For the past five weeks, I’ve carried with me three, then just two, bulbs that were attached to two areas in my abdomen. Dubbed “grenades” by my eldest daughter (she the rhetorician), these are technically known as Jackson-Pratt (JP) bulbs, which are attached to the surgical tubes used to remove fluids from a wound. My three little bulbs were inserted after abdominal surgery.
I don’t consider myself terribly vain, but quite honestly, I had to learn to ignore funny looks from (mostly) adults, who would quickly avert their gaze. My friends and family knew what they were and were more interested in how much fluid had accumulated in a given time. Children, on the other hand, were openly candid in their curiosity about the drains. My sweet little neighbor immediately showed his concern. He was more interested in the whys — his comments were in no way meant to be derogatory. He simply wanted to understand. His dad and I did our best to answer his questions, but I felt woefully inadequate as we parted, with his “Whys” echoing behind me.
Today, though, my favorite surgeons decreed that it was time to release me from the drains. Trust me. This is considerably easier said than done. The time involved is minimal, but the process itself is a bit awkward. Uncomfortable, but not terribly painful. Dr. Kincaid described it as “a weird feeling”. She’s right. It’s like having something suctioned out of your belly.
I didn’t watch; instead, I thought back to nearly 29 years ago when I first learned the value of Lamaze breathing techniques. I scrunched my eyes, relaxed my muscles and breathed in and out. The Saint, of course, wanted to watch. I warned him that if passed out, no one would be picking him up until this was over. He informed me later that the drains were inserted at least 12 inches into the abdomen. Okay. That was it. My stomach did two flipflops — one at the site of each former drain. Ewwwwwww.
They packed me up with a good solid dressing, but assured me that in a few days when there is no more drainage, I can get by with simple bandages. The incision itself has completely closed up and is forming new skin. Whoopdedoo. This may not mean anything to you, but it does to me. Being released from the drains AND the dressing that creates my two-month pregnancy look, is an event to be celebrated.
There’s still the 24/7 antibiotic plugged into my right arm, but the countdown for that has begun….20 days to go. It’ll be nice to be able to get up without having to remember to grab the bag holding the fluids and pump.
Finally home after a long day at OSU, it has occurred to me that I forgot one thing…the one thing I know that my daughters will ask…”Did you bring home the JPs?” Dang. Forgot to ask. Just like we forgot to ask for the tonsils.