17 days after the VAC dressing was fitted, and 20 days after surgery, it’s time for it to come off. 

All Ready for the Final Change

I had known for a few days that this change was to be the final one and the plan was to fit a new dressing, keep it on for the weekend and then get the practice nurse to remove it on Monday and apply a regular dressing. 

I had been in contact with my surgical care practitioner to let her know that she didn’t need to provide any more supplies as I would be able to continue using the same canister and had enough drapes and gauze. 

What Does The Wound Look Like

When removing the dressing and gauze, there was a not insignificant amount of blood.  I’ve since learned that this is due to the wound becoming more vascular as it heals. The wound is still sizeable, doesn’t look nice but is shallow so the VAC has been doing its job well. 

Feeling brave? This is how it looks 17 days after the VAC dressing was fitted and 20 days after surgery.  

Click to view image
Still raw around the wound and despite it’s appearance, the surgical care practitioner thinks now is the time to remove the VAC

The Change

After removing the current dressing which the previous nurse had managed to stick in every crevice she could find, the nurse worked her was through the steps of applying Cavlon, Atrauman and Gauze and then whilst the drape was about to be attached I realised that whilst I thought I had everything, I didn’t have the most important bit, the soft port to attach to the machine!

This isn’t something that you can easily source from a pharmacy so the decision was made to cover up the wound completely and then I would try and source the soft port from the hospital. 

I sent a message to my surgical care practitioner with the bad news along with the latest photo of the wound and then headed off to the hospital. I’d almost made it to the hospital when she called and based on how the wound is looking she said I may as well stop using the VAC now! I was finally free from the machine! 

I’m free!

What Next?

The dressing that had been applied would remain for the remainder of the day and the district nurse is due to return tomorrow to apply a regular dressing. Beyond that it will be back to regular dressing changes with the practice nurse (I’m sure they’ll look forward to having Hotel Chocolat again!) and based on how it’s currently looking it’s going to be many weeks before it’s fully healed.

Strangely, the wound does a lot more sore both when sitting and standing compared to when the soft port was attached so I don’t know if that was providing some form of cushioning/protection.

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Diagnosed with IBD in 2002, I have experienced the usual ups and downs of having a chronic disease and tried numerous medications but the time finally came in 2018 to elect to have surgery to improve my life.

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