Surgery was Wednesday 30 August; UW discharged me around noon on Thursday, 31 August. Mastectomy (whether or not bilateral) without reconstruction means less time in surgery plus reduced time in the hospital.
We had a great nursing team and felt comfortable with the drains before leaving. I proved I could walk without fainting by taking a slow lap on the floor. And then we were out.
After 48 hours, discharge instructions indicated that it was OK to remove bandages. However, we removed only the ace bandage wrap. I promptly moved “wrong” and had some wincing pain, so I was content to wait on the gauze/tape.
By Monday I was getting antsy. I wanted to remove remaining gauze bandages and shower.
Ann suggested using mineral oil to help loosen the tape, which seemed glued to the skin. So I headed off to the drug store, extending my daily walk a bit. The cap is gift from neighbors, John and Laura.
Mike, Jay and Greg were doing yard work, so I headed off alone. I’d text Mike if I found I was too tired to walk back home. Which I wasn’t, in part because I stopped at John and Laura’s for a short chat on the way back.
Removing all that tape would have been hard without lubrication, which the pharmacist ditto’ed. Even with the oil (nudged between skin and tape with q-tips) there were a few places that caused cringes/teeth gnashing. And in one place, Mike cut the tape because it was stuck to the steri-strips.
I had expected one long incision and was a little worried about the tape in the middle of my chest. That was an incorrect expectation: an incision for each breast.
RiteAid had “Shower Care” bandage protectors on sale, so bought two boxes. Mike affixed these after we removed the gauze/tape from my chest and after using rubbing alcohol around the drain tegaderm.
The three drains went into two plastic grocery bags w/handles, tied closed to help keep water out.
Then in the bathtub we went! Really weird having someone else wash your hair while each hand is holding a grocery bag!
I’m not sure which feels better. Having taken a shower or being out of the surgical camisole.
Featured image: rose from walk to pharmacy