May 28

Adventures in Port-o-Cathia

It has the word ‘Port’ in it, maybe it’s a nice sunny destination? Well, it did turn into a small adventure!

I know what a portocath is because my husband J had one. Should you wish to know more, read here. 

Easy Peasy. Really, it’s not a big deal. So yesterday morning, my Designated Person of the Day, Morning Shift, Jenn, came to pick me up and off we went. The nurse who met us there was the sweetest lady ever. She was a bit surprised she didn’t need to explain anything and that I knew so much about ports. She was flabbergasted when she found out why! So I donned my blue gown and paper slippers, took off my self-knitted hipster beanie and walked into the angioplasty room where they do these things. Nice Nurse and other nurse started prepping me by trying to put in an IV, through which I would get ‘something to relax me’ and an antibiotic (as a precaution). I told them to ignore the black and blue bruises on my arm because they are 10 days old, go ahead, those are the 2 good veins, use them. Nice Nurse tried, couldn’t get it. Other nurse tried, couldn’t get it. 10 min went by with both of them trying to snap my veins. They discussed putting it on top of my hand but couldn’t for some reason. They tried again. I was trying very hard to not flinch or let them know that OUCH! that hurts. They were trying to be so nice.

I looked at the clock, 18 min already. One radiologist came in and made a joke about getting me a glass of Merlot while I wait for the drugs. I obviously said yes. He was just kidding, bummer. Then he got paged to a problematic PICC line so another radiologist came in. At first, she was a little ticked that they weren’t ready to go. The nurses brought her up to speed on my medical history and my pis-poor veins. They tried one more time but this time, it really hurt. So they got an ultra-sound machine. I did not know such a thing was possible. But basically Radiologist ultra-sounded my arm to locate the veins and BAM, they jabbed it in, but at least, got it! The entire 32 min, Nice Nurse never let go of my hand. She felt SO BAD for me. (The radiologist also said there is NO WAY anyone could have gotten an IV in on Friday to do chemo.)

Then they apologized PROFUSELY and made me feel confortable, if you know what I mean! The procedure itself I didn’t feel, they freeze your chest locally and then it’s just pushing and digging. But it took 90 min from start to finish, with my neck craned to the left. By the time I got home, I couldn’t turn my neck at all.

I got a ride home from T (Designated Person, Afternoon Schedule), who had to wait for me in the day surgery waiting room and missed all the excitement in the recovery room: I was in the bed next to Problematic PICC line and the first radiologist kept having to come check on that patient. He made lots of wine jokes. And the transport guy who pushed my gurney from one floor to the other quite possible hit on my by telling me I rocked the bald head. Or maybe it was just my imagination, from the ‘making-me-comfortable’ meds!!!