day seven: drain away

Warning: For those with a weak stomach, or are yet to eat breakfast, you might want to skim read the next four paragraphs.

I haven’t gone into too much detail about the aftermath of surgery, by that I mean my physical appearance. Some people take photos of themselves post surgery, not me. I know it makes some people feel uncomfortable. So unless you’ve come to visit, you wouldn’t have known that I’ve had four drains coming out of me. – two on each side. I thought it would be confronting seeing tubes coming out of my skin, more confronting than seeing my breasts removed (you know I’m a little strange…) but it hasn’t been. It can, on the other hand, be a little off-putting for others – some friends had no problem telling me this (I’m looking at you, Michael… ) other friends may have though it, but didn’t say anything.

If you’re on my Facebook you would have known that two drains were removed on Tuesday, and the other two were due to be removed today, signalling home time. Dr O has always been adamant that she doesn’t like to leave the drains in longer than a week. The risk of infection from having open wounds outweighs the benefit of draining away a extra few mls. So I’ve always felt quite certain that I would be going home after a week. Which is today.

When Dr O visited yesterday she hinted that if the rate of drainage continued at a high rate – my left was 180 mls Tuesday and then 100 mls yesterday, she may push things one more day. As of yesterday there was 50/50 chance things could go either way. The alternative would be to have a small drain inserted under ultrasound (to avoid piercing the expander) and monitor at home.

I woke up this morning as they were changing the bags from the remaining two drains. The nurse saw me looking closely at the number line, trying to work out how much was in each bag. 50 mls on the left, 40 mls on the right – still decreasing significantly during the 24-hour period. I’ve heard from other friends, who have been through this, and 30 mls is usually the magic number. My gut was telling me I was going to be here one more day. I hope I haven’t confused you all…

My surgeon, Dr P was the first one to stop by this morning. He walked in as I was discussing the chance of going home with the nurse. He asked the numbers, she told him, he then looked at me and make a big ‘zero’ with his thumb and forefinger. He’s not one for subtlety.

Then Dr O arrived, in all her glamour – she is one of the best dressed women I know. She mentioned the numbers from each side (I pretended to not know) and said, ‘Let’s get you out of here!’ WHAT! I was shocked. I was convinced she would stretch it out one more day. She is happy with the progress and not concerned of any complications that may arise. She briefed me on how to manage the dressings until I see her next week, and what to look out for. She’s even given me clearance to go for a walk around the block (she obviously hasn’t known about my double laps).

So now I sit here (YES I’m sitting at the desk – it’s the most civilised I’ve felt all week!) writing my last blog from hospital. All drains have been removed, I am free from my cannula, and I am showered and wearing normal clothes again. This morning was the first time the mirror in the bathroom steamed up, I didn’t want to get out. That one shower washed away all the frustrations and challenges from the past week – my world is now right again.

I’ve been down for a coffee and I’ve purchased a thank you card for the girls who have looked after me – signed off ‘Your Speedy Walker’. Bags are packed and Mother is on her way to collect me.

It’s time to check out.

Surgery number one. Tick.

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