Sunday, January 26, 2014

Port Problems

My hospital stay was only supposed to be four days maximum, but due to many issues including a long holiday weekend my departure kept getting delayed. Tuesday morning, when my insurance company office was open again, I was given the approval to get home IVs and was preparing to go home. All of the sudden a doctor walks in (during my treatments) to talk to me. He started explaining how a port is inserted and that ideally a port tubing ends in the superior vena cava, just upstream of the right atrium (at this point I am wondering why the heck he is telling me this since I got my port 2 months ago). He then went on to tell me that mine was significantly lower in a place that could cause life threatening problems. 

Needless to say, I was speechless. I have had the port for two months with no mention of any issues. I also did not understand how radiology, who used imaging to place my port, could have placed it too deep. The doctor told me that if I choose to have the port removed and then put back in they would try to get me in as soon as possible, but that it would delay my discharge. My head was spinning! Here I was getting all ready to go home and suddenly I am facing an unexpected surgery. 

I started processing out loud to the doctor (resident?). I don't understand how two months passed without any mention of this issue. Why did radiology not see this when they did imaging after the placement? The doctor (not my CF doc) explained that the pharmacy looks at all x-rays of port and PICC placements before issuing home IVs and they are the ones that noticed the port placement issue and refused to send IVs since they deemed using the port as unsafe.

I was now even more confused at this point! What x-ray did they get this info from? The doc left to investigate more. He came back and said they were send X-rays from an outside facility. Now I was baffled! I have not had any x-rays since 2008 (all in the hospital) and my port was placed 2 months ago so what x-ray could they possibly be looking at. The RT in the room pulled up my x-ray history. I asked him to check my last x-ray and to see if I had a PICC placement in that x-ray. Sure enough, my last x-ray was 2008 and I did have a PICC. 

This new informatin brought a huge sense of relief. There is no way they were looking at the correct imaging of my chest 2 months ago because it simply does not exist. I am assuming my PICC placement in 2008 was too deep and they were not looking at my port, but rather at a PICC placed 6 years ago! Someone at the pharmacy needs to check dates before giving such information. And the doctor (who I believe was a resident) should have done his homework before coming in and scaring the crap out of me.

We did an x-ray in the hospital just to confirm the placement of the port and sure enough my port was just fine. So after all that stress and confusion I am happy to say that my port problem is not actually a problem at all!


  1. Oh my gosh!!! I think I would have been fuming! Glad you're finally home.

    1. Yeah, I was less than pleased. Sometimes going to a "teaching" hospital can be a real pain!