Return of the oozy blisters

On January 2nd, I went in for a dressing change.  I noticed one small tiny bump  under the stat lock.   I told the lady that changed it that it starts out like that, but can turn into a red/blistery/oozy mess quickly.   She did the change as protocol for me and I came back the following week.

On January 9th, I went in for  a dressing change with a different lady.  She noticed a few bumps under the stat lock and I looked and saw that it was more inflamed than the week before.  We decided to use just a simple foam strip to secure the picc line and return to see how things looked the following week.  She had planned on ordering the specialized securement device that the insertion team recommended.  In addition, it was difficult to get the stat lock off my arm.  This caused even more irritation.  I noticed some itching, but it wasn’t enough to keep me awake or drive me bonkers.

On January 16th, I went in and the bumps had not gotten any worse, but not much better.  She used the new securement device and I went on my way thinking the next week it would be improved.

On January 23rd, I went back and there were still some bumps and irritation.  Since she didn’t want to put on a stat lock and she hadn’t had a chance to order the new type of securement devices, she put on a strip of sterile foam tape and I went on my way.  By Saturday, my arm was itching.  By Sunday, it was itching worse.  On Monday I went in for an IV therapy and told her it was itching – but I’ve had worse (and that was true).

On Wednesday -I noticed a very small patch of brown on the dressing near where the foam tape was.  I pushed it out of my mind since I was going in the next day and got a message that doctor’s office would be closed on Thursday due to dangerous road conditions.  My appt was rescheduled for this morning.

I told her it was bothering me a lot and I wasn’t surprised when she pulled off the MeFix dressing.  There were a lot of irritated bumps and it was oozing.  😦  I should have trusted my instinct on Monday to have her change it, but the office was so busy there wasn’t time.  After she cleaned it this morning, I had her put on a small piece of sterile gauze on the bumps so that the adhesive of the MeFix wouldn’t irritated it any more.  She’ll change it again on Monday.

I certainly don’t want to go through the irritation, oozy, blistery mess that I went through the last time I had a picc line.   Hoepfully things will settle down.  I ordered the new securement device and hopefully my arm will be healed enough to use it by Thursday when I go in for my dressing change.  3 dressing changes in one week when your arm is irritated is so painful.

 

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PICC Update

My arm feels pretty good baring me doing anything stupid (like laying on it too long or lifting or reaching for something I’m not supposed to lift or reach for).  Last week when I went in for my dressing change, I notice a couple of tiny small bumps under the stat lock.  The nurse adjusted the statlock in location and we hoped it would look better this week.  It’s been giving me no real trouble so I was expecting it to look fine.  I was wrong.  There were more bumps and one of the little bumps looked a bit raw.  So this week we’re doing a different securement technique – I’m not really comfortable with it, but hoping it will look better next week.  It was also miserable to remove this week. The past few times it’s come up fairly easily.  Today it felt like she was ripping my skin off or my skin had turned to glue and was sticking to the lock.

Here’s hoping that the switch up this week will make my arm clear up.  I also submitted to her the name of the alternate that the surgeon used to place it.   Hopefully we can keep my arm looking nice and calm  – with few to little bumps – with few raw places.

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

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!

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.