Circumferential Body Lift Recovery: Week 3.5

Woof, lots of stuff has happened in the last week. The anchors from last week held fine and dandy until yesterday, when both on drain #4 gave up the ghost. That was worrisome since it’s been the most productive lately. Today Dr. Pickart re-anchored #4 and put an extra anchor on #3 since one was looking weak. The longer the drains are in, the larger the holes get around them due to them just pushing up against the skin, hence making the drains more likely to pull out of the skin.

Drain #1 was holding fine with the electrical tape patch until the 13th, when a large crack opened up about 6″ up from where it entered my body. This was more like a stress crack/fissure, perhaps from stripping/cleaning the drain tube, and a fairly large one at that. My wonderful wife helped me try four different kinds of tape in various configurations at least twice each in the middle of the night (she’s been a trooper, to say the very least, during this whole thing). Nothing held, the fissure was just too big. I ended up cutting over 24″ of slack out of the drain tube and re-attaching the bulb less than 6″ from my body. Unfortunately, by the next afternoon the whole arrangement just wasn’t holding suction; I think the check valve on the suction bulb was boogered up. The bulb was on such a short leash that I was afraid of it ripping out. So, I went ahead and pulled the drain out myself at home.

Pulling a Jackson-Pratt drain is pretty easy. Sterilize some scissors, snip the sutures and pull them out (fairly painless) leaving them tied to the drain tube. Then, grab the tube firmly and just pull it out. No pain, no sticking points (unfortunately/fortunately no photos or video) but it was nice to have the “problem child” drain gone for good. It’s weird, there was literally no sensation: no pain, no tickle, just no sensation at all.

Drain #4 has picked up most of the slack since #1 and #4 are routed to the back and #2 and #3 are in the front. Drain 3 picked up a tiny bit of the slack and has been hovering around the criteria for removal, which is less than 30 mL/day for 2 consecutive days, for about a week now. Only had 25 mL from drain 3 today so there is a good chance that it’s coming out tomorrow or Friday. Drain #4 really took a nose dive today so I’m really hoping to be rid of all drains by potentially as early as next week, though I’m probably jinxing myself by saying that.

Apart from that, I feel a lot stronger and have more energy on the whole each day. Still sleeping in my recliner since I move around in bed quite a bit at night and am paranoid about pulling out drains.  That has led to slow healing on my rear incisions, but still no infections. I tapered myself off of the Valium about 4 days ago since it wasn’t doing much as a muscle relaxant and I haven’t been anxious or panicky at all. This has been my first experience with Valium and I gotta say: I don’t like it much. It was making me feel very strung out and emotionally unstable (think Robert DeNiro watching the TV commercial in Analyze This type instability). Having that stuff out of my system has been really great. The painkillers have been working fine, they haven’t turned me into a jerk like I was afraid they might, and I haven’t fallen behind on taking them in a few days. Oh, and I was given pictures of the material that was removed. If there’s any interest in seeing what came off me… leave me a comment. They’re fairly graphic so I don’t want to just straight up post them.

Definitely over the hump and on the way back to being somewhat normal. It has been a rough month, but man, the results are really going to be worth it.

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