|Rockhound State Park, New Mexico|
When I had my surgery two weeks ago, they told me the drains would be in for two weeks, or until the fluid amount being drained fell to levels my body could safely absorb.
Being the optimist I am, I figured two weeks sounded about right, and made plans to have someone here to help me change dressings for those first two weeks after surgery.
Someone forgot to tell my body about my plans. It's been two weeks and TWO WHOLE DAYS, and the fluid levels are still too high to take the drains out. And now it's Thursday night. Since the medical establishment does not consider the removal of drainage tubes high on their emergency list, that means I will need to live with them until Monday. That's THREE MORE WHOLE DAYS, not that I'm counting. (Based on the rates the fluid levels are falling, it's pretty safe for me to assume I can get rid of them by Monday. Thank goodness.)
The dang things weren't so bad at first. I hurt so bad all over that I hardly noticed their presence. Things got gradually better last week, and while they weren't my favorite part of life, they didn't bother me too much. Then, yesterday, I had an unfortunate incident that strained the muscles the drains are threaded through, at which point every nerve ending along the length of the things went into high alert. Coupled with that, my overall pain level has been dropping, so I've not been taking near as many of the prescribed painkillers as I'd originally needed.
The combination has me whining big time. For the most part, I'm feeling much better - almost back to normal unless I happen to glance down at my chest. (But that's just a psychological jolt - those wounds have almost no pain related to them.) The drains hurt all the time - but it's a low-level hurt. The kind you think you're ignoring just fine until you realize you're becoming as grumpy as a guy whose coveted football game has just been preempted by storm warnings from a developing system in North Dakota.
The good news is that I have plenty of engagements to distract me over the next few days. I'm thinking of warning everyone who will be around more than 30 minutes that they may want to take my mood with a large grain of salt.
Mostly, I'm just tired of this. Already. and the journey's just barely begun. The experience has given me real empathy for those who deal with chronic pain- and a left me with a great deal of admiration for those who manage to do it cheerfully. They have a strength of spirit I do not.