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Life & Events > Donna's Hospital Stay

Donna's Hospital Stay


A few weeks ago, Donna had a panniculectomy. As the old time greasers know, Donna used to be a few pounds heavier than she is now, on the order of 150. The excess skin that results in certain places can be more than just an annoyance after weight loss, and a "panni" is the surgery used to remove the "roll" that hangs from the belt-line.

Donna was doing fine for the first week, but it's a massive incision, 42 inches around the middle and another 18 inches vertical. And the short story is, it got infected. She's been understandably shy about the whole business, but she had me take a look at it on Tuesday evening. We were heading for the ER 20 minutes later. I have pictures of it at that stage, but they are too graphic (read, disgusting) to post. But you can imagine an infection where the vertical meets the horizontal incision.

The folks in the ER got her started on another round of antibiotics and the surgeon saw her on Thursday morning. She was in the hospital on Friday scheduled for surgery near the end of the day.

The OR was so badly backed up that at 5 o'clock the director of something-or-other came to say that since the OR couldn't give the doc a start time he wanted to wait until Saturday morning at 8 to operate. Turns out it was a good call on his part since we found out the next morning that the OR didn't shut down until 2 a.m. Can you imagine how tired he would have been by midnight?

The doc stopped by on his way home on Friday and I had nowhere to go, so I spent the night in a chair in Donna's room. The surgery went well and I will post below a pic of the result. It's not disgusting, but for all you non-medical types, it is high-tech. The tube is connected to a small suction pump. It's called vac therapy and works by applying negative pressure to suction out fluid, debris and any other nastys while pulling the incision together. Instead of six months recovery, the wound is closed in six weeks.

She's still in the hospital, probably until Tuesday. A nurse changes the sponge in the wound and they want the first change to be done in the hospital. That will happen tomorrow and she should be home by sometime Tuesday.

I'll be able to catch a ride to the hospital tomorrow to visit so I'll be up before my usual 7am. Slept straight through for almost 9 hours last night after sleeping the nigh before in the chair. I'm not as tired tonight as I was last night, but I'm certainly ready to snooze. I've managed to read a few blogs and I have some video of the backroads to post when I have more time, but for now, I covered what's important.

Enjoy the fall-like weather if you're having what we're having. Hasn't rained in days and temps are heading for 50 for the next few. And now, Here's the pic of the vac assisted therapy.


Pretty damn cool!

posted on Nov 18, 2012 7:34 PM ()


Poor dear! I am glad she is on the mend again!
comment by kristilyn3 on Nov 26, 2012 12:39 PM ()
Thanks. She took pain meds at 5:30 am and the nurse showed up at 7:30 to change the sponge and gawd.... has she been cranky today. Her clock doesn't have 7:30 am on it!
reply by jjoohhnn on Nov 26, 2012 12:54 PM ()
Congrats to one and all for a successful "ectomy" (love that word")!!
comment by solitaire on Nov 25, 2012 5:48 AM ()
Yeah, doesn't sound as intimidating as "excision of"!
reply by jjoohhnn on Nov 25, 2012 1:38 PM ()
I'm so happy for her to get this out of the way, hope her recovery goes smoothly now and no more problems. Please give her our best regards and warmest wishes.
comment by troutbend on Nov 23, 2012 12:07 PM ()
The nurse came today to change the sponge (the black stuff). The wound went from 13 to 11 cm, so it's getting better already!
reply by jjoohhnn on Nov 23, 2012 12:13 PM ()
wishing donna a speedy recovery
comment by kevinshere on Nov 21, 2012 9:28 PM ()
Thanks Kev!
reply by jjoohhnn on Nov 23, 2012 12:11 PM ()
She lost a whole person! Very cool for her but what a horror to have such a huge infection. Is she home yet?
comment by catdancer on Nov 21, 2012 5:46 PM ()
Yup, she got out at noon today (Wednesday).
reply by jjoohhnn on Nov 21, 2012 6:07 PM ()
I am proud of Donna for sticking with it and going for the skin removal.
Tell her we are all sending love and sympathy.
comment by elderjane on Nov 21, 2012 5:26 PM ()
Not sure she knows I posted that pic, so I think I'll just keep my mouth shut for now!
reply by jjoohhnn on Nov 21, 2012 6:06 PM ()
comment by jondude on Nov 20, 2012 6:29 AM ()
reply by jjoohhnn on Nov 21, 2012 6:05 PM ()
I hope she recovers quickly! Don't know if you've posted about how she lost 150 lbs, but I'd be interested to know, if you care to share.
comment by maggiemae on Nov 19, 2012 6:08 AM ()
About 5 years ago she got to the point that the weight was just causing too much discomfort. Walking was difficult because of her hips and all the usual complaints. She started doing Atkins and changed the way she thinks about food. The cravings seem to go away when carbs are reduced. She had to drink tow quarts of water every day for awhile, then she was able to have more carbs. She eats salad with creamy dressing, meat, eggs and cheese, heavy cream, half&half in tea, low-carb snack bars, sweet potato chips, stone ground oats in the winter, occasional slice of rye or wheat bread, low carb pasta, I forgot the brand name. Basically she eats well. Just skips the potatoes, rice. No McDoubles either, which is why I don't do the plan. Bryers does make low-carb ice cream and she has that on hand. Almonds, plain yogurt with "stuff" she adds to it. She's happy with what she eats so she can stick with it. She blogs on greasy as Donnaaa. I'm sure she'll be happy to discuss it with you or blog about it when she gets home (see my reply to Martin below about that).
reply by jjoohhnn on Nov 19, 2012 1:00 PM ()
Wishing Donna well and that she will recover quickly. Hang in there.
comment by tealstar on Nov 19, 2012 4:52 AM ()
Thanx. I spent the morning with her. She's doing well.
reply by jjoohhnn on Nov 19, 2012 12:52 PM ()
Hope she is up and around and well quickly--someday when things are back to the way they were remind me to tell you a story about my first 200 pound loser and her operation to remove the extra skin.
comment by greatmartin on Nov 18, 2012 8:16 PM ()
Well, if the story has to wait I guess it didn't go all that well! I spent the morning with Donna. The nurses came to change the sponge in the wound and she's off Os and walking independently (which she could have been doing anyway, but that's bureaucracy). If a visiting nurse can be scheduled to do the dressing change on Wednesday, she'll get out tomorrow. If not, she'll have to stay in the hospital just for the dressing change on Wednesday. Bummer.... But at least she's not hooked to any machines except for the vacuum pump and the IV is out.
reply by jjoohhnn on Nov 19, 2012 12:51 PM ()

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