Saturday, May 13, 2017

And Then It All Went Wrong Again...

The next morning, we discovered that the drain that as coming out of my armpit was clogged, or at the very least, not draining as well as intended.  We actually discovered it the night before, and the physician's assistant that worked for my surgeon came by to look at it.  There had been a conversation that I didn't completely understand about something called a binder.  I didn't know what a binder was.  They discussed the fact that they couldn't get one until the following day, and then they rounded up an ace bandage for me.

They took the ace bandage and wrapped it around my chest over the incision and where the drain was at.  The idea was that if they put pressure on the drain area, it might make it drain better.  There was a swelling underneath the back side of my armpit from the fluids that were not draining, and it was becoming uncomfortable.  Mind you, it didn't hurt.  It just felt big and in the way.

There were many adventures that came with morning.  Snow was one of them.  It began to snow in the middle of the night and school was cancelled.  Great, that would give my son time to sit around and worry about me.  That didn't make me happy.  I knew that my husband had opted to go to work that day, since I was not home.  He wanted to save all of his vacation time to be at home and help take care of me when I arrived.  So, I could worry about him driving around in the weather.  I could worry that my son would be home worrying about me.  All kinds of wonderful things to worry about.

The next on the list of my worries was the nurse that came in to take some blood.  She tried, but she could not manage to get blood from my veins.  I have horrible veins for extracting blood.  I've had trouble my whole life, and it doesn't seem to be getting any easier with age.  The first nurse caused me a lot of pain, which she felt badly about.  The second nurse got the job done, but it still hurt me quite a bit.  Go figure.  The mastectomy didn't hurt, but drawing blood was horribly painful.  That's just my world.  I'm sure no one else lives in that surreal bit of reality.

The snow stopped.  That was good.  I got to see Live With Kelly, since I had channel 3 for CBS.  The nurses helped me walk around some.  They helped me in and out of the bed because of the massaging cuffs when I wanted to go to the bathroom.  The nutritionist, or whatever she was came in to get my food orders for the day.  The physician's assistant came in to check on my drain.

The physician's assistant brought the thing that they were calling a binder the night before.  I almost laughed when I saw it.  It was a tube top.  Like from the 1970's.  It did have Velcro up the back so that you didn't have to pull it up from your ankles or down over your head, but it was still a tube top.  It had a floral design on it, I guess to make it look cute.  So the whole idea was to Velcro this thing around my chest to put pressure on the drain area and make the fluids come out.  Simple by design, but it seemed that it should be effective.

The binder didn't hurt.  The physician's assistant said that the surgeon would come and check on it for me later in the day.  That all made sense to me.  Everyone then cleared out of my room and left me to rest and watch CBS.

A little while later my breast cancer navigator came in to visit with me.  She brought a whole bunch of surprises.  She had with her a shirt that was designed especially for mastectomy patients that had easy access and a lot of Velcro.  It made it easy for single or double mastectomy patients to get in and out of, change dressings, check things, and it even had a pocket for the drain.  It was pretty cool, and it was made from some of the softest material I ever felt.  Not bad.

The other thing that the navigator brought was a care package designed by a group of ladies that were all breast cancer survivors in a town not far away.  They had all been through my experience, and they got together and designed a kit of sorts that had all the things that would help keep you comfortable for the recovery period.  There were little pillows which I still use, and all sorts of things.  I used almost everything in the kit through the experience at one point or another.  I sent them a nice thank you note down the road a little.  They do great work, and it's all volunteer.  They even make the little pillows.

By the time my mother in law and my son came to visit and brought me cookies, I was feeling pretty good about my situation.  I still didn't hurt, except for where they'd drawn blood.  I'd taken several walks during the day.  I was feeling pretty good, all things considered.  My husband came to visit me that night.  It was nice to see him.  He was worried about me, but I kept telling him that it wasn't that bad.  I'm sure that sounded to him like I was trying to soothe him, but I really didn't feel that bad, all things considered.

One thing that I can say about having a mastectomy.  It's not as bad as you think.  I can't believe I'm saying that, but I am.  By my second night, I settled in for a good sleep and was feeling fine under the circumstances.  The surgeon never came to check up on  me.  The physician's assistant did, and said everything looked fine.  I could still feel the pressure where the swelling was at.  I knew that something wasn't right, but I was too tired to check into it or argue about it.  I had cookies, a good book, and CBS.  It would be all right.

I didn't have any trouble sleeping, so how bad could it be?

For anyone who is wondering, it didn't stay this easy.  There will be trials and tribulations coming up in this story.  For anyone who has been following and thinking that it's a piece of cake, we haven't gotten to the bad stuff yet.  There is some bad stuff to come, but I want to tell you how I dealt with it so hopefully it can be of help to someone going through this.

Coming in the next few entries you will see that there were things that I wasn't told about that I should probably have been told about.  There were things that everyone should know, but no one mentions.  It can get frustrating, and you will see what I mean.

The day after surgery ended on an easy note.  I actually got some sleep.