Hi Gang, oh hang on let me just (zzzzzppp) that’s better just adjusting my lovely hospital style bed to the “sitting upright” position. Too far? (ppppzz) Oh there you are!
Well I’ve been busy as a busy thing here. The ascites (lymph fluid in cavity of abdomen) got up to 6 and a half litres. I looked like an orang-utan with a massive tummy which, while comical, hurt like heck as all my organs were squished. (Ask anyone who has been pregnant – ladies I salute you.)
Anyhoo, something had to be done and fast because it was incapacitating. Since then I’ve had the procedure twice and here are my findings.
Go to radiology department and doctor will use the ultra sound to find correct place to “puncture” for want of a better word your tummy thus collecting the frighteningly large amounts of lymph liquid. It’s full of protein so to compensate I ate protein rich food such as smoked salmon and cottage cheese for a couple of days beforehand and am still doing so.
Doc then freezes area before inserting tube into said area and attaching it to a bag. Then its a fun game of count the minutes until the bag gets really full. Shortest time was about 5 minutes. Its important nurse gets there quick so luckily I had lovely smily ones who certainly did. They also keep an eye on your vital signs. My blood pressure is fairly low anyway but this will lower it more in my experience. Drink water to combat this. As bits and pieces settle back down to usual positions it can hurt – badly IN MY EXPERIENCE. Pain is transient, it’ll go. Grit your teeth and talk to big brother and bestie. You may have a suture to hold the pipe steady. Don’t do what I did and catch it because it will cause you to do a big unladylike swear. Just don’t be so damn daft.
When said tube comes out the nurse will use a trick to ensure you don’t have your mind on it. I’m not going to tell you or it might not work if you know its coming.
Eventually you’re sent home, without tube, with a fairly flat tummy after a very tiring day. Be kind to self for a couple of days at least because it will feel like you’ve been punched in stomach and take a while to recover but move as much as you feel able taking it steady at all times. That’s pretty much it. Oh and the word you don’t want to hear in the radiology room uttered by doctor? “Whoops”
“Excuse me”, I said, “there’ll be no “whoopsing” here please.”
“I nearly sewed my finger”
“Oh, carry on then and be careful”.
I have such a rapport with medical staff!