Wound Vac Info

I’ve been asked a few times this week. It’s a vacuum applied to a wound area. The goal in my case is to drain away excess fluids and also to get the cells around the cavity to regrow.

After my c section I had a new kind of wound vac (pico dressing) instead of stitches or staples. It is like skin tape with a hose the diameter of a pencil leading to a power pack containing 4 AA batteries. For most people this is sufficient and considerably better than other methods. It helped 99% of my incision heal.

Because I was so swollen through pregnancy, my excess fluids sought a way out. Most of it left through normal means, but I had 4 little holes on the incision reopen themselves to release the fluid. When it wouldn’t shut, I ended up needing to be reopened 1/2 way.

The wound vac I now carry comes with more of everything. It’s 5lbs and carries like a purse, not like the pico I could stuff in my pocket. It’s tube is huge, and connects to a suction cup and lots and lots of medical grade Scotch tape over my incision. Inside the incision is foam packing much like craft sponge paint brushes. Every twist or time I move, I feel it in there jabbing me. Because the wound is on a crease or natural joint area, I feel it often. All this drains to a container that really smells awful.

Because it’s been on so long, my skin is raw. Because a nurse has been negligent, I have a suction area that’s a giant hickey. She forgot to put down tape first. Some nurses have overstuffed the wound causing it to stay open. Somehow last week I wasn’t sealed quite right so I was leaking.

At no point were my doctors erring in the choices made for me and I haven’t had any infections. The only thing wrong here was too many delays in the transfer of my care from each facility (OB that did the section, OB that removed pico, delay to get Asher discharged so I could se my home normal OB, and the wait for wound clinic to get me in).

Adding to the adventure, as my blood pressure gets lower because the swelling is leaving my body, I have moments that feel much like a diabetic when their sugars are too low. I nearly passed out this morning while bending over the tub to wash my hair (can’t take a full shower with this vac).

Around all this Asher is on a growth spurt. He wants to stay awake far to long. This evening was rather rough.

We are hanging in but I want to be healed and able to enjoy some of the newborn phase yet.

Wednesday might be the day I get this off…if I heal enough between now and then.

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Courtney Robertson

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