Waiting for Savasana

Tubes and Drains


I know, right?  Nobody wants to talk about those do they?

Well, I came out of surgery with three separate tubes and drains.  They were cleverly labeled drains #1, #2 and #3.

And I’m going to talk about them so skip this if you get grossed out easily.  Because this is very gross.

The drains come out of my armpits in tubes and then come down to my waist ending in the bulb catcher thingies.  They are annoyingly painful not majorly painful…except when they have to be emptied then they are the worst.

During my thankfully brief time in the hospital, the nurse emptied the drains but she showed The Husband how to do it.  My memory is fuzzy but I think my birth mother emptied them once or twice then too.

Once we got home, emptying the drains has been my husband’s job.  All I know is that this task that he does is deeper proof of his love for me.

Because it is one disgusting job.

Initially the fluid coming out of the tubes was deep red.  It is now a less opaque pinkish color.  My husband says he pretends it is Kool-Aid.

My boys freak out if they even see a hint of a tube popping out from below my shirt.  “Put it away Mom! Put it away!”

The process of emptying the drain is just yuck.  My husband takes and alcohol pad and runs it from the top of the tubing down, squeezing as he goes.  He does it twice for each tube.  He has to squeeze each tube, stripping it down and then he opens the bulb thingie and  empties the disgusting contents into a little measuring cup (I sing “Blah , Blah, Blah” when he does it because the sound is just really gross) and then he has to write down my “output” and then clean out the measuring cups.  He does this twice a day every day.

All I know is that the suction it creates when he does that tube squeezing thing hurts.  Like really hurts.  Like sometimes a 9 on the pain scale.  It hurts more on the right side.  It got to the point that when he would reach for the right tube, I would start to cry because it hurt so much.  But then he makes me laugh and take deep breaths and we get through it.

The drains are just the yuck.

I tried to be proactive about the drains.  I ordered these smock like “post-op mastectomy tops” that have pockets inside to hold the drains.  How convenient, right?


Unfortunately these tops are the most ill-fitting uncomfortable travesties ever know to mankind. They are worthless. They are loose in some areas and tight in others.  The top rides up every chance it gets.  The top is horrible. Most uncomfortable garment ever.  Ever!  And each one cost fifty bucks…and I bought three of them.  Hopefully insurance will pay for them  but in my opinion, these “Post-op mastectomy tops” need to be redesigned completely.   I wore those tops for the first week post mastectomy until I couldn’t take it anymore and in a fit or despair I literally ripped it off my body (ahh…the magic of velcro!).

One of the three tops I ordered was supposedly made by a survivor whose main intent (according to the package marketing) was to design something that was wearable and comfortable.  Well, that’s the worst one!  The top of it digs directly into where the drains were placed and I can’t wear it for more than five seconds without withering in pain.

Now I’m just wearing button down shirts and safety pinning the drains into the inside of them.  It’s not the best but it beats those stupid post-op tops hands down.  I swear I’m going to burn those things.

I had one drain taken out last week.  I’m going to see my plastic surgeon tomorrow and hopefully he will remove the  remaining drains.  They are becoming quite tedious and I am ready to be done.  I’m sure my husband is too.  Because we all know it ain’t Kool-Aid coming out of those things. All I can say is he loves me people.  He really loves me.  I owe the universe big time for sending a man that will empty my drains for me.

I don’t know if I could do it…at least not without complaining.


4 thoughts on “Tubes and Drains

  1. Talk about “home-care”…Bless you both. I hate to say this about such a painful subject but I nearly laughed out loud. You are both great humorist.

  2. He sounds like a keeper!

  3. I had those too after my operation. I thought of them as “Tupperware.” The good thing about bad stuff is how happy you are when it’s over!

  4. I had to skip this one, I am grossed out easily. Glad you posted it though, this is the kind of thing people need to know.

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