So much of my stay this time is a blur. I've been mostly in my room, with two trips to x-ray (morning, and night). I'm visited by nurses throughout the day. They deliver pain meds, post-TIL treatment meds, and they take vital signs every eight hours. There is very little sleep.
With the chest tube, sleeping happened in spurts. I always woke myself when I'd try to change positions. It hurt a lot when I would move in my sleep.
Breathing was another adventure. I managed to pull 2250 ml on the spirometer (volume of air I can inhale). This was a record for me!
Last night, the thoracic surgeon clamped the chest tube closed. This meant the suction box thingy would no longer be helping me (It was pulling air from the space outside the lung, should any be leaking...pretty sure). By clamping the tube shut, the doc rendered it ineffectual. He would be able to tell by how I responded, over the course of 24 hours, whether it was safe to remove the tube itself. Even though the hose was clamped, I was still attached to the box. I eventually named it, "Beelzebub." It went everywhere I went.
More x-rays last night, and this morning. Then! Then! The thoracic doc decided that I would be O.K. to exist minus the chest tube. He pushed down (hard) around the insertion site while the fellow ripped the tube out. She was not quick at this, I am sad to say. It probably felt quick to her, but to me...notsomuch! It was not exactly painful but the longer a procedure takes, the more likely I am to get nauseous. You'd think I'd get used to this stuff, but apparently not.
I was encouraged to walk as much as possible, and to ask for pain meds. They will no longer keep me on a schedule for those (hurray!) My husband and I took a chilly walk around the hospital wing, and then I decided it was time to put on my own clothes!†
Tomorrow, I'll have what I hope is the final x-ray during this stay. If it's good, they'll send me home! We have an eight-hour drive ahead of us, but hopefully I'll be able to tolerate it O.K.
† I have since learned that, according to the Patient Handbook, patients are expected to wear their street clothes as much as possible while inpatient. oops.