We've never brought Martha Grace home so soon from after an Operation. Her scars have always more or less healed over by the time we've been discharged so wound care hasn't been our sole responsibility before.
When we brought Martha home in September 2013 she was prescribes a week's course of antibiotics because they suspected she might be brewing an infection, but luckily we caught it in time and it never progressed.
Infection from a wound can be fatal for Heart Babies, should it enter her blood stream it has the potential to travel to her Heart and we could end up with Endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart)
Wound's should heal in two/three weeks, the sutures will dissolve under the skin but we needed to take Martha to our GP to have her chest drain stitches removed. It is so important to keep the wound and thearea of skin surrounding the wound clean. We weren't allowed to bathe Martha until she had her chest drain stitches removed, one did bleed a bit so we waited until the following night to give Martha a bath - even then it was only in shallow water.
The wound shouldn't be soaked until all the scabs have gone, but it should be washed gently with mild unscented soap (or diluted baby bubble bath) and a soft clean sponge/flannel.
If you suspect your child's wound may becoming infected please please - contact your Surgical team at your Heart Hospital and follow their advice immediately, contact your GP and your Cardiac Nurse Practitioner. The signs that you should look out for are:-
- Your child is generally unwell
- They have a high temperature of 38 degrees or more
- The site is redder than before and the redness has spread around the wound
- The site feels hotter than the surrounding skin
- The site is oozing a clear or creamy fluid
- Your child is complaining of pain and the site is sensitive to touch
You know your child, if your instinct tells you that something isn't quite right - trust it! Your Nurse will go through all of this with you when your child is discharged, but it's a kind of a "head's up" if you've never been through it before but will in the near future.
Martha Grace is concious of her scar and is aware that something hurt her there, we try not to draw too much attention to it and we always ask her first if we can take a look. Up to now it's healing beautifully and we hope it will fade to become a neat silver line.