My Twins' Delivery Story - Pt. 4

10:42:00 AM


24 hours passed without me having any chills or fevers. So, I was finally going to be discharged from the hospital after being there for 5 days. Yay me! The nurses told me that I would be leaving the hospital with a new IV once they removed the two that I already had in my arms. So, when a nurse came back to remove my IVs, I asked her about the new one I would be getting. She said that she wasn't told I needed a new IV, but she would check. She checked and said that I would be getting something called a PICC line. So, I asked her about it and she said that the PICC "team" would explain everything once they got there. I didn't think anything about it, because I assumed that a PICC line is the same thing as an IV or that the insertion of it would be the same. I was so unprepared for what happened next.

So, later in the afternoon, a woman wearing surgical scrubs walks in my room and says she was the lead of the PICC team. Let's call her Lady A. As she's introducing herself and giving me paperwork to sign, I noticed that two other women (Lady B & Lady C) in surgical scrubs walked into the room and started moving my things around and spreading large blue paper sheets around the room. Lady B sprayed down the table that I used to eat in bed and wrapped it with plastic and then placed a blue paper sheet on top of it. 

I was confused because it seemed like they were transforming the room into a pop-up operating room. So, Lady A is asking me questions about my heart and health and asking me to sign forms, I asked her why were the other women spreading all these sheets around the room for a simple IV insertion. She said they were just making sure everything was sanitary. So, I was thinking oh ok, that's really nice, not knowing what was about to happen next. 

Anyway, Lady B asks me to lay down on my bed and then Lady C raised it as high as it would go. Lady B asked me to put my arm on the table for her. She started examining it looking for a vein. Then, she asked for an ultrasound machine. So, I asked her what was the machine for because I've had so many IVs in my life and I've never been through all of this for one. It's at this moment that she explains what a PICC line is and that it's actually a catheter that has to travel up your arm to the main vein near your heart and floats there. Wait, what!!?!?

Why didn't anyone tell me this before? So, I'm panicking and Lady C comes over and offers to hold my hand during the procedure. Um, yeah, that's really nice of you to offer but could someone explain "the procedure." So, Lady A says the needle for the insertion of the catheter is a bit larger than a normal IV so they have to numb me and then make an incision to get it in once they find a suitable vein. That, of course, does not make me feel any better, but I let them proceed. 

So, Lady B is rolling the wand for the ultrasound machine looking for a vein that looked large enough for the catheter to go through. Lady A is looking at the screen and making recommendations. Lady B is pressing on my veins with each recommendation and saying that my veins are very small and she thinks that the catheter they have is too big and will cause the vein to collapse or worse puncture. (Um, I can hear you.) Lady A, the lead, disagrees. So, Lady B numbs my arm, makes her incision and I feel a weird pushing of something into my arm. She explains that I am numb but I'm just feeling the catheter and there's a bit of resistance. Well, it turns out she was right. My vein collapses. So, she has to take the catheter out, stitch the hole, and start the whole process over in another location. 

At this point, I'm sweating bullets because I'm like do these women know what they're doing.  This thing will be hanging out by my heart. We can't have whoopsy moments. Anyway, for the second attempt, they unanimously agree that they should use a different catheter. Lady A explained that they always avoid using that catheter because it's not really used anymore and requires different care than the newer models. So, Lady A finally gets the catheter in. It's kind of hard to explain the device that was hanging out of my arm right above the crevice of my elbow. I didn't think to take a picture of it. But, it looked slightly similar to the picture below, except that it wasn't taped down and that blue piece was just left dangling from my arm.


So, Lady B & Lady C removed all of the blue paper sheets and cleaned up.  Lady A then gives me a one sheet paper and says "these are the instructions for the other catheter but with the kind of line you have, remember you have to flush it three times, twice before the medication and once after."  So, I glance at the sheet and I have no idea what I'm looking at.  On the sheet is a large picture of someone's arm with a different device, and under that is four lines of medical jargon that I couldn't even begin to decipher.   I tell the lady I don't have any medical training and I don't know what she's talking about.   Right as we were talking, the twins were brought back in and my daughter was ready to be fed.  Lady A took this opportunity to sneak out.  

The nurse that brought the twins in stayed to help me since the device was in my right arm and the numbing effect was wearing off.  I asked her about the instruction sheet I was given and whether she knew what it meant.  I told her I was concerned because I felt like I wasn't given enough information before and after the procedure.  So, I have no clue as to what to actual do with this device, if these are the instructions.  She paged the doctor from the CDC for me and when she arrived I showed her the instructions and the device.  The doctor said she was unfamiliar with the kind of device I had and she couldn't understand why Lady A would give me that paper as instructions since 1) I'm not a nurse and 2) it's not for the device that's in my arm.  She called Lady A over the phone and Lady A caught an attitude and said "everything she needs to know is on the paper.  It's not rocket science!  Oh, and I forgot to tell her that someone will call her to arrange for delivery of the medication to her house tomorrow."  Then, she actually hangs up on the doctor.  Dafuq!

So, the doctor says she's going to find someone familiar with my version of the device.  Apparently, it hasn't been used in ages because she couldn't find anyone.  Anyway, she makes arrangements for a nurse to come to my house to help me with the device the following day for my first dose of the antibiotic.  Thank goodness!  Finally, I was discharged from the hospital and went home with the twins.  







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