March 18, 2009

i ran all the way up a hill

So Monday morning, bright and early, I went to Columbia's east 60th street facility to get my PICC placed. this is a PICC line and the blue t-handle part is the introducer:

I got there before they were open, but one Dr. Sterling was already there. When his nurses arrived, we got busy. The procedure was very professional and I felt safer there than uptown. I know trained RNs can put PICCs in, but I just felt better that a doctor was doing it. He only gave me one shot of lidocaine, though, and I don't think that was enough - the lidocaine did something - but it wasn't the painless experience I had in January. However, he was very fast and they had an imager right there, so the doctor could see exactly where the catheter was sitting as he placed it. I didn't have to wait four hours for a chest x-ray this time. But the sight of my lungs - a whole lotta white on the X-ray - made me imagine for a moment that I could hear a bell. (These are not my lungs, but you can see the PICC line in the x-ray - it is a faint, regular arc in the heart area.)

I stayed at the clinic to run my first full dose of Vancomycin. I'd had a reaction to this on Friday, so DC'd it until I could do it in a controlled environment, in case epinephrine would be needed. I took 50mg of Benadryl beforehand and had no problems with the Vanco, though the Benadryl made me hazy. I continued using the Benadryl for the next few doses, then last night cut the Benadryl to 25mg and today didn't use any. I guess I have desensitized to the Vanco. I have to keep my fluid intake up. Vanco is hard on the kidneys, and with the high blood sugar under control, I'm not as thirsty as I was - so I have to remember to keep drinking.
OK! On to the run report: sunny and 60 degrees! WOW! Whether or not my lungs were going to cooperate, I got out there. It was so nice to wear shorts and only one shirt. :D

The run itself was not one for the record books. It was short and interrupted by a lot of walking and pauses for traffic or coughing, but there was more running than there was walking - generally about a 3:1 ratio, I guess. That gives me hope. The coughing brought up some gunk, but not as much as I was bringing up a couple weeks ago - so the drugs are working.

Two things brand this run a success: first, I made it up a hill! Sure, it wasn't a long hill - just 200 yards between 5th and 6th avenues, but I was about 3/4 up it before I realized I was doing OK and that I might make it to the top. So I pushed on. Of course, I had to walk once I reached the top and I thought my chest was going to explode, but it was nice to finally do that hill.

Second: by the end of the run, when I stopped at the grocery store, I was able to actually draw a deep breath. I still can't get air in and out of my lungs very fast, but this was the deepest breath I've drawn in weeks and it felt so wonderful I nearly cried. I took advantage of how open my lungs were (once I got home) by taking a quick shower and sitting down to do a whole round of therapy with the Vest and all four nebulized medications.
Had a nurse, Cy, visit this morning to change the dressing on the PICC. I'd had my doubts about this nurse, since he didn't sound too clear on the phone and seemed fairly stubborn about what the written orders were. But he was a nice enough guy, was neatly dressed and well-prepared and was quick and efficient. If I am ever guilty of underestimating older professionals, I'll have to remember Cy.

Last topic: showering. Because of the IV line, I can't get that area of my arm wet, which boils down to showering with my arm elevated and doing all the shampooing and soaping and shaving with my other hand. This is not as easy as it sounds. Try it sometime: put a sock around your bicep and keep it dry while showering. If it gets moist, you fail. Nurse and doctors will say, just wrap it in saran wrap. Yeah. They don't seem to be aware that a) water will still find its way along your arm under the saran wrap and b) it's difficult to wrap your upper arm with saran wrap and obtain anything resembling water-tight with ONE HAND. I think I may by one of these PICC line protectors:

OK, really last topic: over on Because I Said So, it appears little Brooklyn sent Indiana Jones on an adventure. I don't remember how I found this blog, but I read it often because it approaches parenting in a style that I hope I can emulate some day.


Karen said...

Glad that your line is in and that you are on your way. Good run! It's been awhile since you've said that you ran all the way up. Dad and I also made it up the hill (yeah, it was on the bikes).

Ryan said...

Wow I hope this works for the best! Hang in there.