Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What a Day!

Remember how I was whining last night about going to bed at 11:15? Oh yeah, now that time seems like heaven after last night. If I get to bed at 11:15 tonight, I will consider myself blessed.
I took a bunch of pictures so I can explain this whole set up.
First, the medical supplies:


Our whole kitchen table filled up with this boys stuff!

Next, the Vanco came in gravity fed IV bags. They look like this:


You hang the bag up on an IV pole and then open that white round dial thingy to let just a certain amount out at a time. The nurse who came out told us we could put it all the way to open if it was taking too long. Take note of that browny-clear cylinder thingy. If you have never seen one before, the medicine drips from the bag into the cylinder and then runs down the tubing into Little Man's arm.

We spent hours last night watching for those stupid drips!!! It took too long, much too long. Hours and hours. I was up til 2 in the morning watching that stupid thing. Up at six to start his next dose, three hours later, it was still dripping, dripping, very slowly. I called the Pharmacy for home health and told them they were ruining my life and to please, please help me. They sent these instead:


I call them med balls. The one on the right is empty, the one on the left is full. There is a balloon inside the outer "skin". The balloon is filled with the right amount of medicine and the pressure from the balloon forces the medicine out at the correct rate. Problem solved. The Vanco delivered in one hour. Had no idea how grateful I would be for that today.

Little Man will NOT leave his PICC alone, he keeps picking, (ha, ha, the pun is unintentional) at it and unwrapping it and fidgeting with it until I was going crazy. I kept wrapping it with the stuff they sent and tape and layers and layers and he still kept at it. He was playing a computer game and I went to my bedroom. Just a minute later the boy is standing near my door saying, "it's okay mom, I fixed it" I was flying across the room to see what he had in his hand.
This my friends, is the end of his PICC line. A tube that runs all the way to his heart. He fiddled with it so much he broke it. Breaking a PICC line is much like cutting an artery, it bleeds without stopping and you can run the risk of actually bleeding out or exsangunating. He had put a wad of toilet paper on the end that was bleeding and was saying, "there, I fixed it, I did". I grabbed it and held it until I could find the clamp and close it off. Bald Man thank goodness was just a few minutes from home and we sat tight so he could drive to the ER with us. I didn't dare do it by myself, and run the risk of him bleeding even more. I really thought there would be no way to fix it and that we would be totally screwed. They were able to replace the end, but the IV team was fairly sure it would be too clotted to save too. Guess what? It wasn't. Whew. The best part of it? I have never, ever been in and out of an ER so dang fast. Time is of the essence with PICC line stuff, so they couldn't leave us waiting. We were in and out in under half an hour. I was in shock!
Now we are home again. We have the last dose of the night running right now and then I am off to bed at the now relatively EARLY hour of 11 or so.
And to answer the questions posed, well, yes, I could change the hours that he is getting his Vanco, he just needs it every 8 hours. I could do it from 11 to 12 and then not do it until 7 but that is even later than from 10 to 11. If I move up the dose to 9, then I have to be up at the unholy hour of 4 to get his Vanco out the fridge so it is warm by 5. That is really a bad idea. I can't escape the fact that it takes two hours plus change to do his med dose. I am just so grateful tomorrow is the last day. Just a bit after 11 pm tomorrow, after his last dose is done, homecare will be over to remove his line.
And yes, Yondalla, I have Bald Man do a dose, but the problem with that is research shows that the more caretakers involved in line care, the more likely you are to run into problems. The clean up is minimal, what eats the time up after the dose is finished is unhooking, flushing his line with saline and then flushing again with heperin to stop the blood in the line from clotting up. The whole while I am doing that, being hyperaware this has to be a pretty sterile procedure, with me being careful not to touch anything that shouldn't be touched and being paranoid that I did anyway. Just one more day, one more day. I can do it. Compared to the 3 months he had his last PICC line, two days is a breeze, right?

3 Kids Who Want To Play:

elizasmom said...

Wow. Thank you for explaining all that — from a perspective of someone who has no experience, it was really helpful to understand what's involved here. I'm glad you only have to worry and lose sleep over this for another day.

Yondalla said...

If you hadn't started with the explanation of everything I would have been genuinely terrified when I heard he pulled out the line. I am so glad you were able to take care of it. It must have been terrifying. "Here Mom, I pulled out my heart. All better now."

Uggg...I do hope you are able to get sleep without putting him into restraints.

Two days won't be a breeze, but you will survive. I'll keep praying for little man.

Poor little guy. He clearly doesn't understand all this, which must make it hard for him to tolerate, but less frightening in other ways I guess.

K J and the kids said...

OH my you woman of the year.
I can't imagine what must have gone through your head when he walked out with his picc line in his hand.
Lets see....get him to the emergency room...beat him senselss for messing with it in the first place....get him to the er.....scream at him for pulling it out...get him to the er.
I'm so happy that they were able to fix it up. AND IN A 1/2 hour. NICE !