Wednesday, April 29, 2015

PICCn' and Grinnin'

My new BFF.
We're growing quite attached.

Because my veins don't take kindly to being poked on a regular basis, it was determined that a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) be inserted.
I schlepped to the hospital yesterday, took the elevator to the lower level - aka basement and found the infusion center. It's a large room. In the center were recliner chairs where those getting IV therapy could relax while their "liquid gold" dripped slowly in their veins. Around the center are bays separated by curtains with beds. Quite comfortable, I might add.
This is where my procedure took place.
My specially trained nurse M invited me to sit on the bed while she positioned herself next to me. We went over the dreaded, but required list of, "this is what could go wrong". This is where I took the deep breath and summoned my courage to keep from shaking her hand and very politely thank her for her time, but I'd changed my mind and would be leaving now...thank you very much. At least she was slow and caring about the whole thing, unlike the bullet speed voice over at the end of a drug commercial on TV.
It was now time for the production to begin. Lots of blue paper drapes, tubes, syringes and other paraphernalia to be revealed and positioned.
To be honest, the whole thing was relatively painless. Yes, the initial poke required some birth coach breathing, but it only lasted seconds. Then the second poke was the magic lidocaine which kicked any discomfort to the curb.

However... oh yes, there was a however.
The guide wire wouldn't advance to where it was suppose to. M pulled it out a little and tried again, and remember, no pain, so all I knew that something wasn't working was her vocalizations. Sill no dice. So much for my left arm.
Another unpacking of sterile equipment and... lets try the other arm. Once again,the ultrasound showed a luscious, round, ready for action vein.
The wire slid in and kept going. She was pleased.
Now it was time for the x-ray tech to arrive with his machine to snap a glossy 8X10 to make sure the tube was where it was meant to be.
 The wait wasn't long and the picture popped up on M's computer.
Houston, we have a problem.
The tube slid up into my juggler vein in my neck instead of down toward my heart.
Try again. She pulled the tube out to the junction point and gave it another go. We waited for Mr. X-ray again. Smile for the camera...
Results? Even after turning my head and tilting my chin as instructed, it wanted to slide up again. Bad, bad tube!
By now, I'm worried, and frustrated and M is more than frustrated. This twirnt spose to happen. I'm quietly praying, I can tell she's praying and we give it the third time's a charm. But this time M has requested help from the other PICC nurse, C. She pushes my head over and down - not quite into an exorcist position, but let's just say, your nose can touch the pillow when you lay on your back. She also pushed on my juggler vein to discourage the tube from entering. She told me to tell her if I started to feel my brain turn to mush. Now, how am I suppose to know that... I gave my brain cells to my kids at birth.
One more wait, one more visit from THE MACHINE, and...
High fives all around. It worked. She finished the procedure, taped my new jewelry in place and I was good to go.
What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
I was sent home with my "care and feeding of your new PICC line" paper.

See how much fun you can have at a hospital?
Next time: Hi Ho Hi Ho, it's off to the cancer center I go. It's Not To Late To Help 
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