|Top Surgery: How often/closely did you check on things post-op?
||[Nov. 14th, 2012|05:37 pm]
A gathering of the trans-fabulous living in the UK
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?
You had your skin cut through, and then tissue underneath tugged around, mangled, and sliced away five days ago. You will be VERY tender. It's totally normal. Think how much it hurts and for how long after you smack yourself off something, or drop something heavy on your toe. You've had a lot more than that done to your body - which is why it's done under General Anaesthetic. As nerves come back online they will also hurt - pain comes out in patches after surgery, you'll get a range of bruising, tingling, aching and sharp pain as different things start to heal and wake up.
If you feel hot and sweaty / shivery / feverish, or the skin feels like it's burning, those are signs of infection and you need to seek medical attention. I had a minor infection post mastectomy and it was pretty obvious - the ex-breast felt on fire & I felt rough. However, healthy tissue post surgery can be slightly warmer than usual because the inflammatory response causes warming, and it's a normal part of the healing process.
It sounds like you're doing absolutely the right stuff, and you don't have to wait long to see your consultant. Tell them what you're worried about and they will be able to give you explicit instructions on what to look out for, but it sounds to me like you're doing fine. Being cautious is normal - this stuff is scary!
I've just checked my appointment, it's going to be 13 days post op rather than 10 but that's not a huge deal.
It's good to get reassurance - I know logically I'm fine or I wouldn't be so mobile (I've stayed in the house but I've been sat in the living room, getting my own snacks, even answered the door to the postman) but of course there's always this "This is new! And strange! And a big deal!" in the back of my head. So I appreciate the info/input.
I had my bandages changed at 5 days. I didn't check before then. There's no need to, if there was the surgeon would tell you to check. If something really wrong happens then you are going to know about it. I was paranoid too though, nothing for it other than repeatedly telling yourself to get a grip and be more rational about it
I think because it's one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. Like I know how I feel when I have flu, I know how I feel when I break a bone, so I know what's normal and what's extra "something went wrong". This I have no baseline for. So I'm glad I have people to ask online.