Just got back from a trip to the clinic to have my dressings changed and drains examined. My right drain has slowed down a lot the last few days although the left is still producing abundantly and still leaking. The nurse examined the drains and reviewed the spreadsheet where I record the output every time the bulbs are emptied. For two consecutive days the right drain has had less than 20 cc’s so the nurse said she could remove it for me. It was like being told I just won the lottery. She lay me down on the examining table which was very uncomfortable. Lying flat is almost impossible as the pressure on my chest is still too much to handle. Fortunately I had my handy dandy breast pillow with me for the car ride so I was able to use it to prop myself up a bit. My relationship with this pillow is like the relationship Linus has with his blanket. It goes everywhere with me and serves a myriad of purposes. It has become an extra appendage and one that still has full mobility …unlike my arms.
The nurse removed the dressing around the drainage site which was uncomfortable but not “painful”. She had a hard time getting her scissors under the sutures in order to cut them to release the drain. That, DID hurt. I felt myself gripping the side of the table as she said ” Ok, Patti, I have cut the sutures and am now going to pull out your drain. I need you to take two deep breaths and on the third I want you to breath in deeply while I pull.” My heart was racing with the anticipation. One…two…three…PULL! The drain came out easily. What a relief. She asked if I wanted to look at the part that had been inside my chest. “Of course, let me see the thing that has been aggravating me for the last 9 days.” The part of the tube that sits inside your chest is about six inches long and 1/2 inch wide. It is white and has a series of holes along the sides that the fluid seeps into and then makes its way out through the two foot long clear tubes that hang outside your body attached to the bulbs that are emptied several times a day. Lovely is it not?!
The relief of pressure is very noticeable on my right side and now there are no pointy sutures poking into my arm every time I move. It is a WONDERFUL feeling. I’m sipping bubbly celebrating. It may only be sparkling water but I’m pretending its Dom Perignon.
I am hopeful that in the next few days my left drain will slow down and can then be removed too. And what does that milestone mean? It means that when I am drain free I can SHOWER and move about without the fear of my tubes catching on something. It means that I don’t have to “milk” my tubes and measure and record the “output” morning, noon and night and it means I don’t have to look like a marsupial with secret pouches in all my clothes.
Today is a banner day. My spirits have been lifted. I have some relief in at least half my chest and I feel like things are moving forward in my healing process.
Today is totally TUBE-ular!
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.