2 week anniversary

My PICC line was placed two weeks ago today.   Since then, I’ve had two dressing changes, 3 days of blood work, 4 nutrient IVs and 3 lactated ringers.  When I had my first picc line, every dressing change was painful.  However this go around, we’ve had better luck.  The first time it was changed, it hurt pretty badly.  However, the dressing change was done the day after insertion.  I had another one done the day after Christmas.  Typically they are done a week apart, but with my type of dressing – even more often.  However, I take such great care of it – they decided they didn’t need to change it on the day it was scheduled.  The dressing was even great shape on the day they did change it.  I keep it covered with a cut up sock all the time.  Anyways, the day after Christmas I expected a lot of pain.  There was none.  It was a bit uncomfortable, but my arm looked awesome!

I am still getting used to having it in.  I’ve been sleeping pretty well.   I remember the first time I had such difficulty sleeping the first three weeks.  I only had a lot of trouble the first two nights.

 

Glad Press N Seal

When I had my first picc line, Glad Press N Seal was fairly new and I never could find any to buy.  So I made do with the Dry Pro and Saran Wrap.  I bought some yesterday and used it for the first time today.  In commemoration of this event, I crated a new song to the tune of Carol of the Bells.

GLAD Press N Seal GLAD Press N Seal

GLAD Press N Seal GLAD Press N Seal

I need to bathe I need to bathe

I need to bathe I need to bathe

 

Odors they form around me and I know that I am smelly

But you must keep the PICC line safe

But you must keep the PICC line safe

 

GLAD Press N Seal GLAD Press N Seal

GLAD Press N Seal GLAD Press N Seal

I have to bathe I have to bathe

I have to bathe I have to bathe

 

Fainting from fumigation that oozes from my stinky body.

But you must keep the PICC line safe

But you must keep the PICC line safe

 

Oh how the scent

lurking around

Glad Press N Seal

was now just found

 

GLAD Press N Seal GLAD Press N Seal

GLAD Press N Seal GLAD Press N Seal

I get to bathe I get to bathe

I get to bathe I get to bathe

 

Oh how I’m glad I

discovered the miracle of

Glad Press N Seal.

 

And I kept my PICC line safe

And I kept my PICC line safe

Season of being wrapped up

Many people seem to be wrapped up in receiving this time of year while others are wrapped up giving. I absolutely love Christmas time.  I absolutely love giving.  I love wrapping presents.  It’s my thing.  Typically I am all wrapped up for Christmas about two weeks after Thanksgiving.  I order many of my gifts online and have them delivered so I don’t have to expend energy driving, shopping and wrapping.  Delivery was slow this year so most of my orders didn’t come in until today.  Some things I expected to have their own boxes didn’t.

Last year, I made small boxes out of card stock for handmade ornaments.  I realized almost right away that those boxes would be the right size for this item that came sans box.  Problem was that I was out of card stock – specifically Christmas card stock.  Now you see, Michaels has Christmas Card stock.  However, they generally run out well before Christmas so you can see my dilemma.  I decided to get regular color card stock if they were out of Christmas Cards tock.  I went with 50% off regular price coupon in hand since I knew that the card stock was rarely on sale.  I looked briefly for Christmas selection, but grabbed a package of 58 piece card stock.   I was saddened that I’d have to pay $10 for a whole pack, but $10 was better than $20.  I walked around just in case they had a small selection somewhere else and imagine my delight when I saw a clearance Christmas selection and I dug through the papers to find Christmas Card Stock – on sale for $5.99!  Winner winner chicken dinner!  I grabbed two packages (48 pieces in each package).

I brought it home and began to get wrapped up in the season of giving.  After making only one small box, I was already winded.  That was when I received my reality check.   You see, I know that I’m sick.  I know that.  Deep in my heart of hearts, I know that I”m very sick.  But when I was creating a box out of card stock paper and was getting winded, it hit me.  I am really sick.  A healthy person doesn’t get winded from making one tiny 4×4 box.  Of course a healthy person doesn’t have a picc line hanging out of their arm either.  I continued on as if I were healthy although the windedness (is that even a real word?) I felt continued. I only have 3 more days to finish wrapping and I really avoid gift bags.  To me, they are even more  hassle.  I haven’t gotten the tissue paper to gift to bag perfected yet. Some people’s bags look so pretty and beg to be opened.  When I try it, it just looks like tissue paper crammed into a bag and doesn’t insight a desire to open a gift that only contains a farting pen (no one got a farting pen this year, but it did make the short list of possibilities).  Although I suspect that if I were going to use gift bags, this would have been the year to do it.  However,  none of the bags I have fit the gifts that were purchased.

This year, we had to reduce our expenditures on gifting.  My gift giving goal for 2013 is to insight laughter with as little money as possible.  Hopefully a few of the gifts meet that criterion.  They made me chuckle that’s for certain.  Typically, I cram as much gatherings as possible during this time of year.  However this year, Lyme Disease has me beaten.  I have denied requests for get togethers.  I have only two on my agenda and one of those may be impossible for me to do.  I hate when I struggle between something I really want to do, something that I should do and something that I probably shouldn’t do because of my health. Guess it truly is the season of being wrapped up.

IVs at home

There are two wonderful parts of having a picc line.

  • No needle sticks.
  • IVs at home.

I’ve decided that my first PICC line was a dud.  The first go around I had nothing but problems.  It took me well over  a week to get any sleep. I never felt comfortable doing anything with the PICC line arm.  Simply getting dressed was a chore.  This time was so much different. I’ve slept pretty well all week.  The first night I slept 2 hours straight.  I woke up for a few minutes to adjust my body, then fell back to sleep for another couple of hours.  So on and so forth for the rest of the night.  The second night was much of the same.  However, the third night I slept for 5 straight hours.  I woke up in pain and needed to get some pain reliever.  However when I finally fell back to sleep, I slept another solid 5 hours.  I even had some dreams.  Thursday night I slept pretty much straight through the night.  I am even able to adjust when I do wake up to sleep on my PICC line side.  Last time I never could do that.   I even forgot last night when getting undressed that I had it in and lifted my arm up too high – Ooops. That was painful.

On Wednesday, I went in for an IV and teaching at the doctor’s office and also to pick up my first IV bag for home.  It was a simple Lactated Ringer.   So on Thursday evening, I had my first IV at home since 2009.  It took a good minute to remember all of the instructions of how to prime the line, but we did and got attached easily.  It’s going to take me a while to get the “new” drip rate dial.  The last time, I had a dial with numbers.  It was very easy to adjust the drip rate so it wasn’t too fast or too slow.  This one just has a knob – up for faster and down for slower.  The first part of the IV went way too slow so I sped it up – and it went in way too fast.  I didn’t “feel” it – but just based on time.  I knew it should take 2 hours at least.  It wound up taking 1 hour and 45 minutes, which meant the last 3/4 of hte bag went in way too fast.  45 minutes for 3/4 of the bag – and an hour for the first 1/4.  Oops.  No big deal.  I know for next time.

On Friday, I went back for another teaching.  This teaching bag would be mine to take home to do.  The bag on Wednesday had 25 grams of Ascorbic Acid.  I’ve done these many times.  The bag on Friday had 50 grams of Ascorbic Acid.  I’ve not done one of those bags since 2009.   The first half of the bag went well.  I was a bit hot & cold, but overall felt okay.  Then the 2nd half hit.  I kept having to pee – which indicated I was very hydrated.  These bags make me really thirsty so I drank about 40 ounces during a 2 hour period.   I typically pee about 3 times during the bag of 25, but during the bag of 50 I probably went 5 or 6 times.   The bag of 50 made me so tired that I fell asleep watching a tv show. After I was disconnected, I went to be d and fell straight to sleep.  However,  I was so well hydrated that I woke up once an hour needing to pee for the first four hours.

The IVs at home are so much  more convienent.  First – I don’t have to drive an hour (30 minutes there and 30 minutes back).  The drive there is always fine, but the drive back I am always a little exhausted.  I also can get a comfortable spot on the couch with my blankets and television.  OR I could get online and message with my friends.  The first 1/4 of last night’s bag I chatted with friends, but then I got really exhausted and got on the couch.  If I need to go to the bathroom, there is always room for me to go.  At my doctor’s office, there are 3 bathrooms.  However it seems that anytime I need to go, both bathrooms up front are occupied and I have to walk by pole all the way to the back bathroom.   It’s a “balancing” act to stand from the chairs – put the blanket and whatever else into the chair.  Then wobble through the IV room if there are others there – and check bathroom 1, check bathroom 2 and then finally walk all the way down the end of the  hall to bathroom 3.   Then wobble back down the hall, through the IV, picking up all the stuff and managing to get back into place – and realizing you have to go again.   It’s really not that bad when there are only 2 or 3 people getting IVs, but when the room is full – it’s much more difficult.

Yesterday – I moved my blanket, stood up and walked straight to the bathroom without wobbling over anyone or anything.  It was a quick walk to the nearest bathroom 6 times.   I get another IV today.  Then tomorrow I get a break on Sunday and start again on Monday.  I absolutely love my LLMD’s office.  I love just about everyone in the office.  Those that I don’t love, I do like!  They take such great care of me.  I may grumble every now and then, they may screw up every now and again – but I know they absolutely care about me and want me to get well. It’s difficult to be sick, but it’s so much easier when you’re not feeling well to be greeted with smiles & hugs.

 

PICC Insertion

It took about 30 minutes from the time I got on the table for PICC Line insertion until the time I sat back up.  It hurt just a little bit more than it did the last time I had a PICC line placed, but when I winced – Amie (the lady that placed the PICC) adjusted something and it made it feel much better.

After my PICC placement, they double checked with X-ray and I headed out to my doctor’s office.

I had a lot of blood work done there.  When I say a lot, I think I even  had more blood work done than the first visit at his office.  It was insane.  So much in fact, that they had to stop part way through – give me more saline & heparin – let me walk around a lot to get my blood pumping – and saline again and draw more blood.

I also had a urine test.  Men have it easy when it comes to urine tests – Women – at least for me – I have no hand, cup to pee coordination.  Ugh –

I went back today for more blood work (YES MORE) and my first dressing change.  I forgot how badly those things hurt.  Here is a little over 24 hours since my insertion and I’m actually doing pretty well.  Yes, my arm hurts.  No, I can’t lift anything with that arm.  Yes, it’s painful to put on clothes and deodorant, but – I slept last night.  The first time around I couldn’t sleep for a week. Granted I slept for an hour and woke up.  Afterwards, I repeated it all night.  However – I got at least an hour sleep straight at least 4 occasions.  I’ll take that!

Tis the day

 

After one week of anticipation, today has arrived.  Today is the day a team of people try to place my 2nd picc line.  I haven’t had one since February of 2009.  I plan to bring pictures of what happens to my arm now – and even what happened when I used bandages to cover it.  I wish I had taken pictures of when it looked absolutely disgusting – oozing – and all, but I didn’t.

After my picc line insertion, I will go get blood work done.

Yesterday, I spent the day doing laundry and cleaning out the pantry for easier usage.  The pantry was so crowded with boxes – and everything was piled everywhere that it wasn’t usable and you couldn’t see what was in there.  To pull something out was like playing Jenga – you hoped pulling one thing out didn’t cause the rest of the pantry to topple.  Although I didn’t want to expend my energy on this, I knew that I also didn’t want to have the Jenga pantry come toppling down on me once I had my picc line in place.

 

 

Dreading the Difficulties

Sometimes there are things you do on a daily basis that you think are easy -but when you have a Chronic Illness – they aren’t so easy.  This post won’t go into details of those items.  Instead, I want to make a list of a few things that are even more difficult when you have a PICC line.

These are the things that I find difficult.

  • Washing your hair.
  • Drying your hair.
  • Straightening your hair with a flat iron.
  • Okay pretty  much anything to do with your hair –
  • Putting on shirts.
  • Removing shirts.
  • Putting on jackets.
  • Removing jackets.
  • Reaching for something that requires full stretch of your arm – and any much lift of your arm.
  • Carrying your purse – especially if you tend to carry it on a certain shoulder – and is the picc line arm.
  • Carrying or lifting anything for that matter greater than 5 pounds.  (simply put -DON’T DO IT!)
  • Driving can be difficult the first few weeks.
  • Shaving your arm pits.
  • Putting on antiperspirant.
  • Showering
  • Bathing
  • Vaccuming
  • Washing & Drying Clothes
  • Washing Dishes
  • Opening windows in the house

 

  • STRETCHING!!!
  • SLEEPING!!!

 

I think the worst 5 things for me are:

  • Involve Hair (Washing, Drying, Brushing, etc)
  • Sleeping
  • Involve the Arm Pits!  (Shaving and applying the keep it from being smelly stick)
  • Laundry (Pulling out of the washing is worse than pulling out of the dryer)
  • Wiping your bum – Yes I saved the grossest one for last!  Do you know how difficult it is to wipe your bum when you can’t reach back there?

 

You may wonder why on earth one would consider getting one –

 

  • No IV sticks for non-existent veins – which will in turn allow me to get the IV’s I need –
  • Easy blood draw access.  Will be able to draw more than 2 measly vials at a time before a vein blows – and will be able to go in more than once a couple of months to get checks.

Those are the ONLY two reasons I need for getting one.  Why now?  I’ve met my deductible for the year.  So my insurance should pay for more of my picc insertion and initial blood draws than if I waited until January.   If I hadn’t met my deductible, I’d wait until after the holidays to get this done.