Saturday, September 13, 2008

PICC part 2

Story Continues...

So I called my husband and told him everything. He started driving to pick me up. I called about 3 people that I knew had picc lines to help calm me down, but no one was answering. So I just started pacing my way to the hospital.

So my husband and I trotted over there. After a lot of "go here" and "go there" and "you're not in the right place," we finally found out where we were supposed to be. We walked into the hospital at 9:15 or so and walked out at 11:45. A strangely looking man came out to get me. I told him I was extremely nervous and he said that there was nothing to worry about and that they would go over every step. (I will refer to him as Funny PICC line Guy aka McJeff in future posts)

Throughout the 45 minutes I was in this sterile room, I continually made jokes so that I could put myself at ease. It's my coping mechanism. By the end of the procedure, the doctors were also making jokes. I think they could sense that was what I needed and not a step by step instruction of what they were doing. I got a "this is gonna pinch a little" right before a sharp pain hit and I said, "My husband would say that's doctor speak for it's gonna hurt like Hell." They all laughed. Really only two parts hurt. Now I don't know exactly what they did, but I'm assuming that the parts that hurt were when they gave the shot of lidocaine and when they punctured the skin for the PICC. I was covered in all sorts of dressings so I couldn't see what they were doing, but what I could see was the monitors that had the picture of my insides on it. I watched the tube in my chest. I saw my ribs. He said .. and there's your heart. SEE GUYS I DO HAVE A HEART. :)

If I had known I was going to get this procedure done, I would have worn a different shirt. the shirt I wore was very tight and very difficult to put .. they had done the insertion. I will explain the PICC line in a moment, but first let me leave you with a joke.

How many doctors does it take to change a light bulb? 6
1 to prepare the items for changing the lightbulb.
1 to calm the lightbulb
1 to do the billing portion so you can be reimbursed for the lightbulb
1 to do the shot of lidocaine so the lightbulb doesn't feel a thing
1 to close the door of the sterile so the new lightbulb doesn't get germy
and lastly 1 to actually change the lightbulb

*laughing may commence NOW*

So What's a PICC line? In laymen's term, a picc line is a tube that enters my vein and goes up my arm and into my heart. Then the medication will go through the tube instead of my veins and my heart will pump out the medications. There is about a 3 inch tubing that comes out of my arm and the end of the tubing there is a white thing. The white thing is what all my medication attaches to. There is a "clamp" that I have to undo for medications and as soon as medications I have to clamp back.

What will this do for me? I will no longer feel pain of a weekly needle stick. I will no longer feel pain when the medications go up my arm because my veins are protected by the tubing. It will take less time to do the medications because they'll be able to drip it faster because it doesn't hurt.

What was I worried about? I was told no lifting and I was very cautious about moving my arm much at all. Besides the pain from having a tube shoved up my arm .. I am very worried about bacteria getting into the tube. I was worried the clamp will pop open and I'd bleed out everywhere. I was worried about how it looked to other people when I walked around with what's essentially a cut up sock on my arm. It's either that or walk around with the worry out bacteria getting into the line or being bumped into or them seeing the actual picc line itself.

After a month, the massive pain went away. I felt like it was apart of my body, but if I lifted too much or moved my arm too far out I felt a lot of pain. I also am allergic to something they are using to clean it with so it's causing lots of blisters, rashes and oozing. I will post about my hospital visit from the other day soon. McJeff had a starring role in that visit.

What would I tell others that were considering this as an option?

1. The procedure itself is essentially painless. It was fast and easy and if you have the right picc line staff .. they tell you what's going on so that you're not scared.

2. the pain comes about 30 minutes after and the pain of the PICC ends 3 weeks later, but if you have allergic reactions to the cleaning agent .. the pain returns. :(

3. Go to dick's sporting goods store .. buy UMBRO soccer socks for women (or men if you have a huge arm). You can cut the socks up easily. I made 4 picc line covers out of one pair of pink socks. There is another sock that dick's sells that did not work as well. As soon as I cut it, it deteriorated.

4. apparently GLAD press-n-seal is your best friend. I haven't bought it yet. I actually wound up buying a Dry Pro Picc line cover. You have to cover the picc when you shower/bathe because you can't get it wet.

5. Bring deodorant with you to work. I didn't get it good yesterday and about 4 hours into work ... I was sweating like I had been outside for an hour in 100 degree weather. Hope no one could smell me. :)

Now it has been almost 2 months since my PICC insertion. I am still having trouble with it, but we are working on finding out exactly what I am allergic to and hopefully it will be removed soon anyhow.

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