I’m not feeling as great as this picture may portray…it is amazing what a bath, makeup and hairdryer can do…but I am over the moon to be back in my sanctuary!
I got home late last night after a less than pleasant experience having my drains removed…however I am so grateful for the nurses involved! 🙌🏼
I’ve said it a million times (well a few…) but I am terrified of having drains inserted and removed due to a horrendous experience with my second drain just a few weeks after I was first diagnosed (detailed in my book). My wonderful oncologist and team recognise this and so when I had the three drains fitted over the past two weeks I was sedated and filled with pain relief. This meant that, while awake, I was relaxed and pain free.
However, yesterday I had the ‘joy’ of having not one, but two drains removed. I was terrified. In reality I know having drains removed isn’t a big deal, and ordinarily it is done with little or no pain relief. However, my anxiety goes through the roof.
My team arranged for me to have diazepam to relax me and oramorph to help with the pain. All should have been fine. However, as soon as the dressings were off and the lovely nurse started to cut through the stitches holding my first drain in place I started to panic. My whole body shook as tears rolled down my cheeks and I impulsively hugged my knees into my chest – which, needless to say, doesn’t make removal of an abdominal drain very easy! Within minutes I was soaked with sweat as my ‘fight or flight’ response was heightened.
The nurse brought in two other staff to comfort me and gave me a sedation injection. Still I couldn’t calm myself. In fact, not until I was given a second sedative injection was she able to remove both drains.
As it turns out, not only was I extremely anxious but both drains had healed inside my body (the con of healing super quickly) and were also stitched under my skin. This meant that the poor nurse literally had to rip them from inside me…bear in mind these drains were inserted several inches into my abdomen, through skin, fat and muscle and surrounded by organs and, in my case, tumours too. As a result, I have no doubt that the experience was as harrowing for my nurse as it was for me.
At the end she hugged me in a way that only someone who gets the true meaning and value of person-centred care could.
I felt completely exposed, vulnerable and afraid and yet still there was beauty in the moment as I also felt completely held, supported and listened to.
I don’t write this to invoke fear in others receiving a drain, or indeed having one removed – honestly, my rational brain knows it is a straight forward procedure. Instead, I write it to highlight that it is ok to feel afraid, lost or vulnerable but that it is essential that your medical team responds to this appropriately, as mine did.
Following the procedure I passed out in a haze of medication and slept away the pain and fear. Only once I was stable again and able to walk without support was I able to return home – which was about 9.30pm last night.
Today I am tired and tender. I know it will take a few days for the visible wounds to heal and longer still for the emotional ones.
With this in mind I am taking some time to rest and repair alongside those I love and so may be quieter over the next wee while.
Take care of yourselves.
Love and light, Fi xx