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The long road to recovery.......

So Monday I went into surgery for another go around with reconstruction. The procedure was successful, and I was sent home afterwards once I was stable. I really preferred having it done at the hospital versus the surgical center I had my last day surgery at. The hospital took really good care of me, as they always do - and even made sure to feed me before sending me home. My past experiences (at other facilities) when waking up hungry usually lead to saltines and a sprite, but when I requested crackers and a soda this time, I was giving a full lunch. Can't complain about that. Usually they won't give you food right after surgery, as they don't want you throwing up from the anesthesia or morphine shots for pain - throwing up can rip your stitches. But I had no problems and went home feeling well.
Once home I did little more than sleep. In fact the first 2-3 days are just a blur to me.....I slept so much and had such a problem staying awake that my dear hubby thought I had been taking too much medicine. But I think it was a combination of things that left me so sleepy. Besides, better to sleep through the pain than to be awake and in agony! So like I said, the first few days are kind of hazy to me, but I do recall on the 2nd day I think, a problem with my drain tube. Each time I go in for surgery the doctor places a drain tube in my side so that any fluids from surgery can drain from my body. The drain itself consist of a tubing like that of an IV. About a good 12" of the tube is placed inside my body, held in place by a single stitch that wraps around it, then several feet ending with a suction bulb. While the purpose is so the fluid drains from my body, the doctor warned us that in some cases infection can travel upwards. It's one of those things you have to watch carefully for several days, recording the amount that drains each day. Once it reaches a certain point where hardly anything is coming out, it is then time for it to be pulled out. The drains them self are not all that pleasant to have - especially if you're a side sleeper like me. I've had so many of these things you can almost play connect the dots with all the little round scars I have on my sides! So anyway, it seemed as though I had a problem with this particular drain, cause on the 2nd day it back flowed. As I had been in and out of sleep I didn't notice much of a problem with it. I remember the bulb being near full and ready to be emptied when Ruben found that I had what appeared to be blood all over me. Instead it was fluid from my drain. I'm not sure why I didn't think much of it - must have been cause I was so out of it, but I never thought about calling the doctor because that had been the only problem we had with it until Saturday.
During the week I'm mostly sleeping, which is amazing since it was so hard to get comfortable. It seems that this time around I have had more pain in more places than any other time. My chest doesn't hurt so much as my side, underarm, and back. Many of these areas hurt with a painful, stabbing, burning sensation. All week I've been looking for a bruise to develop on my inner arm, but there's nothing. For whatever reason, all my nerve endings in these areas are freaking out. So I'm in tons of pain and my drain isn't working correctly. Saturday night had been Ruben's work Holiday Party. Obviously I wasn't able to attend - I would have been a major party pooper! As Ruben was getting ready, I had him help me with changing my bandages. He asked me how my drain has been lately - if I have had anymore problems, etc. I noticed that the bulb was full of air instead of being compressed as it should be, so that the suction works right. I drained it, squeezed it tight, then returned to bed. Ruben came up to say goodbye before leaving for his party and once again noticed that my drain was not compressed, which means there had to be a leak somewhere. He left for his party, and I decided to call the doctor about it. The doctor agreed that it wasn't operating properly, and said it needed to come out right away. Well since Ruben had already left it meant that I had to do it myself. Oh joy! He told me to carefully use scissors to clip the stitch and not the tubing. If I accidentally cut the tubing he'd have to take me back into surgery to remove it - so no pressure there! I was careful to wash and sanitize my hands and scissors. I cut the stitch, opened the valve, then had the hard part of pulling about 12" of tubing out, which really didn't feel that good - especially since the tubing tends to stretch thin. But despite the pain, I was able to successfully pull the tube out before some type of infection traveled upwards and caused some kind of sepsis. However, pulling the drain didn't relieve the pain in my side and underarm as I had hoped. All I can do is hope the pain goes away in a few days. But despite all the pain and problems I've been having at least the incision site looks great, which is a big relief! Maybe, just maybe this expander will be a keeper.

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