Monday, November 18, 2013

Calming The PICC Reaction

Start here to follow my most recent PICC dilemma.

So the nurses and I are looking at my angry arm and trying to figure out what to do. At this point I had only received 2 days of IV antibiotics (I had the PICC one day before my IVs arrived) and I had 12 days of IVs left. We knew that if this reaction progressed like the last PICC I would never make it the 12 days. I felt like I was in the same position of deciding between the health of my lungs and the health of my arm. 

My dad, knowing how bad my PICC line reactions get, was researching without my knowing. He has access to a lot of medical journals and studies that the average public doesn't so he put it to good use. He found a few articles and brought them up to my PICC nurse. (You are never too old to be "rescued" by your dad). At the same time I begged for steroids- topical or oral. We followed the protocol my dad had researched and the doctor prescribed a topical steroid. 

We cleansed my arm with sterile saline and used alcohol only on my line and insertion site as to not irritate my skin anymore than it already was. We then covered the skin around my insertion site with topical steroid (with sterile q-tips while making sure not to contaminate the steroid cream which was also sterile). We used steri strips to hold the PICC in place despite the fact that they irritate my skin, but I needed something holding the PICC in. They then covered my arm with (sterile) Vaseline gauze because the regular gauze was sticking to my blisters causing the skin to tear off with each dressing change. We then covered my arm with sterile gauze and finished with coban. 

Within a few days my arm started to improve which was a wonderful change from last time when each dressing changed revealed a more damaged and angry arm. I actually started to get hopeful that I would complete the course of IVs without further complications to my arm which was a huge relief. The problem was that they needed me to come to the hospital for a dressing change daily. This proved to be a difficult task. They were open 9am-3pm and I needed to find childcare for Kaylee for my appointments. Since most people I know work finding someone to watch Kaylee for the 1 1/2 hours it took to go to the hospital was beyond stressful. Kaylee also learned quickly that I had to leave her everyday and she protested by becoming clingy and crying hysterically when I would leave which made it even harder to find someone to watch her. 

Somehow we made it work and I got through my 2 weeks of IVs (although I was allergic to Vancomycin and spent the second week covered in hives). Unfortunately at the end of my 2 weeks I caught a nasty cold which filled my lungs with mucus all over again. I did not feel as bad as pre-IVs, but I did not feel nearly as good as I should coming off of IVs. I was beyond frustrated and tried of being sick! 

I begrudgedly called my doc and asked for more meds and a Port. He gave me orals, and to my dismay told me to keep my PICC until my port was placed which meant more dressing changes and more time away from my daughter. They did change my daily changes to every 3 days since my PICC was not being used and my skin had healed relatively well. 

Nothing is easy when it comes to me, that is for sure!!

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