I had another appoinment with Dr. Elliott this afternoon. His nurse took off all the tape over all my incisions front and back and took out the drain in my right breast. The engineering entailed in these drains is really rather amazing. They work on a primitive vaccuum principle. The last 6 inches or so that was inside my body had evenly spaced perforations. There is a long thin flexible tube that spans the space between that and a bulb about the size of a hand grenade. There is a little flip top on the top of the bulb through which the serous fluid, blood and tissue or white cells is emptied every 6 hours or so.
Once the drains have been milked into the bulb, then that substance is emptied into a graduated plastic cup with the same number as the bulb is marked with and the amount is then noted on a sheet. When drainage is less than 25 ccs in a 24 hour period, that’s when the drains can come out.
After the bulb is emptied, then it is compressed in on itself so that it is concave. This is where the slight vaccuum effect comes from.
The drainage also changes color. The less bleeding there is, the more yellowish the fluid. Right now mine looks like ruby grapefruit juice. In the beginning it looked like a nice Cabernet.
I also found out that the stringy matter in the drains that I mentioned yesterday is either tissue or white cells that have died in service to the immune system. A little scarrier option is that they could be clots.
The sensation of having barbed wire scraped through my armpits was also explained to me. I had presumed that the tunnell under my skin would be small. It isn’t. It’s the width of my underarm area. The nerves are still very, very raw from the tunnelling, which explains why some asshole is scraping me occasionally with a barbed wire saw.
*** END GRAPHIC CONTENT***
After the tape came off, Dr. Elliott came in and poked around. The flaps still look amazing and he’s very pleased with the results. I had a bit of trepidation though. Where the tape had been over the suture lines, there were a couple black spots. Those of you who have read my first entry will understand why this is unnerving. I was reassured that the black spots were only scabbing. There is absolutely of indication of necrosis. Indication of that would be darkening bruises and hardening or blackened skin. I have none of that. My bruises are lightening significantly to a lovely shade of spring green and light brown. So necrosis isn’t anything I need to worry about anymore.
From this point on, the tape gets changed once a week on Wednesday and I can shower with it on. What the tape does is to keep the incision scars from becoming thick and ropy by pressuring them to heal flat.