Dissolving stitches and surgical glue

Richard - kmcrcd@hotmail.com

Posted 2008-05-18

I want to give those who are thinking or planning on having this surgery my own personal story so that it may help you if you do go through with it.

I was in a major car accident in 2003 and 2005 and after the 2005 accident I went to my orthopedic numerous times for pain. He tried therapy which was a joke, then massages which felt great, but 5 minutes later more pain. He then recommended injections. So, I not knowing any better I took the advice and he started giving me injections. Those hurt badly. The injections would kill the nerves in my lower back and cause more pain then before.

I stopped the injections in 2006 and went on with life. About a year later in 2007 I started have pain when I would get up and after riding to and from work I could barely get out of the car.

I did more research and went to another orthopedic. He told me to touch the place where it hurts. I did. He said that's your coccyx. I had never heard of the term. He said I needed to get an x-ray to see what the problem may be. Turns out I have a broken coccyx. He said that most, upwards in 90% range of orthopedics and doctors don't tell you the truth about the coccyx because it's an area they don't want to deal with. They don't want to examine this particular area on the body, so you may get all kinds of wrong diagnosis.

So, after long discussion with my orthopedic I decide on having the surgery. Let me first tell you that it's been a total nightmare.

Surgery date was 3 March 2008 and had to be at the hospital early. Surgery seemed to go well and my family had been there the whole time. About an hour in surgery and then an hour and half later I was released to go home. So, I go home on antibiotics and pain meds (hydrocodone) and told to take it easy and I would need to be out of work 3-4 weeks.

Great, I laid on the couch on my side or stomach. The incision was closed with dissolving stitches and surgical glue. What a mistake. After the second week the surgical glue came off and the incision started draining. OK, I thought that was normal and called the nurse and yeah, it' s normal. So, a few days go by and I wake up in the middle of the night with it bleeding, so I go to the bathtub as I didn't know what else to do as the blood was coming out so fast. I stood there in the bathtub with blood running down my legs. I finally got a towel and applied pressure to it. My family was upstairs and it was 3 am, so I just laid in the floor on my stomach for the rest of the night.

The next morning 8 April 2008 I called the nurse who told me to rush over there. Well, it's kind of hard to rush when your bleeding and have to get someone to drive you and believe me it was painful. When I got there I told the person at check in that I needed to see my orthopedic surgeon immediately. They thought I was crazy. I told them if not then you will have a big mess in the floor from the blood.

Well, I go back there and the surgeon looks at it and says "yeah, it's bleeding alright". He told me he needs to schedule emergency surgery the next morning to go back in and make sure no infections and to stitch up the incision with real stitches this time.

So, now we are in this one full month later and I'm starting over again. I get there early on 9 April 2008 and go through this a second time, except this time I was in recovery over 7 hours due to the anesthesia. My oxygen level kept falling and I would stop breathing when I would fall asleep. So, they kept me overnight.

I was released the next day 10 April 2008. So, now I think I can finally heal and get back to life. Not so fast. The incision seemed to do fine until 16 April, it started draining and it was excessive amounts of blood and yuck looking stuff. I call back over and speak with the nurse who tells me to come back over. I went back on 17 April and the orthopedic surgeon now says it's infected and bleeding too much. They then decide to admit me to the hospital and they wanted to try to hook up a wound vac to it. This would have sucked all the blood and bacteria out, but they couldn't do that due to the location and the size of the holes from the incision.

So, the infectious disease team took culture samples to determine what kind of infection it was while I was in the hospital waiting on the test to come back. During this time they decided to pack the incision with some type of gauze. This was very painful as I had to be given morphine prior to packing it. They just clean it up a little and then dip gauze in some saline and ram it in the hole. Ouch. it hurt so, so bad. I was given antibiotic through an IV this time and the pain medication just had my body all out of order. At first I was unable to have a bowel movement due to the pain meds, then the antibiotic gave me diarrhea.

On 21 April the infections team told me that the infection was due to a combination of E coli and that the infection got into the bone meaning osteomyeolitis. They said the E coli could have come from anywhere. During the surgery or from myself, but I doubt it was myself as I had 3 bowel movements in 3 weeks and I would wipe going down, not up as I knew that was the wrong thing to do. I do admit I did get in the bathtub after bowel movements as I didn't feel clean, so that may have been a factor.

So, I was sent home on 22 April and told to not work for 2 weeks. Well, I'm at 10 May 2008 and still the incision is 2 cm. deep and I have stitches in it still from the 9 April 2008 surgery as well as I have to take the antibiotic through an IV until 21 June 2008, that means an IV that runs through my arm and the catheter from the IV then goes near the heart so that the antibiotic well work.

I have a hospital bed in my living room as all my beds are upstairs and the doctors prefer I don't go up steps. I have a home health care nurse who comes once a week to take blood and check on things, but as far as giving the antibiotic and packing the incision, my family does that.

Let me just say that I'm not sorry I had this done. I'm more frustrated at the little information that's out there. I also don't feel like the surgeons realize that this is such a major surgery. They should spend more time keeping you in the hospital to give proper care because it's very hard to know what's going on when you can't even see it. I think all the surgeons should use real stitches and should stitch it up good so it's not left with holes for bacteria or anything to get in.

I'm on the way to recovering finally, still another 4-6 weeks should do it, but for those planning on doing it..make sure you have friends and family there to help you. Also, have the surgery like in the winter when there is nothing to do. Sitting inside all spring is a downer or it is for me. I like being outside and can't.

I thought it was really weird to see how a couple postings on here had people who got better and went back to work after the 2nd or 3rd week and I'm like 3-4 months out of work. Guess they had proper stitches or something.

Good luck to those with current and future coccyx removals.


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