Friday, August 28, 2015

surgeon: 1, infectious diseases: 0

Yeah, so I didn't have an infection beneath my sternum after all.

A half-dozen visits from the Infectious Diseases team, who eventually went up the chain to a second surgeon to convince him of their concerns, not only turned me into a ball of anxiety, they had me feeling like the prize in a tug of war with the original surgeon.

The original surgeon, Dr. Saber Al-Boernazar, believed there was no infection. The CT Scan results that supposedly showed differently were normal, he told me. Furthermore, there was no redness or discharge from the sternum wound. Finally, I had no fever.

He had me convinced until I received a visit from Dr. Geoff Taylor, who very effectively expressed his team's concern for my well-being.

When I finally met with Dr. Mullen, who would eventually re-open my sternum, I was desperate for his unbiased opinion. He confirmed he'd seen cases where infection sat under the sternum without manifesting the symptoms Dr. Al-Boernazar was looking for, so we agreed we would not take a chance: surgery was a go for as early as the next day, August 20th.

I was prepared for surgery around 1 p.m. on the 20th. I have no idea how long I was in the operating room, but when I was being transferred back to my room on the fourth floor of the Mazankowski, I thought I heard someone say nothing had been found at the sternum. But that couldn't be right; the anesthetic must be messing with my head.

Turns out I'd heard right. The potential 'pus pocket' on the CT Scan turned out to be old fluid from the original surgery. Normal stuff, just like Dr. Al-Boernazar said.

Still, it was a good thing they'd operated: my sternum had become separated after the original surgery and would never have healed properly. Dr. Mullen did a massive repair job and it's now as solid as a cage, apparently. I can confirm that despite the bigger wound and despite the staple job done on the outside, I feel much more stable than I did after the original surgery. I'll focus on that and let the rest of it go.

Because ultimately, shit - and mistakes - happen(s).

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