After a long 17 days of drain management, my drains were finally removed.
I had two Jackson-Pratt style drain bulbs attached to the two drain tubes extending from below my breasts. Each tube was internally wrapped around the full outer edge of the expanders, and the tubes extended probably 18″ from my body, each with a 100ml capacity bulb to hold the lymph and blood that was being pulled from my body. The drain tubes were sutured to my body to anchor them in place.
Each day I had to ‘milk the lines,’ by pressing the fluid down the tubes and into the bulb, then measure the total output of the fluid, close the bulb partly squished to create a bit of suction.
I was scheduled to have the drains removed at day 16. I called to tell the nurses that my output seemed high to me, ranging from 50-90 mls per 24 hours, and they cancelled my appointment, stating that output needed to be below 35ml. Three hours after cancelling my appointment, I received a panicked phone call that I needed to come in the next morning and have the tubes removed, citing the risk of infection being too high, so tubes needed to come out. The nurse said they don’t like to go beyond 14 days. I was only on antibiotics for 10 days. Oops.
With the drain tubes out, not only do I not have to worry about the weight, the pulling, the hiding of these cumbersome tubes and bulbs, but a huge amount of pressure and discomfort in my chest was immediately released.