Let's further discuss this hilarious tube removal. To the right is a schematic of my left shoulder (brown lines, plus brown circle for belly button. I tried to draw my right breast as a reference point, but no dice.) My rainbow incision is the orange line. Previously I was only familiar with the part of the tubes that were external to my body: 2 skinny tubes, each about 2 feet long, each with a 100 milliliter plastic bulb on the end (thin purple lines in the schematic). I never dreamed that there was significant tubing on the inside as well. The internal tubing was about 18 inches long with a porous nature and a relatively broad, flattened shape. The fat purple lines are where I suspect the inner drainage tubes were laying, information only inferred upon their removal. The junction between the inner and outer tubes was stitched to my skin at my armpit; the removal of these stitches was only moderately uncomfortable. Upon stitch removal and the count of three, the nurse simply yanked out the inner tubes. I could feel them snake around and out of my body. It was an utterly painless and rather sensational experience. I daresay it tickled.
Next, I get to do some physical therapy to get my arm moving again. My chest, shoulder, and arm muscles are complaining loudly about their two weeks of being laid up, but I should regain nearly 100% of my range of motion in merely a week if I work at it. I'll call today to schedule this.
The best part of getting the tubes out is of course the pain relief, but a close second is the return of my hopes and dreams. That is, a person gets a little disheartened while going through such an ordeal, and now at last someone turned on the lights in this tunnel. Ian and I were talking about all sorts of fun plans during our car ride, from painting the shed to shopping for a new skirt (for me, not for Ian). I still have more nerve pain in my arm than I'd like, but my body will continue to heal and adapt, and perhaps one day it will no longer be painful. Can't see the end of the tunnel, but at least the lights are on. Ooh, maybe they're skylights. Yes, definitely skylights in my tunnel.
When was my last poke tally? Before surgery, no doubt. I have had some bonus pokes recently to do some extra tests related to my heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (aka platelet disappearing magic) and a failed tumor marker test. And I'll simply designate the mastectomy with a plus sign; it was neither a poke nor a negligible insult. Not sure if I'm remembering all of them, but here's my best guess. Oh, and speaking of pokes, the crocuses and daffodils are poking up in the yard! How exciting!
right arm 10
left arm 6
left breast 1+
superior vena cava 1
T9 vertebral body 1