Search my blog

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Picc line

On Friday I had to go back into hospital as they had arranged for me to have my picc line fitted as they had a cancellation. The tablets I was supplied with on the Thursday I was told not to take as they would probably start the treatment earlier now. I was going to have the picc line fited on Monday and they had given me some Dexamethasone and a few other tablets to get me started while I waited and then start the treatment on the Thursday. Now that has all changed.

Friday I first thing I had a cannula fitted to my right wrist. They put it there as so that they could fit the picc line to my left arm and if they couldn’t get it in they could still use my right arm. With the cannula fitted I had to wait for some platelets to arrive, which they gave to me through the cannula afterwards they gave me a unit of blood. Not long after starting the blood the Nurse found out I was having my picc line fitted at about one (which in hospital time means anywhere between one and a couple of hours). She increased the flow of the blood to see if she could get it in before going into theatre, but was unable to, so I had to go into theatre with the blood attached to the cannula on my right arm. It was better to do that, otherwise they would have had to waste it and as I am a rare blood group (trust me A-Neg) they would rather get it into me if they could.

I lay on the bed and had my left arm extended on a support. The Dr (I’m not sure if she was a doctor or surgeon, but I will call her a doctor) asked me if I wanted to have some local anaesthetic or just let her do it with out. I did think about it for almost two milliseconds! If she is asking if I want it, it means it will probably hurt! – Yes please as I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to pain. The pain alone from the local was enough to make me wince. She said that sometimes that having the local anaesthetic is more painful than having the picc line fitted. Which made me relax a bit knowing that at least it wouldn’t hurt that much. You would think I should have learned by now that the nurses/doctors have probably never had these things done to them, so they are only going off what people have told them, people who probably have a much better pain threshold than me!

picc_line She waited a minute or two for the anaesthetic to work (I don’t think it ever works on me) and then sliced into my arm. It stung, but I could bear it. The type of picc line I was having was thicker than usual as I was having one with two tubes in rather than the one. They use an ultra-sound scan to check the veins to see if they are thick enough and then pass the line up through it all the way to the heart (at least that is the plan). As usual though, nothing goes to plan and it got stuck at the top of my arm and they were struggling to get it any further. By this time it was really painful and only just managing to cope without screaming out loud.  To try and get it passed the vein they cut into the top of my arm to try and manoeuvre it through, but couldn’t. They then used the ultra sound again to find a different route through and so had to pull it back out and then back through another route. I think it was this point that the other nurse was holding my shoulders down and I was again using my panting method to try and get over the pain. The nurse telling me not to move my arm – easy for them to say. Another thing I’ve learned is never believe a nurse when they say ‘Nearly done’! I think they told me that about 20 times. I could feel the blood dripping down my arm from the various holes they had put in, which was a bit surreal having the blood connected coming in on one arm and squirting out of the other. As they are nearly done they take some X-Rays to see how close they are to the heart and then adjust it accordingly.

It was finally over and I could feel them stitching it up etc. Next time I think I will take my own anaesthetic in with me in the form of a few bottles of wine, I’m sure I would feel the pain less.

Back at the ward I had to wait for the blood to run through  and as they got the first bag through quicker than normal I still had time for the second back before the end of the day; which took me up to just after 4 O’clock.

I’m back at the hospital on Monday to have my chemo pump bag fitted, start the Velcade and the Dexamethasone. That is of course providing there are no further complications.


  1. Well it was nice to meet up again Sean, as last time we got our hair cut off :)

    I didn't know you had just had all this done with so much problems, you really are very lucky (not) also I didn't know you were A-Neg same as me, so if you need any I am about. Just not all in one go please.
    I will pop over again soon, take care Nigel

  2. Although I am not suffering the same cancer, mine is a very rare "intravascular Lymphoma", which if googled is only found 'post mortem' I feel for you.

    I too have a failed (or relapsed as they say) bone marrow transplant, and it is now in my head, since November, 6 months after my BMT (I told them not to give me my own cells back, but they insisted that, as I was well it wasnt in my bone marrow, no test comes back pos you see (as they dont know what they are looking for, just that I get terrible temperatures and rhigours and respond to chemo).

    Have just finished my 2nd course of Idoram treatment, via a hickman line, my 2nd, which this treatment became infected so has been removed.

    Anyway - I was on a whacking great dose of Dexamethazone, over a 12 hour period for 3 days, coinciding with the chemos (idurubicin, cytarabin, then methatrexate); and boy I was like the incredible hulk - anyone came near me I would bite their head off.

    Also, Im A+, so the last blood transfusion had to travel from Bristol; Im at the QE Birmingham.

    I agree with the exercise bike by the bed, once you are neutrapenic, I feel like a prisoner. I have a mini-stepper to keep me going.

    On a funny side. When in this time (3 weeks), the tea trolly came round, the man said "would you like tea" I replied yes please, "sugar" he said, no just milk. When I looked in my cup - there was just milk!!

    I hope your hospital food, or gruel as I call it, is way better than ours!! Although, since the BMT Ive been left with no sense of taste or smell, some days things are fowl, other days nothing at all; I took spicy ketchup in with me, it then feels like im eating something!!

  3. Hi Sean you are really going through the mill with your treatment. I'm in pain just reading it. I do honestly hope it works. You have tried so hard to find a way to recovery. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Maria. All the very best to you. xxxxx Carol J

  4. Sean, I will intend that this painful installation is the route to better health for you and hats off to Nigel for his offer (above) - that's a pal for you!

  5. Nigel is my brother sandy :-)

  6. Good answers in return of this matter with genuine arguments and explaining all regarding that.

    Feel free to surf to my homepage ... Evgeni Malkin Authentic Jersey