Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14, 2011

Well.... The bad news..... I still have the drain coming out of my belly, and it is still acting as a short leash. Where the tube enters is an open wound after all, and dressings need to be changed twice daily along with medications to prevent microscopic creatures from mounting a successful attack. I am still on restricted activity, and need to stay close to my doctor.

The good news...... I am becoming an expert on the operation and maintenance of a JP drain. However, I am fairly sure that this new skill will not land me a high paying job in the health care industry.

The rant that follows is probably more than anyone wants to know about this particular subject, but it is all that I have to report. I am not complaining, but it is an example of some of the disruptive issues that follow a major surgery.... Not life threatening, but quietly overwhelms your plans and cannot be ignored.

This drain is a result of a surgery to repair a problem caused by a surgery to repair a hernia that was caused by my cancer surgery in Oct. 2009.

The drain was originally due to come out 2 weeks after surgery, giving my body a second chance to heal around the mesh that is holding me together. The drain is supposed to prevent a build up of fluid, which, if allowed, prevents the layers of my belly from healing together. Apparently my body still thinks that “mesh” is a foreign object, and is still flooding the area with fluid.

The key, it seems, is the amount of fluid produced. Apparently, the drain tube itself is an irritant, and causes some fluid to be produced. The doc says that we remove the drain when the fluid output is reduced to 30 ml per day. Currently, I am producing between 40 and 50 ml per day, down from 50 to 70 ml per day 3 weeks ago.

At first, the drain tube was stitched into place with a fairly heavy duty thread. My body was trying to expel the foreign object, but the stitch held fast. At about the 3 week mark, the thread deteriorated and let go. I managed to keep the tube in place with careful use of various tapes. The trick, I found is to find a tape that holds, but does not remove skin when removed.... It is a delicate balance to say the least.

For those of you still reading.... there is a punch line ahead.

My plan, now that we are into a new year of deductibles, was to wait for the proper time, pull the drain out, declare that it happened while sleeping, and save myself the cost an office visit.

While working on a clog, (a fairly common problem) I was trying to work the tube in and out a bit to help clear it, but it wouldn’t budge. I discovered that my body, though it seems to repel necessary repair mesh, has embraced the drain tube, and has become one with the tube. It just keeps getting better and better.

I have a call in to the doctor regarding this latest development.