I was in London on business when I suddenly experienced severe pain in
my stomach area. Since I was, at the time 18 weeks pregnant, I was
very concerned, and I checked myself into a hospital there.
Ultimately, I had to undergo surgery for an appendectomy. The surgery
was difficult because of the pregnancy, and the appendix had swelled
up enormously, was all black, and had partially ruptured--the surgery
took 2.5 hours, which I understand is unusually long for an
appendectomy. (The surgeon made a longer-than-usual incision because
it was difficult to pinpoint the location of the appendix due to the
pregnancy; the appendix was located much higher than normal.)
Fortunately, the surgeon told me he was able to remove everything.
About a week after the surgery, the wound started leaking perpetually.
I suspect this happened because about 6 or 7 days after the surgery,
I started taking long baths--the doctors told me this would be fine,
and also, the bathtub was one of the only places where I got any
relief from my stomach and bowel pain. Due to the pregnancy, I was
put on painkillers that were not very strong--paracetemol and
dihydrocodeine, though I had to stop the latter pretty quickly because
it causes constipation and seemed to make my gas/wind pain worse.
In any event, my theory is that the stitches may have prematurely
dissolved during my long baths, before the internal incisions had time
to fully heal. I did return to the hospital in London twice about
this issue, and both times the OBs sent me home stating that the
incision looked fine. The second time, the OB put me on a regimen of
penicillin, which I'm still taking.
I finally was able to return to New York about 11 days after the
surgery. I saw my OB here three days ago, who also looked at the
leaking wound and said she thought it was fine, though she recommended
I complete my penicillin regimen. Now, two weeks and two days after
the surgery, the wound is still leaking as much as it was before, if
not more--I have to replace the dressing every day, and even then, it
leaks out a little onto my clothes.
This morning I'm concerned because the leaking, which looked kind of
like a pinkish-brownish pus before, looks more red like blood this
morning. Yet at the same time, I feel better today than I did
yesterday. Also, I have not had a fever at all, and the incision does
not seem to smell. It doesn't look that bad, except that something
keeps coming out of it.
Second, I'm also concerned because still I have bad wind/gas/digestion
pain every day from the food I eat, which are still all recommended
soft foods. At night, the pain becomes quite bad to the extent that
it keeps me
up. The pain is sharp and shooting until it bubbles up inside (both
in my stomach area and, later, in my intestines area), and the
repeated pain does not let up until morning. Mornings are always
better, once I've had a bowel movement (which is usually regular
(though soft), though sometimes, like today, it's diarrhea). But once
I start eating again, the cycle starts up again, and it doesn't seem
to be getting better.
Question 1: Is the leaking normal this much time after the surgery?
Question 2: Is the bad gas/wind/stomach/intestine pain normal this much time
after the surgery?
Question 3: Should I seek the advice of another doctor--if so, which
specialty? I realize Google Answers is not the place for medical
advice--I am more than happy to go to a doctor for the answers. But
I've been to my OB, who has told me everything seems to be fine. I do
trust her, but people (distant doctor relatives whom I trust less but who keep
calling me and worrying me about this issue) keep telling me that an
appendectomy should heal quickly, and I should not be feeling this
much pain at this point, even considering the fact that I'm now 20
weeks, 4 days pregnant (meaning that my uterus is pushing at my
incision more and more). Should I see a surgeon or someone at a
hospital? Since all my hospital care was in London, I just don't know
whom to contact, besides my OB, for follow-up here in NY. I did try
right when I returned to be seen by a surgeon, but I was not able to
get an appointment with one here; we were told that all the surgeons
only saw patients who were going into surgery or had just had surgery
at their hospital. My main concern is that I may need to get more
stitches or something like that, or I want a decisive explanation for
the perpetual leaking.
Your input is appreciated. No caveats about the fact that medical
advice can only be given in person by appropriate professionals are
necessary--I understand this, and am only seeking to cast a wide net
eak in NY