bits! I thought things like "oh, bruising everywhere!" were cool-gross, but I'm odd. I think my surgeon and yours had different takes on how long before touching things, that and I had Dermabond rather than stitches/strips.

And don't be afraid to call your surgeon's office and ask questions if you're really worried or things feel off. They've surely heard it before, it's better to ask than to worry yourself into a ball of stress.
It turns out my paranoid wasn't totally paranoid - I do have a bit of bleeding down one side. But I took a photo and mailed the surgeon and he said not to worry, and now my best friend is threatening to tape me to the sofa so I stop being so active. *hangs head*

But yeah - I'm very grateful I'm missing the gross stuff!
Hey, I had peri not DI but yeah, similar paranoia I think! (and also not good with medical stuff)

Tenderness in your sides sounds totally normal to me, as long it's just a bit of discomfort and pain rather than excruciating pain which you should probably tell your surgeon about. I didn't wear a binder post-op so my experience there might be different but I was totally strapped up in tape for a week after the op and I couldn't touch the tape or see underneath it or get it wet and I was freaking out because my surgeon was halfway down the country and there was fresh blood on the tape at some points but I'd been told not to touch it so I didn't. Then I got the tape off a week later, everything was fine, a bit swollen and minimal bruising (I think it was all bruising under the skin rather than visible).

So basically - nothing anyone says will probably make you any less terrified for the first two weeks because it's a major thing and I know I was crapping myself (I got a popped stitch as well and I was freaking out that the whole line of stitches was going to unravel like some kind of cartoon teddy bear, which is ridiculous in retrospect and eventually it just healed up). But you'll be fine and it'll be loads easier once you get your dressings off and start healing up properly. In my experience the first two weeks I could literally barely move. In the third and fourth week things started to get better and I could wash properly (although I still just used antiseptic wipes around the surgery site for another couple of weeks). After the first month things were pretty much back to normal, day to day, although I've only just gone back to the gym after just over two months.

So yeah re keeping clean, I washed carefully sort of kneeling in the shower, I didn't wash my hair for a week which was grim but necessary and then my other half helped me to do it for a few weeks after that. I used antiseptic wipes to wipe around the bandage site and my armpits and I used that Pit Rok roll on deodorant stuff for a while instead of spray because I was for some reason really paranoid about spray getting in my incisions.

Just rest up and it'll probably be the longest 10 days of your life, but once it's over then it's over and things will be SO worth it afterwards. And if you're mega worried about anything then give your surgeon an email or call.
It turns out I did have some bleeding, but I suspect it looks worse than it really is because the bandage/gauze tends to soak it up and spread it out. I emailed a pic to the doctor and he wasn't concerned, so I'm just under orders to stop being so active.

I appreciate the reassurance for - that's really what I'm here for, I know logically that I'm a low-risk patient and all I need to do is wait it out, but then you get lizard brain running circles going "ow, ow, we're all going to die!!!!"
If your doc is Ok with it then it definitely looks worse than it is - I imagine there's even more harmless bleeding with DI than with peri, just because the scars are longer. So hear you on the paranoia though, but in two months or so it'll all be a distant memory.