So after my last post about the dressing change I had two more, on Monday and then Wednesday – both much less painful I am happy to report. I was told that things were looking really good, and so on Wednesday with a view to discharging me from hospital the vacuum dressing was removed and the decision made to rest it as it was become very vascularised – that is lots of blood vessels and therefore quite a bit of bleeding. The wound was packed and dressed and the plan was that I would be discharged and then seen by the community tissue viability team on Friday to reasses the wound for further treatment.
Now I wanted to give a few more details of the vacuum dressing. It was fairly comfortable to wear, the painful bit being when it was taken off. The VariFlo dressing I was using irrigates the wound and heals extra quick by stimulating the bodies healing processes. It was very quiet, and I could sleep through the whole cycle.
The bottom image shows the sponge after removal – it is the sponge that is in contact with the wound and allows the saline to get to it and allows the suction to work. When it is first applied and the vacuum formed it feels what I imagine being groped by a giant feels like – I was told that part can be very painful. One nurse told me that in France these dressing changes are always done in an operating theatre with sedation, so she was very happy to top up my pain relief.
And so I was discharged on Wednesday evening. Unfortunately things did not quite transpire as planned with the follow up. It seems that because the vac dressing was removed, a different referral pathway and securing of funding was required. The upshot of all of this has been that I saw my practice nurse on Friday for a wound check and will see the tissue viability nurse today. Whilst this is only a short delay it is still frustrating. Added to that the practice nurse measured the wound which was bigger than I expected (opening 4.5 cms, 6 cms deep) and a sinus close by 1 cm deep. As everyone had said how well things were doing I think I thought things were further along than that. Alongside this, my son has had chicken pox which he has passed on to my wife who has had to reapetedly take time off work. So a challenging time. I also have an occupationl health appointment this week, and whilst I am not worried about that it has made me a bit down the last few days.
So, here is hoping today brings good news and a solid plan for the final stages of the healing! The pain is at least much reduced.
It is also a good time to publically thank all the staff on ward A800 at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, stoma and IBD nurses and the colorectal team. In addition the two reps from KCI who supported the vacuum dressing in the hospital, particulalry Rose who made me laugh a lot (although it may have been the ora-morph).