Monday morning and our routine was already well established. Nick arrived with coffee and breakfast which was followed by a Hibiscrub bath. I was sitting up in bed in a clean red tartan nightshirt (POWER red lipstick already applied) talking to my daughter who had visited on her way into University that morning. One of the nurses from the Primrose Breast Care Unit arrived. This lady was great, introduced herself as having responsibility for nursing plastics breast patients, was practical and down to earth. She also brought a heart shaped pillow and goodie bag including a drain bag, hand cream and tissues. These were from an organisation called Bosom Pals. Once discharged from the ward I would have to return to the Primrose Breast Care clinic to have stitches removed in a week or so. To get home I’d have to get rid of both drains.
The day before the drain from the lymph node incision had been removed – this was a simple process, a couple of snips and a deep breath and a bit of a yank and out it popped. Clean dressing and done. One drain down, one to go.
Mr X arrived at the end of the bed and was as usual kind and professional. After asking how I was (fine, let me go home – I know you need this bed) he looked first at the Bionic Boob which was becoming a series of interesting colours, then at the area where the lymph nodes had been removed. It was all looking good and I was as keen as mustard to get home… only one slight issue… too many mls of Malbec in the drain. If I could drain a bit less I could go home.
Two hours later, the drainage had just about dried up…. drain was coming out! I was going home. As soon as the drain was out…. snip, snip, deep breath, gentle tug and out it came. Clean dressing, then I was dressing. Jeans on, sports bra and shirt – everything for the next couple of weeks was going to be front opening. Sports bras to be worn 24/7 for the next 6 weeks – day and night.
2pm – and I was on my way. After thanking the catering ladies for many cups of ginger tea, nurses who’d given me “paint stripper”, explained things and packed me off with pain killers and BIG antibiotics it was home time. Nick took my bag and we walked slowly down to the car – the heart shaped cushion from Bosom Pals tucked securely under my left arm ready to protect the bionic boob from the seat belt. Phew – a huge sense of relief to be going home where it was quiet and there would only be one other person sleeping in the room and no one would be changing curtains at any point.
Au revoir Derriford, bonjour Old Rectory ward! The old wreck of the Old Rec was on her way home, a bit bruised, one nipple less and with additional silicon but heading home.
Tip: Remember to email Bosom Pals to thank them for the gifts as you will then get an invitation to join their Facebook page and access to advice and information from local (to Plymouth) women who have been through breast cancer and subsequent treatments.