King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Thursday, November 5

OK, Health update time...

I know that some of you will want to know how things are going in my belly button department, so it's time for an update. First of all, what they actually did. I found this out yesterday, when Paul the nurse at the local surgery told me the notes from the operation had finally arrived. 5 Hernias. Yes, 5. The belly button itself was the worst one (obviously) but the other 4 were spread across the area, which is why so much of my belly was distended (that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it). The operation went to plan, with major reconstructive surgery on the 'umbilicus' (note: why can't they just call it the belly button?). Successful with the hernias, they then placed in the large titanium mesh that now sits behind my whole belly, by sliding it in rolled up and unrolling it. Unfortunately, this required a large 'pocket' to unfold, and this is why they filled me up with so much air, and also required that they cut through my abdomen muscle. They then tried to sew me shut. It was at this point that things started to go wrong, hence why it went from a 30-40 minute op to 2 hours. Sewing the area shut was, in Paul the nurse's words, like "sewing wet tissue." It was disintegrating as soon as anything pulled on it, meaning that in the end they sewed my belly to the front of the mesh in pockets of 3 dissolvable stitches (9 pockets in total = 27 stitches). They also glued the whole kit and caboodle into place, which will explain why I now have a fetish for superglue (just kidding Tania). They then sewed and glued the incision across the belly button itself, with two very large and complex stitches. Job done.
Now for the past 2 weeks things haven't gone to plan. A week after I came out, I had a haemotoma (see: pocket of blood) on the front of the belly button. This should have been reabsorbed back into the skin, but wasn't and is now dying. This means I have a large black lump at the front of the belly button. I say large, but Paul the nurse keeps cutting it away. This amuses BLS immensely, who has asked repeatedly if she can a) have the lumps or b) at least have a picture. Here you go sis (I must warn you, do NOT open this link if you are even slightly squeamish, or like Pork Scratchings. I accept no responsibility for messy vomit contained woe.) This also means in the meantime they have to repeatedly clean and redress the wound, and yesterday another 4 chunks were debrided (I'm learning all the terms). I even mentioned how we could dry them out, add a little salt and sell them in a pub. Even Paul the nurse was green at this. The dead stuff is obviously rotting whilst still attached however, and the smell is completely unique. Take something slightly sweet, chocolate is a good example, and then mix it with the smell of the worst feet you've ever known (Remember Ian Susan?) and then multiply the whole thing by 10. Yes, that bad. It has also lead not surprisingly to an infection, so I'm back on the no alcohol anti-biotics.
Now the other problem is when I saw the surgeon, he said that the distension will pass after the surgery, meaning my not insignificant belly would get a lot smaller. Following the op I was put on Anti-inflammataries (Diclofenac = Man's Ibuprofen) and sure enough, the swelling was reduced significantly. I even got me a new jumper and jacket. Then the Diclofenac ran out, and now the jacket no longer fits properly, and the jumper makes me look like Eamonn Holmes. This is not good, and I have expressed this several times, hence the post on Tuesday. Tuesday afternoon saw me seeing the doc again and he had a good poke around and thorough examination. His conclusion was "it's one of those things," which wasn't the answer I wanted and also upset the delightful Tania immensely. Knowing this, I went back yesterday to see Paul the nurse again, and taking a leaf out of BLS and the delightful Tania's books, I banged my spoon a little. I made light of it, and Paul the nurse can see how frustrated I am. He also was shocked when I mentioned the fact my jacket fitted 3 weeks ago, and doesn't any more. So, not wanting to tread on my Doc's toes, he booked my new dressing appointment and noticed that my GP wasn't in at the same time. This means he has a legitimate reason to ask another doctor what his opinion is. This is a good thing. The delightful Tania meanwhile was more then happy that I'd done this. Even better is the fact she'll be with me when I go.
So, there you have it. I have had a hard time about what to do. In all fairness, I can't complain too much. Complications are to be expected, but all they can do is combat them as they appear. The disdain shown by my GP on Tuesday has upset me admittedly, but at least I might get a result tomorrow. I just can't wait until the day I can stop taking pills and wearing large plasters (see elastoplast if you're from the US).