Today I'll explain the biggest current pain in my neck...the JP drains. These drains are a necessary evil, because they carry the post-op fluids out of my body. If the drain is pulled to early, it could cause a seroma (sp) that would need constantly drained with a needle frequently, because my body would not be able to absorb all of the extra fluids. So yes, I get why it must stay. Yes, I understand that it's for the best. And yes, I now feel that I've typed enough that the squeamish folks could have clicked away without accidentally seeing anything.
Four times per day, I deal with these stupid things. There are two long tubes that come out of my body from my left side, and the long tubes each end in a bulb. The bulb is to be squeezed tightly and then capped, which keeps constant, gentle suction on the drain. Four times per day, I uncap the bulb, drain the fluid into a cup with measuring lines on the side, and strip the hose from where it exits my body down to the tube.
This last step is to make sure there are no clogs. It's difficult to strip it without pulling, and pulling HURTS. I'm learning to pinch with one hand and use the other hand to strip the hose. Whatever. Since I already showed a picture of the drains leaving my body, I didn't do that again today. It's the second image on this entry, although the coloring of my skin looks better now.
So I head into the restroom and get the drains ready. As usual, drain one is nearly empty and drain two is full. It hates me.
Next, I get my lovely measuring cups out (don't worry if you ever come here for dinner...I don't use THOSE measuring cups,) and empty the contents from the bulbs into the cups. I could empty drain #1 only once per day since it's so slow, but I always do it when I do the other. Heck, I'm in there anyway.
Then, as you can see by the above image, I've squeezed the air out again (and stripped the hoses, see how empty they are?) and it's time to read the amounts from the sides of the cup. Then, I can tuck them away in these discreet little pouches, which Velcro to the bottom of my bra. Yes, very discreet. That's not obvious at ALL! Here they are:
The only way these aren't obvious is if I'm wearing a big ol' sweatshirt over my T shirt, and even then they aren't completely hidden. This is the reason that, even if I felt amazing (I do NOT) I wouldn't return to work until the drains are gone. Walking around with extra lumps, stopping to measure and log fluids, etc, etc. No thanks.
Finally I log the drain amounts on the document in hopes of seeing the amounts drop (they are NOT dropping.) When drain two gets below 30 cc per day, it can come out. It put out 50 cc this morning (I slept longer than usual, but still!) so it's not coming out any time soon. See?
I want with ALL of my being to NOT do radiation. That would delay my reconstruction by as much as a year. Chemo only slows it down a bit. Whatever the plan is, let's get it moving.