{Survival} Drain Drain Go Away

DrainLife never seems to be easy. When things are good something always comes up to disrupt my fun. I will spare you some of the details, needless to say I woke up in a sticky mess this morning. I was told that my incision would drain and that drainage was good. However I wasn’t told that it was going to drain a ton all at once. I guess it decided that Memorial Day was the day to drain away.

I was just thankful that I had today off, otherwise I would have been late for work. Since it was still early I cleaned myself off, switched PJs, sprayed the sheets, and went back to sleep on the other side. I guess there is a plus side to sleeping single in a queen sized bed. If one side is dirty you just move to the other side. I wasn’t to concerned, well concerned isn’t the right word, more like horrified of how much could come out at once. My appointment was at 10:00 AM, I would get help then.

Dr. Anderson got there before I did and he had wrangled a nurse into helping him work with me. The all to familiar cart of just a few things was pulled into the room. He had asked me how I was doing and I quickly said “You didn’t tell me it was going to gush!” Dr. Anderson pause for a moment, smiled and said “it may gush, it just depends on the amount of fluid.” I just looked at him and replied “that doesn’t count, you can’t tell me after the fact.” He just laughed and went to work.

Good news, the drain did exactly what it was supposed to do and the swelling in my neck has decreased enormously. It actually kind of resembles a normal neck now and I can see my chin again. Dr. Anderson was happy to see that a lot of stuff was coming out and that I was feeling better. The super antibiotics are doing there job and I am no longer in pain. He removed my old drain and well needless to say he had to scramble to find a lot of surgical towels. If one removes a plug they should be prepared for a potential flood.

Unfortunately I get to hang out with a drain for the next 5 to 7 days or until it dries up. Dr. Anderson put in a new drain and bandaged me up as best he could. I asked a million questions such as: “How does one get a surgical site infection? How long is this thing going to drain? What is my scar going to look like?” He answered all of them, Surgical Site Infections of the neck are extremely extremely rare and he was surprised that I have one. My drain will be in place for a while and it is hard to tell what my scar will look like. I learned that over time the skin around my incision site will soften and return to normal skin. Yay for normal looking skin.

Oh, I almost forgot my most important question was “Can I shower? I have to go to work tomorrow.” Dr. Anderson told me “yes you can shower, a little water won’t hurt it, just try to keep it dry. He also gave me a bonus piece of advice “You might want to wear a collared shirt or a scarf to work for the next few days. He explained that he would like me to come in before Thursday so they can check up on my drain and well me of course. It sounds like I will be going back every couple of days until this thing dries up for good. Which I hope is sooner rather than later.

If you or a loved one are about to under go a surgical procedure I urge you to educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of surgical site infection. Because every moment counts and the earlier it is caught the better the outcome. Even if you think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill, it is best to listen to your gut and get yourself checked out.

To learn more about Surgical Site Infections please visit the following:

Click to access ssi_tagged.pdf

Click to access SSI_toolkit021710SIBT_revised.pdf