What to wear…. with a transrectal drain and other Tipps

what to wearAs I wrote in a previous post, I had a huge infection after my first two surgeries, that required two more surgeries, in which they extracted about a liter of pus, washed me out and tried to get the environment as sterile as possible. In spite of targeted intravenous antibiotics, I kept developing abscesses in my stomach. This is apparently not unusual- I mean, my stomach perforated, all the bacteria had new room to grow, and my body was rather weak. One of these abscesses grew to be 10 cm long and 4cm wide. Because of where it was placed (between my spine, uterus and kidneys) I ended up in the ER with severe kidney pain- the abscess had pressed on it. The solution: a so-called trans-rectal drainage. And yes, it is what it sounds like.

A small tube is inserted into your rectum, then through the stomach wall to perforate the walled-off abscess. The fluid then runs into a bag that is connected to the tube. Aside from the rather traumatic way this drainage was placed, this is what must have been the most annoying, even if not the most painful, and psychologically taxing experience of the whole back and forth. I was ready to be done with doctors, hospitals, meds etc. I wanted my body healed so badly, but no, just when I lifted up my head, had some hope, made a few plans, I ended up in the ER again.

I can’t stress enough how much I love the fact that I can connect with others online and find resources that help me out. I resolved to not let this hold me back. During the week I had the drain, I also had my first wedding anniversary, and I would not spend it in pajamas!

Here is one outfit that I wore in variations during the week I had a tube coming out of my butt:

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Excuse the silly face- I wasn’t exactly feeling my best.

Now down to the logistics. They are wide legged pants that I ordered from Forever21, but I also saw great ones on etsy. I chose the pattern because it is fun, and at the same time distracting. I taped the tube to my leg (make sure your leg is dry and no lotion etc. is on it), and used security pins to attach the fluid bag to my waistband (alternatively, you can use your underpants, but make sure the metal doesn’t hurt you). The fluid bag has holes on the side for hooks, that’s where I put the safety pins in.I added the flow-y tunic style t-shirt to further cover up the area, but really, anything loose-fitting will do (remember, I also am wearing the binder and a wound dressing at this point). I color coordinated my PICC-Line cover  with the outfit, but to avoid too much black and white I added my turquoise necklace that my dear talented colleague Lady Brett made for me (did I mention how talented she is?).

Now as for tips:

  • Request full anesthesia. Really, there is no point in being awake for the procedure or remembering it. Even if I had been drugged out of my mind, the anxiety would have taken over. Have them take knock you out.
  • take whatever stool softener they give you and drink lots of water with it. And then drink more. Since the chuckle-heads at interventional radiology had left my behind rather sore with their botched first attempt, going to the bathroom the first time after the procedure was rather painful.
  • Get one of the lovely donut cushions. You can do without, but your hips are going to be hurting if you try to sit on one side for too long.images
  • Take your painkillers. As I said, compared to an open surgery wound it’s not that bad, but don’t try to be a hero when you don’t have to be.
  • Lidocaine ointment for your patootie. Have your doctor prescribe it, insist on it. Make it a household item.
  • Sleep on your side (no-brainer) and get a body pillow. It will help you keep the position when you sleep and help with back pain in the morning.
  • Ask for help when you need it and explain how you feel. Your loved ones want to be there for you. Let them.
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