Saturday, February 13, 2010


I went to my OB as scheduled on Thursday while Philip stayed home with Ethan who was running a fever. Unfortunately I was informed that since the last ultrasound at my high-risk doctor was filed as an "anatomy scan" my regular OB was afraid to also do an anatomy scan because my insurance company would only pay for one. This is not what I was told when I got the first ultrasound at the high-risk doctor. I was told by their ultrasound tech that my normal OB would do their own scan. Dr. Howard had also told us at the beginning of the pregnancy that his office would do regular ultrasounds to check for brain hemorrhaging. Now they are saying that I can just come back when my normal OB wants me to! Argh! Anyway, I'm going to call HIROC on Monday and get to the bottom of all this!!

Everything else at the doctor went well. We listened to baby Asher's heartbeat and my uterus was measuring at 21 weeks so that is right on target too. We don't know if the baby's name will really be Asher, but that's what we are calling him for now. After that appointment I walked downstairs to the outpatient registration desk at the hospital and signed in for my PICC line procedure (more about that later). It went great as well. It hurt less than a normal IV stick and I am SO happy that I won't have to get poked again for the rest of this pregnancy.

On Friday Ethan had been running a fever for 4.5 days so I decided to call his pediatrician's office. They agreed to see him at 4pm. Well, usually his nap is from 2-5:30 and you know how fun it is to wake up a sleeping child, so I figured he could stay awake until 4 and then he could just go to bed early. While Philip came upstairs to help me change the dressing on my PICC line we left Ethan downstairs sitting on the love seat. After only about 10-15 minutes we came down to find this:

He had fallen asleep sitting up! Poor thing! When he lays down his nose drains into his throat and that causes him to cough so this might have been the best rest he's gotten all week! At the pediatrician's office the Doctor was shocked to hear that Ethan had not complained once about his ear hurting because in his words, "It's gross in there." Apparently his left ear has a full blown infection with puss and everything. The good news is that his lungs sounded perfectly clear, so even though his cough sounds awful it is still all up in this throat right now.

He got his first dose of antibiotics last night and I was so proud of him for not spitting them out (as is rumored that his mother use to do when she was his age). He didn't even complain about the taste, he just made a funny face and I told him to drink his milk so he did! This morning he is even fever free so that is really great!!

Okay, now I'd like to tell you about my PICC line procedure but some of you might think this is too gross to handle. If you think you are one of those people: STOP READING!!! If you pass out while reading the rest of this post it is not my fault!


Here is a cool picture of my new medical appendage:

Going from left to right: my bandage, gauze to cover the injection site, the white thing is the sticker that holds everything in place and the purple thing is the continuation of the tubing that is inside of me, and then finally the two lumens (or tubes) where medicine can be injected. These both contain pressure valves at the end which prevent them from leaking when not in use.
During the procedure I was draped with surgical drapes so that everything would remain sterile. Then the tech/nurse/radiologist (I don't know his official title) used an ultrasound to find a good vein. Then the painful part....a little stick and injection of lydocaine. After the count of four I felt nothing! He measured from the spot where he was going to insert the PICC to where my jugular was and cut the tubing to be the right length (41 cm). I guess the length to the jugular is about the same as the distance to the heart. Then using a thin metal wire with a magnet at the end he guided the tubing into my Basilic vein. A detector that was laid on my chest told him if the magnet was going up or down. He needed the magnet to go down until it was just above my heart in the Superior Vena Cava (not up into my jugular). When he thought that it was in the right place he pulled the metal tube out and secured the base of the tubing with a giant butterfly like sticker (seen in the picture). After a chest X-ray confirmed the position of the tubing I was free to go! Easy peesy!

I did have some tenderness in the arm that afternoon but that has gone away. I was even having pain when I moved my arm but after we changed the dressing we discovered that the pain is from the glue on the sides of the bandage pulling on my skin, not from the actual entry point of the tubing. This PICC line can be used now for all of my treatments, for any fluids I may need to receive while it is in, and for ALL of my blood work that needs to be done at my OBs office. How exciting is that? No more sticks, re-sticks, and triple re-sticks. The tech that did the procedure said that a PICC that is well cared for can stay in for up to a year and he even had a patient that kept one in for over 3 years. For this to happen I have to flush each line everyday with saline and heparin and then I need to keep the dressing clean and dry. The dressing also has to be changed once a week and since I get treatments once a week my home health nurses will be able to do that for me in the future.

In the winter longsleeves keep the lines out of the way, but in the summer I'll have to come up with some "avoid long stares from people at grocery stores" dressing. I also can't get in a swimming pool which is kind-of a bummer, but I'll trade swimming for five IV sticks in a week any day! I hope I didn't gross too many of you out, but I just think it is so cool!

1 comment:

John and Allie Fields said...

Poor Ethan!!!
I think the PICC line story is very cool actually. Maybe you can just wear quarter length sleeves on days it's not too hot.