Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Who's got two thumbs and no more JP drains? This kid - that's who!

So, funny thing - for the last couple of weeks since my mastectomy on June 4th, I've had drains lodged in both sides of my chest draining what to the untrained eye appears to be pure nasty.

Well, maybe this isn't really a funny "ha-ha" story - but bare with me.

Ok - it's hard to rock paper gowns and JP drains. Even with "duck face".
For those of you unfamiliar with this particular medical marvel, Jackson-Pratt or JP drains look a little like a rubber grenade attached to a long flexible straw, are held in place by a suture and are a short term option to remove extra blood and fluid after a surgery. They work by using mild suction and were particularly important in my case because after my first surgery, I started to bleed again and had to be taken back to OR to remove a hematoma.

But, while very important, these drains are a pain to deal with - both literally and figuratively. They make it difficult to take a shower - one hand has to hold the grenades, they have to be stripped of blood clots and emptied regularly (kudos to my non-medical mother who literally had to suppress gag reflexes in order to bravely do this for me when I was too weak to help. And also to my super amazing husband for not only not making me feel self conscious about the whole "fem-bot" look I am sporting these days but also made me giggle by making weird fart sounds when he emptied them. What can I say? I'm easily amused. And that guy can be seriously hilarious.) They also require one to wear a special camisole with pockets on the sides for the grenades which I can only describe as "geriatric chic".

So today, I met with my plastic surgeon again and he finally took them out. (He and his nurse also oohed and awed over how great his handiwork was coming along. Having relative strangers oogle my sort-of breasts would have been weird two months ago - but these days, I'm used to it. I'm also used to having breast "mug-shot" photos done from every angle possible. Weirdly, I always end of smiling for these. Note to Robin and Jenny: I've thankfully managed to refrain from making any "you're a tiger references" thus far) Taking the drains out hurt a bit - they were laced up and around my expanders and Chris said you could see them just sort of snake out when they were pulled. My mom said she was glad she wasn't there to witness this because she probably would have hit the floor. I don't doubt this. Removing the drains looked exactly like this:

Well, I had my eyes closed, but I'm fairly certain that's how it went. But the point is - I feel so much better now that those dang drains are out. I can breathe, I can move a little easier, heck, I might even try laying on my side tonight. I know, I know - let's not go too crazy. But it feels awfully good just to feel good tonight. So thanks, doc - keep up the good work!