It won't get better if you PICC it

The registrar came to see me yesterday afternoon and explained they were
still struggling to get a slot for me to have a central line fitted but
they wanted to press on with treatment and so they were going to try to put
a PICC line in. That's a Peripheral Intravenous Central Catheter or
something like that.

This is a line that goes in one of the veins in the crook of my arm up the
arm and along the chest into one of the big veins near the heart. This is a
procedure they can do on themselves on the ward.

The snag is that it depends on the quality and accessibilty of the veins in
your arms and then how easy the route is up the arm and along the chest.

They tried my left arm first. I felt a very sharp scratch ( more than you
feel for a normal blood test ) and then there was a warm feeling down my
arm. I thought this was something they had injected but when I looked
across ( I always look away at any initial incisions ) the warm feeling was
in fact caused by the small river of blood running down my arm and pooling
on the protective pad they had put there. This was all perfectly normal
apparently and showed they were in the vein.

Unfortunately this line got stuck somewhere near the shoulder joint where
the first turn is and despite moving my arm and neck it wouldn't go any
further. They decided to leave that line there in case it was close enough
for them to use and moved on to my right arm.

After three painful attempts getting in to the vein in my right arm the
catheter went all the way in and they were happy enough with that to remove
the one from my left arm ( A painless procedure ).

I was then sent for a chest x-ray to confirm the siting of the line. I
asked what the x-ray could show that would mean the line wasn't usable and
was told well I could have a collapsed lung ( though I might have noticed
that by now ) or instead of turning right at the shoulder and across my
chest the line could have gone up into the veins in my neck and towards the
head. ( Cue visions of a head full of chemo )

Thankfully the x-ray showed the line was fine. At the moment I can move my
arm pretty freely though once it has the drip attached to it, it will be a
bit more restricted.

A PICC line is not as good as a central hickman line for this reason but
it's better than the next option which was to put a temporary central line
in through my groin!

So I should be starting my chemo today in my new line.

I didn't sleep too badly though was a bit restless between 02:00 and 03:00


Andy H said…
First posting of May!

I think you'll have to start rating these postings on a squeamishness scale for those who are reading them whilst having breakfast.

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