Here is my take on drains after 3 months experience...
First couple of days were horrific, I know I should chose another word so I dont scare you, but I think I need to be truthful and give you all the information. I had major leakage which was so painful morphine did not cut the mustard-though it knocked me out for hours at a time which was some relief. I had CT, xrays, and other tests, but there was nothing wrong per se, just I was one of the lucky people whose body doesnt immediately close up around the drain. After a couple of days, things settled down-almost to normal.
I have had 3 major problems with the drains since they have been put it. I got an infection that required a somewhat lengthy hospital stay (5 days). I also need to be very careful because my drain shifts easily since my bile ducts are now shorter than average since the surgery. Apparently-there are not enough of us with short bile ducts so no company has made drains to fit us. The third problem is that I have developed an allergy to medical grade plastic which is such a shame as the drain is made of it! I have to have special patches cut to fit around the drain so it isnt touching my skin.
When I had the drain functioning as a drain (now it is just a path the doctors use to get into the bile duct without further surgery), the nurses cleaned it daily while in the hospital. I dont have to have it flushed now, just my bandage changed twice a week. You can have different lengths to the tubes so you can keep it close to your body under clothes, or longer so you can place it on the floor and out of the way when you sleep.
My drain leaks at the skin area under the bandages, be warned-this can really hurt if it is acidic enough, and it actually smells quite bad.
You really have to watch what you do. Too much of anything can cause problems (and it really is hit or miss, somedays I can ride my bike and be fine other times it sends me to bed for a day)
I know I sound very negative, and I am somewhat. But there are days when everything is normal and wonderful. I would rather have the drain than not and be jaundiced-that is truly on of the worst symptoms of this disease. I am much happier and more comfortable with a drain than jaundiced. Hopefully, John will not suffer as I. According to the doctor and nurses-NOBODY is allergic to medical plastic (except me)! If not for my allergy and short bile ducts that cant "grip" the drain correctly, I think everything would be grand. So if John's bile ducts are nice and long, it shouldnt be that much of an issue. Just be prepared that the first couple of days are a nightmare, but they DO calm down.
Best of luck.
Cancer is a word, not a sentence.
36 year old patient with buckets of hope