Karen Collins

First post: Aug 20, 2022 Latest post: Aug 25, 2022
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

On Tuesday, August 9th Karen went in for a routine laparoscopic hysterectomy. Everything went well and she was released the same day. She went home to recover. By Thursday, she just wasn’t feeling right. Her pain was getting worse and they decided to take her to the ER. At the ER they ran several tests and initially determined that she may have both an abscess on the vaginal cuff and also some issues with her bowel, possibly an obstruction. They then decided that the thing they thought was an abscess was actually a common side effect of this type of surgery that presents on a CT scan as an abscess but is not one. So, they decided not to treat it and just keep an eye on it. In the meantime, Karen’s pain was still getting worse. Oftentimes after surgery, the area can fill with some gas and cause discomfort. It is also common for the bowel to take a few days to “wake-Up”. They admitted her to the hospital and went with the approach of watching and trying to make her comfortable. Usually, the bowel will start to work on its own. They gave her medication to try to encourage it to work. However, after a few days, she was still very uncomfortable and full of gas and pressure. 

Then things just took a strange turn. Her small bowel became involved as well as her stomach and bladder. All areas were filling up with fluid and they could not figure out why. They still felt that she may have a bowel obstruction. In the meantime, Karen has had little nutrition and has become very weak. She has blown out several IVs and has not been allowed to eat. They finally got a PICC line in on Thursday and can give her nutrients though it. She has had an NG tube for several days to relieve the gas pressure in her abdomen and siphon out anything from her bowel.They have done several types of tests and still do not know what is going on. The abscess has grown and now they believe it to be an actual abscess. So, they are treating that with strong broad-spectrum antibiotics. Her white blood cell count is high and she keeps spiking a fever. 

So, fast forward to yesterday. Friday August 19th. The surgeon decided to go in and explore. He found that her bowel had several adhesions and was also tacky and sticky inside. They have no idea why. There was no obstruction found and he cleaned everything up as best he could to try and promote the bowel to function properly. In addition, he was able to clean out the infected abscess a little bit and inserted a tube to help it drain. 

So, where we are now is that Karen’s abscess is being treated. We are hoping the antibiotics will clear that up and then there will be one less thing to worry about. BUT – they still do not know why her bowel is not working or why there are adhesions. Her bowel has been non-functioning for several days and is now considered to be “paralyzed”. They do not know why the various areas are continually filling with fluid. The main concern is that something is wrong, and they cannot figure out what or why. Meanwhile, she is very weak and now recovering from last night’s procedure as well.  

She has an OBGYN, Gastro, General surgeon and nuclear medicine all working together to try to figure this all out. What is happening is a 1 in a million scenario. We appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers and will continue to update this site as often as we gain new knowledge. 

Today the doctors are saying that they DO hear some slight bowel sounds, so that is promising. They are letting her try a liquid diet and she is excited to see how it goes. She has been up and walking around and is keeping a positive attitude! Please send any notes or comments for Karen through this site and she will be able to read them when she’s able. Thank you from her family.