Sunday, December 17, 2017

A bit more post-surgery news after all, as it turns out ...

Well, I had hoped that there would be no further surgery news to report as regards my middle child, a.k.a. the Smaller Animal.  But there’s a bit more, as it turns out.  If you’re not caught up on the latest, you may want to check out the last update and possibly work backward from there.  (Note that this counts as a partial post in my “off week,” according to the new blog schedule.)

This past week, the kid developed a “bubble” up at the top of his incision scar.  At first it just seemed like a skin irritation of some kind, but soon we could tell there was pus gathering underneath it.  So we took him back in to the cardiology department of Children’s Hospital, where they told us that he has a suture granuloma.  This is a type of abcess that develops when some part of the dissolvable stiches (generally one of the knots) doesn’t dissolve and/or get absorbed completely.  In this case, the granuloma is pretty solid and there’s no discharge, which means that there’s no sign of infection so far.  Also, the doctor pressed the granuloma pretty hard to make sure it wasn’t too delicate, so it seems unlikely that the abcess would rupture any time soon.  However, while the chance of infection is low, the danger is significant, because the site is directly over his heart.  If an infection were to settle in, and if it were to migrate down instead of outward, that would be pretty bad.

So they gave us two options:  1) Have a very minor surgery, essentially right away, to remove the suture remnants.  This would be light sedation (i.e. no intubation tube) but still full anæsthesia (i.e. no eating after midnight, we’d have to show up at the crack of dawn, etc).  2) Go on 10 days of antibiotics and give the stitch more time to get absorbed naturally.  At the end of that time, if there’s no improvement, he gets the minor surgery anyway.  But at least there’s a chance he could avoid it.

So we went with option #2.  Since 10 days from the day we went in is Christmas Eve, we’re going back on Friday.  Hopefully it ends up being a wasted trip entirely and they say, “nah, everything’s fine.”  And, even if they don’t, this type of minor procedure is nothing compared to what he’s survived so far with flying colors.  But, still: it’s a bit more stress, and it’s likely I’ll have to take another day off from work, which sort of bums me out due to a big project going on (although my work is very awesome about such things: my bosses—including our CEO—have already let me know that I shouldn’t worry about the project ... but of course I still will, because I’m me).

Now, in the couple of days since then, the abcess has collapsed, which might mean that it ruptured and all the pus leaked out.  Except that we can’t find any evidence of that.  So it could also mean that the antibiotics kicked the crap out of whatever infection was developing in there and now there’s nothing to worry about.  I’m thinking that, if it continues to look as benign as it does right now, we might take him in a day or two early to see if we can duck out of the surgery appointment.  Because the downside of maybe having to make that two-hour-long round-trip twice is easily outweighed by the upside of maybe not having to do the second trip at all.  But we’ll see.

So, it’s a very minor setback, and nothing for anyone to get too excited or worried about.  But I thought I’d let everyone know, in case it was of interest to those following along.

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