Saturday, 11 February 2012

Picc Line fiasco and A&E

This week I was scheduled to have my picc line fitted. A picc line is a tube inserted into a vein in the upper arm, that makes taking blood and receiving medicine intravenously a lot easier, so they don't have to find a vein each time. Especially if, like me, you don't have particularly good veins.

We turned up for the appointment at half past three and at six o'clock I was finally called in. They explained that there had been a couple of emergencies who were rushed in and needed urgent attention and that was the reason for the delay. Nothing we could have done. The doctor seemed a bit on edge and not really with it. Brilliant. He took me into the room where he was going to perform the procedure, after having already put on a sexy surgery gown, I had to lay flat on my back with my right arm streched out on what looked like an ironing board. He performed an ultra-sound scan to find the vein and injected a local anaesthetic into my arm, which actually quite hurt! I couldn't see what he was doing, but could feel blood trickling down my arm as he was inserting the line. About half an hour later, it was finished. He put some very specialised bandaging on it and left the tubes hanging. He told me I could go. I asked him how I should take care of it and he said he didn't know. Again. Brilliant. He got one of the nurses to put a bandage around it so the tubes weren't loose.
What a fun experience that turned out to be.

We arrived home and within ten minutes of being home, the whole thing started pouring with blood.  Slightly pannicked, we called the GP who reccommend going to A&E as it is quite specialised. We then phoned the chemo ward to see what they suggested and they said the same thing. Back we schlepped to the hospital, but to A&E this time. We got seen by a nurse almost instantly, but she didn't know enough about it, put us in a room and told us to wait for a doctor. About 2.5hrs later, a doctor came in (he happened to look like Jack Whitehall, but that's not important). He had a look at it and said he would be right back. By this point it had already stopped bleeding. He lied. Another 20 minutes later he had another look and asked a few questions. He went off again. I then went to get a drink and bumped into him. He said he was sending a nurse to take some blood... After a while, a consultant came. Had a look, said it wasn't anything to worry about as the bleeding had stopped and they didn't want to change the dressing because it was too specialised. Six hours in hospital. The fun never stops!

Two days later we were back at the hospital for more tests pre transplant. In the chemo lounge they took my blood from my new line. It worked :) She also cleaned it up and changed the dressing, so now it looks beautiful (in comparison to what it did the other day anyway...) I also had to have a heart scan, which is just like an ultra sound but over my heart. She said that was all fine and my heart was good. I then had a chest x-ray, which will be sent to the transplant unit to check the line is as it should be.

Back to the hospital again to see the consultant who had all the results from my tests. My heart was good, my line was in the right place and everything was as it should be! He explained a bit more about what was going to happen in hospital. For the first week, every day, I will be having high intensity chemo therapy. At this point, I will be allowed to stay in a hotel near the hospital. After this week, once the chemo has kicked in, I will then be admitted into hospital, as the chemo is so intense, it is guaranteed to make me very ill. I will be admitted on Wednesday 15th Feb.

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