The Saga of the Wound Vac, Part 2 (and a pathology update)

I know, I know. I’ve been a bag blogger. And a bad ABC-alonger. I fell behind at B this year. That has to be a record. I plan to catch up this weekend.

For now, I have more about the wound vac to talk about. I talk about the wound vac a lot, unfortunately, because my life is pretty much consumed by this thing these days. The wound is much, much smaller now. It’s only (only, ha!) about 2 inches long, an inch wide, and a little under an inch deep. With its smaller size, however, have come a raft of problems.

The most pressing problem – to me, anyway – is that the foam has begun to smell. A really horrible smell. My nurse thinks it smells like cigarette smoke, which I think is crazy because it clearly smells like shit. Literally. When I first began smelling it, I was constantly checking the litterbox to see if it needed cleaning and it was usually fine.

The first time it happened, the nurse and I were really worried that there was an infection. But when she took the dressing off and cleaned the wound, the wound didn’t smell. We eventually deduced that it was the foam that had the smell, not the wound. The nurse from the wound vac company (KCI) was here today and the first thing I brought up was the smell. She told me that it’s normal. Normal! She said that when the foam touches the drainage, it smells. So basically, live with it. Which is diffcult, because it makes me nauseous. I started piling on more tape to hold the smell in,which she says is fine, but it always seems to break through.

Now I’m even more reluctant to leave the house. As if having a tube attached to my body, coming out of my pants no less, with blood flowing through it wasn’t bad enough, now I’m constantly wreathed with the smell of shit. Attractive, right?

The second problem is that the pressure on the machine has been constantly fluctuating. This was a problem in the beginning, but we tracked it down to the nurse not making the hole in the plastic large enough before putting on the tube, so it was fine for a while. It’s possible that this new fluctuation problem has been due to too much foam being put in. With the KCI nurse looking on today and giving direction, my nurse used half the foam she normally does. So hopefully that will solve that.

Today we also changed the pressure from 125 to 150. (I’m not sure what units those are.) Also, we changed it from continues pressure to intermittant pressure. That means it goes on for 2 minutes, then off for a while, then back on for 2 minutes. This sucks – ha ha! I’m so funny! You get it? Sucks? Sucks? You get it? – because every time it turns on, it hurts. So I was shown how to change it back to continuous if I can’t take the intermittant anymore.

Hopefully, it’s only 2 more weeks with the wound vac. If it’s more than that, I may go insane.

There’s good news on the pathology report, though. It turns out that the pathologist was just being super descriptive. The tumors didn’t change into a form more likely to turn invasive. So hurray for that. Treatment remains the same, which is basically no treatment. Just vigilance and more surgery if they come back again.


3 Responses

  1. sounds like pretty good news all around! Even though it smells, two more weeks is something you can definitely get through, and the healing sounds like it’s really progressed! So glad this is finally turned a corner toward wellness for you.

  2. Yuck and great in that order. Yuck to two more weeks of the giant sucking sound and great to the pathology report. Again. I really think you earned the right to never have to vaccum anything again. Milk this, baby milk it. 🙂