• Another 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 203 (Stripping the Lines)

    Friday, January 30th, 2015

    Day 203 of *Another* 100 Days of Good Karma.

    After surgery Meghan has two tubes that drain fluid from the surgery site. Twice a day Justin and I have to “strip the lines” which I think is the medical term for causing Meghan a lot of pain and unneeded stress. I don’t know, because they’re not in me, but I can tell by how Meghan bunches her fists, squeezes her eyes so tight tears come out, and her uneven breathing—that this is horrid for her.

    Most unfun job ever is causing her any pain. Seriously? Can we stop with the pain for her? That’d be nice. Thanks. After doing this a few times I became determined to find a way to make it less painful. She’s already been a lab rat through this whole process, might as well sign up for my torture sessions. We tried a few different ways until I found a technique that works pretty well. She didn’t feel anything. The slower I let go of the tube, the less pain she feels.

    So excited that we’d found a way, I proclaimed I was going to video it and put it on You Tube to help cancer patients everywhere. I was considering quitting my job writing and becoming a professional drain stripper.

    Except later that night we found that my technique doesn’t work on one of the drains. Possibly the tube is just situated in such a way that it’s hard to not hit a few nerves or sensitive spots, or that part of her body needs to heal more. I don’t know. I just know that my future stripper career went down the drain.

    Never thought I’d say that.

    But I wont give up. I’ll find a way.

    Hannah is really curious about all the things we’re doing. I explained the stripping the drains thing to her as: “we have to dump out that fluid thing that hangs around her neck and measure it like a science experiment.” Or something like that. I did too good of a job and she asked Justin if she could watch. He told her she would have to see the tubes and Hannah changed her mind. She doesn’t really want to see it, and really it’s not a smart idea. She’s really worried about her mom and seeing all this is difficult for her. Hannah doesn’t need to add that to her memory of this event in her life.

    At the hospital Justin’s mom asked the doctor about how much the kids needed to know. Should they visit in the hospital? Should they stay back? What would be the best thing for them? I’m glad his mom thought to ask (guess that’s what good Grandmas do). The doctor said it could be traumatic for some kids. They see tubes and machines and medicine. Even though someone is well and doing awesome, they will see something and process it differently than an adult would. So Meghan and Justin are just watching the kids to see how they’ll handle it and letting them lead the way in what makes them comfortable. So smart.

    Most of today was a few visits from friends. Tamela and Veronica brought food and treats. I’m totally all over the snacks and things. This was an unanticipated bonus of coming out here. All the great food that gets brought over. I had told Meghan that when people ask what they can bring I was tempted to say “chocolate cake, maybe some muffins.” We giggled over me wanting to take advantage. But I’ve thought more about it. I think when someone asks if they can do anything I’m going to recommend they seriously consider getting Meghan and Justin and the kids a trip to the Bahamas or Disneyland.

    At night Connor and Meghan conked out. Hannah and I played hangman with my kids in California over video chat. Justin showed me his dad’s goats over the security camera he set up.

    I can’t believe the week is almost over.

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2 Responsesso far.

  1. Brenda Birdow says:

    I can’t imagine why ‘stripping’ the tubes is actually hurting Meghan. I’ve had stomach surgery and had drainage tubes, My sister and two other very good friends also have had mastectomies and had drainage tubes that I helped ‘strip’ after their surgeries. If you hold tightly (or pinch) above the area on the tube that you are stripping, then move down the drainage tube using that same method (pinch above then drain the tube just below that), then it shouldn’t pull on the incision site at all where they inserted the tube. Only if you pull on the tube itself without securing it above the portion you are striping, should it actually hurt. Draining off the fluid is very essential in helping the surgical area heal and can cause other complications if the fluid builds up inside her around that area. Just sharing my experience in helping others after their having the same type of surgery and needing the same sort of after-care re: drainage tubes. Hope this was helpful.

  2. Tina says:

    Hey Brenda — thank you for your info. The drain stripping hurt Meghan the first time they did it in the hospital and she was told that it could happen from the vacuum effect. Either way, I do believe she is checking with her doctor just in case. It did stop hurting a few days ago though.

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