Saturday, May 4, 2013

CF Awareness Month Blog- Illness and Admissions

I can't really remember my first PICC line too well. I think I got my first PICC a few years after I was diagnosed. I remember being completely terrified of the whole process. The nurses were getting everything set up and suddenly I started crying because I was so afraid of what was about to happen. One of the PICC nurses looked up really surprised. She asked me how many PICCs I had in the past and when I told her that this was my first she was really shocked. She assumed that having CF that I was used to the process. She was really sweet to me, but unfortunately she had a lot of trouble getting a PICC in. I started crying again by the third attempt. She felt so bad she made a nurse pop me some popcorn so I could have a treat when it was all done. I remember being afraid, but mostly I remember how kind the nurses were and how well they took care of me despite my uncooperative veins.

Back at home I waited for the home nurse. Again, I was terrified. I had no idea what to expect. When the home nurse arrived she first went to change my PICC dressing (this was before I became allergic to all things with adhesive). I refused to look at my insertion site and I remember feeling woozy after she removed the dressing. The whole idea of a tube coming out of my arm made me feel ill. At the time I would close my eyes when I got my blood drawn so a PICC was something I thought I would never be able to look at. (Now I like watching my blood draws and have absolutely no problem looking at my insertion site). When the nurse came in with my meds I saw lots and lots of large syringes with HUGE needles. I internally panicked because I assumed I would be giving myself injections with those larger than life needles. Turns out, the needles were used for mixing the antibiotics and did not need to pierce my skin.

The last thing I remember was feeling pretty depressed during those 3 weeks. I didn't understand how I went from being normal (I had a late diagnosis) to being hooked up to IV meds. I felt as if I went from being healthy to very very ill overnight (why else would you need IV antibiotics unless you were extremely ill? or so I thought at the time). I started to feel the weight of this still new disease and I had to come to terms with my new life.

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