Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Is a "JP" Drain?

Sometimes my curiousity gets the best of me...

Determined to find out as much information as  I can prior to my surgery, I decided to google information about the drains I will have coming out of me following my surgery. They are called Jackson Pratt drain's, AKA "JP Drains."

*Word of advice--don't go to google images for pictures of the drains. I scared myself...which is why I am showing you this friendly picture instead of the gory ones!*

What is a JP drain and why do I need them?

Since we are removing all of the lymph nodes in the left armpit and right neck, my body needs time to realize that it does not need to send fluid to those areas anymore. Because that realization will take time, the surgeons will insert a JP Drain to both areas so that there is no build up of fluid which could lead to infection.

The drain is a small rubber tube that is inserted into your body through a small incision and is connected to something that resembles, to me, a mini grenade. Or as the professional folks like to call it--a bulb.

How does it work?

"The JP drain removes fluids by creating suction (pulling) in the tube. To produce suction, the bulb is pressed flat and is connected to the tube sticking out of your body. Suction is created as the bulb sucks in air from the tube going into your body. This pulls fluid out from the area where the drain was placed and into the rubber tubing. The fluid then travels through the tubing and into the bulb of the JP drain. As the JP drain bulb fills with fluid, it goes back to its round shape." (JP drains)

The drains must be emptied twice a day and measured. The measurements will allow the doctors to decide when it is time to remove the drains. There is a whole science to cleaning/emptying the drains. I am going to live in denial about the drains until the nurses show me how to use them. The pictures scared me enough.

Luckily the neck drain should be removed prior to me leaving the hospital. I get to keep the arm one for about 2-3 weeks. Sloan Kettering will arrange for a visiting nurse to come help me care for the drains when I get back to Virginia.

If you know me, you know I have a weak stomach when it comes to medical stuff for myself or those I care about. Give me a stranger and I am fine...Show me my own blood and it grosses me out...

So, which one of my fabulous friends will come help with the drains?! ;-)

Save yourself this trouble, especially you ladies posting about your exciting new tans, practice safe sun...If it can happen to me at 23, don't assume it can't happen to you years down the road...


Unknown said...

You have a nurse friend right here! I would be happy to help you and give you moral support girl. I pray for you constantly, I want you to know that.

Anonymous said...

Another nurse friend here, too! I know it's going to be scary, but you are so incredibly strong and I have SO MUCH FAITH that you will be just fine. As always, I'll be keeping you in my prayers! If you need anything at all, don't you hesitate to call! Just put your trust in God and all will be well.