04/20/2011: PICC

Getting the PICC line was definitely less traumatic then I thought it would be. The worst part was probably lying on a table that was no wider than a surfboard. I’m a fairly narrow person; I can’t imagine someone who’s overweight trying to lie on that narrow board. Although it was probably made considerably more unstable by the multiple wedges and pillows placed under my back and head to prop me up at an angle to allow me to breathe as well as possible. The hospital staff let Jin place me on the table and help prop my back and head up before kicking him out of the radiology procedure room. Thankfully, there was a very nice technician who made it his job to make me as comfortable as possible; he kept my left side from slumping over and wiped my chin with the towel draped over my shoulder. He was also pretty good-looking, which is always a nice perk!

The doctor examined my extended right arm for quite a while looking for an entry point. I started getting a little concerned when he kept cursing about how tiny my veins were and kept requesting a higher resolution on the ultrasound. He eventually found what he was looking for and numbed the area with a Lidocaine shot. The shot and spread of medicine was the only painful part, and it was pretty minor. The entire procedure took about 20 minutes. I’ve always liked watching the monitors that show what’s going on inside of my body so was entertained by the screen the doctor used to thread the tube through my arm to my vena cava.

Afterwards, they brought Jin back in to transfer me back to the chair and then directed us back to the ward for my first dose of antibiotics. We decided to get my chest x-ray out of the way before getting the antibiotics, and according to my Juris Doctorate husband, they looked clear. The reviewing doctor must have agreed since there was no pressure for me to be admitted. Afterwards, the antibiotics were administered without incident and we were allowed to go home. Of course since everything had gone so smoothly up until that point, Jin ran into trouble when trying to coordinate my next dose. It seems the visiting nurses didn’t get the order and Jin had to work his usual magic to get it sorted out. Our favorite visiting nurse, Kari, came by late that night with a week’s worth of antibiotics and showed Jin and Abbie how to set it up. Since I need a dose every 8 hours, Kari said she’d come again the next morning to oversee and change my arm dressing.

The PICC doesn’t really hurt except for when Jin transfers me. He’s trying to be careful, but the insertion site is right below where he grips under my arm to move me around. And it’s a dull, achy kind of pain, but I’m paranoid it will be dislodged somehow. The blood pooling under the protective plastic is hardly reassuring. Kari said I shouldn’t worry about the tube being pulled out, though, so I’ll try not to.

Right now, I’m on a 10-day regimin after which they’ll run labs again to see where we are. We need to be sure the staph infection is completely gone this time! Thanks for all the prayers; they are definitely appreciated.