Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Port Flushes

I am not going to lie, sometimes having a port is a pain in the butt. Mainly trying to coordinate port flushes when you have a toddler, a husband with an insane work schedule, and life in general. This past month was the worst as schedules kept changing and I had to call and reschedule my appointment twice only to have my husband tell me that the final time I decided on didn't work either. I was approaching 6 weeks without a flush and decided that I could not risk another week and brought Kaylee with me. I couldn't get anyone to watch her and she really is such a mellow kid I figured it wouldn't be a problem.

Poor little Kaylee fell asleep in the car. I had to pull her sleeping body out of the car into the bright sunshine and carry her to the somewhat busy cancer center. She was awoken by the shuffle of the center and was groggy and disoriented when I signed in. The receptionist looked at Kaylee and asked if I had someone to watch her. When I told her I couldn't get childcare she explained that they don't allow children under 13 back where chemo is administered and a nurse would have to come and watch her while I got my flush. My daughter is social and quite charming, but she is not the type of child that will gladly leave mama to go to a stranger. In fact, I was positive hysterics, especially given her sleepy state, would ensue.

And just like that, I cried. Not in front of the receptionist, but in the waiting area. I am really not an emotional person so I surprised even myself, but there I was silently crying in the waiting area. I just felt bad. I felt bad for making my baby miss her nap, I felt bad for dragging her to so many appointments, I felt bad some stranger was going to take her from me, I felt bad that I have been so sick for so long which effects my energy level and my mood with her, I felt bad that CF already inconveniences her life so very much. I guess it all built up and poured over in that stupid cancer center waiting room. Luckily, only one person witnessed my moment of weakness and he uncomfortably avoided eye contact with me. I guess if you have to cry a cancer center is a pretty common place to do it.

By some act of kindness the nurse assigned to me snuck Kaylee back with me and we sat side by side in the infusion chair. Kaylee read her alphabet book, telling both the nurse and I what each letter was and what picture was on each page. At one moment she looked over at the nurse working on my port and said in a matter of fact tone, "clean, clean mama port!" She went on "reading" to us until my labs were done and port was "clean clean".

Kaylee reminds me over and over again that even when I feel bad for putting her through so many things most *almost* 2 year olds never experience that she is just happy to be with mama. She finds joy in life whether in an infusion chair or a busy doctor's office. She reminds me small children are resilient and can easily find joy and excitement even in the most boring situations. She is helping me to notice the beauty in all of life's experiences both good and bad. Everyone knows a mother spends her life teaching her children, but children teach their mothers the most important life lessons.


  1. I needed this reminder today... thanks!!! I often have similar thoughts. And, um, don't tell anyone, but I totally just went 4 months without a port flush (!!!!!!!) for those same reasons, and it was just fine. ;) I do my own, though, which is a lot easier usually than having to go in to do them (which I used to do).

    1. Hugs, being a CF mama can be tough emotionally.

      I am new to the whole port thing so I was super worried it would be full of clots and unusable. Glad to know that being a little late doesn't automatically mean doom and gloom!! And, uhhh I so want to learn to flush my own. it would be so much easier!!

  2. Not all children are this resilient - and I would change the word to content, or well-adjusted, or maybe just plain happy. My guess is that you and your husband have a lot to do with little Kaylee being the happy trooper you describe. Because she is treated kindly, she is 'just happy to be with mama'. That is not always the case. Despite the challenges you face as a family, you're doing a wonderful job. ps I know it's stressful, but try to plan ahead and get the help you need (babysitters, family) to take care of yourself. No guilt allowed! :o)

    1. You bring up a very valid point. Children are extremely vulnerable and we can't assume they can just push through hardships and be fine without a lot of care and work from the parents.

      And I am working on the taking better care of myself guilt free! I always appreciate the reminders because I really do need them!