I Hate Surgical Drains.

Imagine a large, plastic worm that drools liquid constantly. It is shoved through your chest skin and into your armpit, and its stomach sac, attached with a lengthy tube, wanders and slips over your belly like a rogue balloon.

Imagine that this worm’s belly must be drained twice a day. In the lengthy, slow, meandering draw down from your flesh into its rotund collections, there are flesh bits that look like fingers, raw chicken, fetuses.

Sleep on your back. Do not raise your arm.

Hourly you must shove this worm’s unruly flailings back into your pants.

Imagine that the reddish-orange fluid that gathers in the pool of this squirming hellion’s plastic gut is not blood. It is liquid detritus to be removed from the flood site. At times the colors of it evoke a sunset, which is pleasant enough except for the pus.

Getting dressed:  1. Place your shirt overhead first. 2. Let the garment rest on your shoulders for a few seconds. The tube must settle. 3. Slowly, so as not to shift your inwardly slithering medical reptile “buddy,” raise your arm and slide it gently through the sleeve. 4. Wait 10 seconds. 5. Repeat with the other arm. 6. Breathe a sigh of relief: the drain stayed.

In considering architectural innovations, ponder the labyrinth. Who is the monster? Who is the girl?

Drain, sucker.

Each flesh bit that leaves the body may be a part of the disease. One might celebrate. Might.

Imagine removing your clothes. The shower water rushes. The wildly gesticulating worm of tubular regurgitations must be subdued and restrained for the cleansing, and so, like a madhouse warden, you tape and tape and tape it not to a chair, but to your skin. Supervise its movement. There will be no violence today.

Absolution? Only with its removal. Call the doctor.

Call again.

Oh parasite, oh lollygagging and lengthy leftover lap lap lapping and long-remaining lily of the surreal translucent and post-surgical liquid stem linking loss to luck, little to less, longing to love and back again, you’re a lazy lurid river, a milliliter lover, a sewage leaver, convenience killer, a bendable lamentable wily water lure, a makes-it-hard-to-hold my daughter and my husband lank and lowbred dirty and late single-string lyre.

I hate you.





4 thoughts on “I Hate Surgical Drains.”

  1. Oh, man, I’m with you on drains! Absolutely loathed mine – two on each side. And thank goodness I had a husband who was willing to drain them for me twice a day, and record the output – because just the smell made me queasy.


  2. Meanwhile, I have a surgeon who wants to re-insert a drain into my lower back. Four months after a five level fusion for metastatic disease which utterly destroyed a lumbar vertebrae, a seroma has refused to resolve. It’s getting tough to aspirate by needle, jabbing into the sac that’s formed.

    I’m putting it off until we return from a long postponed anniversary trip, not knowing what airplane cabin pressure would do to the closed system. Just like a weak walled plastic water bottle is affected at high altitudes and why I wear a compression sleeve in flight to protect my lymphedema arm from additional swelling, would the JP bulb draw out more fluid then allow it to flow back in once we land?

    Despite getting straight As in physics alongside future engineers at a heavily science oriented university decades ago, I can’t seem to figure this out…


    1. Mary! How did the anniversary trip go? Lymphedema and its side effects are such a conundrum…I seem to get no definitive answers from anyone except “See how this feels,” or “try this.” I hope your anniversary trip was all you wanted it to be. Jojo


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