Menu Close

Staph Infection After Surgery: What You Need to Know

Recovering from a a staph infection picked up after surgery on his g-tube site.

Staph Infection After Surgery: What You Need to Know

When Apollo was in the emergency room and they opened his surgical incision they took a sample from the infected area. They confirmed that he has a staph infection at the surgical site.

It has been a long, slow recovery for Apollo. I am happy to say that today, nine days after surgery, he is finally feeling good.

Recovering from a a staph infection picked up after surgery on his g-tube site.

Suspect a Staph Infection After Surgery? Follow Your Gut.

I cannot believe the amount of pain Apollo endured without painkillers (he has them now). Rarely have I felt less listened to by medical staff than this recent experience with a staph infection. It makes me so angry that I called down twice concerned about pain, fever, redness, and swelling after surgery and was told it was nothing to be worried about. I am so glad I chose to follow my gut rather than the doctor who told me it could wait.

The staph infection must have started right away. I have been taking photos of the incision every day (mostly on my iPhone) so I could track the healing. It turned out to be fortuitous when it became infected. I was able to show the doctor at Children’s a day by day view of his healing (or not healing).

Packing a Wound After a Staph Infection

When we were in the ER the doctor told us to give him a bath on Tuesday to soften the gauze and then remove it. Bring him back to be seen in the clinic next week. That seemed pretty straightforward…at 2 AM after a long, stressful night.

In the light of day, on Tuesday morning? Those directions seemed much less clear. Add to that a helpful blog reader who told me her daughter went through nearly the exact same thing earlier this year. Part of her comment read, “Be cautious with the unpacking – MAKE them give pain meds and take it slowly – DD is pretty stoic but that (unpacking/repacking) was very very hard on her.”

Make them give him pain meds?! I was supposed to do this at home! After a bit of googling, I decided I would subcontract this particular job out to our family doctor. I was able to get him an appointment for later that afternoon.

Do Not Attempt This At Home

It’s a good thing I did. On the advice of Erin, I gave Apollo hydrocode (Vicoden) before we left the house for his appointment. Having his wound unpacked was scary and painful. Even more painful was getting it repacked. Because when the doctor looked at the wound he decided it needed to be repacked. Huh? What was I supposed to do at home? Grab a skein of yarn and stuff it in his abdomen?

Repacking the wound means it now needs to be unpacked again. He has an appointment to be seen down at Children’s tomorrow. Thankfully Chuck has the day off so we can go together.

Follow Up Protocol for a Staph Infection After Surgery

Poor Apollo. The process is scary and painful. Honestly, its the stuff horror movies are made of. What does a six-year-old think of an open surgical wound packed with gauze? I’ll tell you what he thinks, its scary and gross and he doesn’t want to look at it.

I am hoping that tomorrow we will learn more about what the ongoing treatment plan is. Apollo has missed seven days of school so far and I’m not even sure he’ll be able to go back on Monday.

I am just happy to see that his fever is gone and he is feeling better.

{In order to help other people in our situation, I took pictures of the staph infection and healing. Warning: some of these are graphic,  so don’t click on the post if you have a weak stomach.}



  1. Tanya

    Poor guy…been there and done that. I was 14 but it didn’t make unpacking and repacking and seeing an incision that looked like my intestines might start coming out of it any better. He must be a real trooper…he had to have felt awful. So glad you went with your gut and took him in, and so upset at all you had to go through. Every doctor and nurse should know the signs of staph infection and he had classic presentation. And it is sadly relatively common after surgery so should not have taken them by surprise. Shame on them…

  2. Melpub

    In the long run, with parents like you, Apollo will probably become a very compassionate person. But I say, get a doctor who focuses! Who listens ! Who is not too busy! Whose words make you feel like he has really observed Apollo, not just what he thinks is probably going on based on some medical text he read ten years ago.

    • Renee

      Here’s the deal though, it isn’t a single doctor! We had never met the surgeon who did this last operation until the day of surgery (Chuck didn’t meet him until we were in the ER and he happened to be on call). The ER doctors we hadn’t met before, of course. We have doctors we love. Our family doctor (who repacked it on Tuesday). He ALWAYS listens to me. The pulmonologist and GI doctor listen to me. Unfortunately, none of them were involved with this last surgery (except the GI doctor who referred him for surgery).

  3. Erin

    I had a staph and uterine infection after a c-section. It hurt and I felt so sick. And I’m an adult. The poor little guy. He’s the last person who needs a complication after surgery.
    Will pray that this doesn’t reignite his anxiety and that God uses it to strengthen him.

    • Renee

      Thank you, Erin. This seems especially bad because he was so BRAVE and trusting before the surgery, walking by himself to the ER, climbing up on the table himself…I hope his anxiety doesn’t return…he has missed nearly two weeks of school and it is always hard for him to return after a long absence.

  4. R Gug

    This child has been through so much. He must be destined for greatness! I mean, ALL of our children are destined for greatness in their own way but this child – I would be surprised if he didn’t have some world or at least country impact in his lifetime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.