Don’t get picc-y with me!

This morning I went to get my PICC line plumbed in.  I have to admit I was still pretty anxious although this had been abated somewhat by Bridget’s comments. I had to be there for 9:30 so my Uncle Ray dropped me off and picked me up again.

And you know what it was pretty much a non event.  I sat down to type this earlier but then got interrupted by my Auntie En and then sister in law checking how I was and then B got back from a walk with Bud and it was just as well or you may have missed out my evening shower which was anything but a non event resulting in B pulling a face I’d never seen before and me demonstrating self control I didn’t think possible in the face of humongous adversity!

Back to 09:30 this morning first though.  The nurse explained how it would go, we established I was a tad apprehensive and one of her colleagues may be in in time to hold my hand and allay my nerves (yes I felt like a COMPLETE wuss at that point), and that setting everything up would take longer than the actual plumbing.

I have to say I have had much, much, much more painful canulas inserted and apart from the initial sticking with the guide wire and then the shot of local anesthetic I didn’t feel a thing other than a bit of pushing.  And no the colleague wasn’t in in time so we just ploughed on.

I did risk a look at one point to find the guide wire sticking out waggling which considering I go for acupuncture I found a bit disconcerting – when I shared this with my Auntie Ann who phoned early afternoon it made her legs go funny. What possessed me to share this I do not know, I know quite well Auntie Ann likes to avoid seeing canulas and generally anything that is sticking out of a human body.  Last Wednesday when she came to visit she particularly threw herself in the chair and exclaimed ‘There’s your butties I’ve had an awful time getting up here from reception.’  There had been a man with a cage on his leg (not a big fan of these myself) and then, as it turned out, one of the health care assistant’s from the ward I was on with what we considered to be a bag of partly defrosted platelets in the lift under a towel which she then turned over and kept agitating – but which looked apparently like murky yellow frogspawn.  Auntie Ann did look really flustered at this point.

So the lovely tiny nurse got the PICC in and then I went for an x-ray to make sure the line hadn’t gone too far.  It hadn’t so she changed the dressing, there had been a bit of a wait for the bleeding to stop on installation, and then I went home.

Now the thought of having any sort of artificial enhancement doesn’t sit well with me.  I tolerate canuals but from the moment they go in I can’t wait until them come out so surprisingly, so far – just in case, this isn’t troubling me at all. In fact I have forgotten it was there several times.  There will however be a requirement to buy some long sleeved T-shirts so that other people aren’t aware that it’s there.

Despite having a shower this morning I decided to have another tonight before B went to work just in case of any problems.  The nurse had said to wrap my arm in cling film when I showered, the line is in my upper right arm (apparently at the Royal they don’t put them in below the elbow because the bending motion can potentially cause problems), however I had a secret weapon recommended by Beth at the time of my SCT holiday – Glad Press’n’Seal.

It’s not available here to my knowledge but I managed to procure some on ebay. I found it to be very good at the time.  So tonight I wrapped my upper arm in Press’n’Seal – a couple of layers just in case – and had my shower.  All went well until it came to taking it off.  I suddenly realised that if I unwrapped it without another hand to hold everything tight I might loosen something – look it seemed a legitimate issue at the time.  So I decided to cut it off.  B chose that of all moments to ask if I wanted assistance and I said yes!

B armed with the Fiskars general purpose size non stick scissors inserted the point under the Press’n’Seal and cut and cut again supposedly up the back of my arm.  I pointed out that maybe a little more to the left would be a better route and drew an imaginary line up the back of my arm, the route B was taking could have ended up round the front nipping some tube in no time.  B adjusted the scissors and cut – ME!  I said ‘Ouch’, B pulled the most panicked face I have ever seen on him and said ‘Did I cut a tube?’ to which I replied ‘No, just me!’.

I went off in search of some old dressmaking scissors with a ball end but obviously couldn’t find them.  I them attempted to find some short of child safety scissor but obviously any I had acquired I wouldn’t have kept because who without kids uses them.  I resorted to plastic paper edging scissors which B declined.

He then realised I was actually bleeding albeit slightly but he still wanted another go!  I meanwhile wanted to scream ‘Put the scissors down and back away from them and me at speed’ or words to that effect.  However I managed somehow, and I’m still not too sure how, to let him near me and my tubes with the scissors again.  This time he took it from the top and I poked my finger in to ensure that no skin was sticking to the Press’n’Seal anywhere near the scissors.  All in all it was successful, one minor nick but one very dry dressing.

The only thing is B said ‘That was better from the top – we’ll do it that way next time.’ NEXT TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


7 responses to “Don’t get picc-y with me!

  1. We had some fun Press’n’Seal. It usually involved me removing it far too enthusiastically and taking the clear dressing off Mike’s Hickman line as I did so. No harm done though. Mike had some lovely blue plastic clamps to use “just in case” I accidently cut a line with a sharp implement. I wasn’t that accurate with the darts though.

    As an aside; Toni drove us nuts when we got home with her endless sniffing at where Buddy had been. Anyone would think she was desperate! 😉

  2. Glad it went in okay but showering sounds a tad dangerous!! Ask at the hospital for a plastic sleeve , its a bit like a swimmers armband , slightly inflated with elastic cuffs at either end so its watertight . Might save you a fortune in plasters!! Bridget x

  3. Do you need to take the plastic off again? Would it not be easier just to keep it on? bridget’s suggestion sounds great – I can’t believe (well yes I can of course I can) that the hospital doesn’t supply you with a suitable.. um .. arm condom.

  4. Or at least loads of Peel n Seal or whatever their version might be…. leaving it on would put the entry point at risk of sealed in germs and infection, I suspect. Anyhow, glad that B didn’t attempt further surgical intervention on you, poor thing, and just trying to help.

  5. Glad (I guess?) that you had the Press ‘n’ Seal. I had a vision of your arm sticking out of the shower curtain while you tried to get clean with one hand.

  6. Lots of prayers and good energy coming your way. I know you can overcome this. Just focus on the daffodils and spring and seeing yourself around for many more. Do take care.
    After diagnosis I said that when the daffodils bloom next my cancer would be gone. Well it was out of my bone marrow but took another 2 years to get out of my spine, so I have a close affinity with daffodils.
    Blessings for a quick recovery

  7. The nurses in the transplant clinic at Duke informed us about Glad Press’n Seal and it worked wonders in the shower for Big EZ both in covering his Hickman catheter and now with the staples in his left hip. Sorry about B’s mishap with the scissors!

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