Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Say hello...

... to my little friend. We'll call her Wanda.

Wanda the Wound Vac.

I was going to write a little Ode to the Wound Vac a few days ago, but I couldn't find the thing that attaches my camera to the computer to download the pictures, and it just wouldn't be the same without pictures, you know?

Thing is, I'm not hating Wanda as much as I was, so I'm having a hard time getting worked up about her-- so I'm not too inspired to write hate notes about her.

What IS a "Wound Vac" you ask?
It's not exactly as icky as it sounds.
My abdominal wound (from the emergency C-section) has been taking forever to heal. It hasn't been incredibly painful-- just incredibly inconvenient. Uncomfortable. Irritating. A little painful. Definitely restricting. I won't go into the details of LBW ("life before Wanda"), but let's just say this: in the last few weeks, Don has shown his incredible committment and love for me in a thousand ways we never anticipated, including wound care. I am constantly amazed at the way God manages to do a thousand things at once-- not only have we been learning about what it means to grieve together, in a way we never anticipated, but in my physical weakness, I have watched his incredible tenderness as he loves me the way Christ loves the church. He has seen me at my worst...and he loves me still. How grateful I am for this man.

But one thing he cannot do is physically heal this wound himself, or carry the wound vac for me-- and I'm attached to it 24/7. Basically, it's this: the wound was taking forever to heal, but there was no infection or anything. My nurse (her name is Joy, and she's awesome) recommended that we put a wound vac on it in order to speed the recovery process. One end of the wound vac is a flat disc with a piece of custom cut foam attached to the back of it. The nurse measures the wound, cuts the foam to fit into the wound, and tapes the disc and foam to the wound. Attached to the disc is a long tube, which is attached to the other end of the contraption, which is seen above and here-->

The nurse came and "installed" the wound vac last week. She told me, "You will be amazed at how well this thing works, and it will work fast, but you're going to HATE it before it's all over."

No joke. She put it on me on Thursday and by Saturday afternoon I was more frustrated than I have been in weeks. The pack is little, but it's unbelieveably weird to be 100% attached to a little machine at all times. Everything I do is hindered by or affected by the wearing o' the machine. It might seem like no big deal, but I am beginning to wonder about the psychological affects of being dependent upon a machine: how do people in wheel chairs feel? How do people who are hooked up to ventilators or other vital machines feel? Especially those adults who end up having to be attached after an accident or late onset of illness-- because they aren't used to it. Now, for me, the end is in sight, but what about those people who have no idea how long they will be dependent upon a machine of some kind?

Being attached to a machine that is working for your good, but from which you are never parted (day and night), can feel claustrophobic. Even though the walls aren't closing in on you, you are restricted as far as where you can go, or how easily you can go or get there.

Really, you can go anywhere with the wound vac. It can be unplugged and slung over your shoulder like a purse (sorta like a purse). It's very light and pretty small. Thing is, there is this tubing that will occasionally have a small burst of urine-colored fluid coming from... well... somewhere on your person... into the bag. It's draining the wound using negative pressure (drawing fluids up through the tissues to help the regeneration of new tissue)-- and this leads to the "percolating" sound... as the fluid flows through the tubing, it's deposited into a cannister. Yeah, nice. Fortunately, it's all encased in the black "purse" and you can't see a thing. Except the tubing.

Today, the nurse was excited to pronounce the wound nearly healed-- she's thinking I'll be off the wound vac by Friday (YES!!!). Bless the Lord. And Wanda, the Wound Vac.

On the home stretch to being restored, physically. It feels good, but a little sad, too. The end of this chapter sort of closes the end of the physical chapter of pregnancy with Ben.

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