First, I had a paracentesis. This is something they do to remove excess fluid that is collecting in your abdomen. They clean you well, then put this sticky paper on you to maintain sterility and reduce risk of infection. Then they stick this huge needle in you near where the ultrasound says the fluid is (one time I had to turn on my side to get all the fluid to pool together). Then they hook the needle up to a bottle and suction out the fluid until the ultrasound shows it is gone. It looked like coca cola to me in the bottle.
Then they remove the needle and the sticky paper and your body is either blue or orange, depending on what color the sticky on the sticky paper was. With my third paracentesis they had me actually go into a surgical room because they planned to put in a drain, but they decided there really wasn’t enough fluid in there to justify that so no drain. Look, something I didn’t end up having in my body!
Next up was having a port put in my chest. Interestingly, this was done by the colorectal surgeon. This allows for IV type stuff without having to poke me looking for a vein. It was for my chemo and then became the main way I do my TPN.
Once I was on TPN, and it was taking up the port every night, I needed another way to get chemo because I kept that on for 3 days. I went back into the hospital for a quick outpatient procedure to put a PICC line in. This is in my right arm and has two inputs.
We’ve heard don’t do TPN in the PICC, and we’ve heard don’t do TPN in the port, and we’ve heard it doesn’t matter. I ripped my PICC line almost out one night and eventually had to have it replaced. Then they put it in so tight that it was irritating my skin and I had to go in to have it loosened up a little bit.
Finally, the beloved pump. It comes in many different sizes and shapes. At the hospital, I had three to do my two-part TPN and fluids or whatever. The good news is most medicine was also in IV form since I wasn’t keeping things down well that week, with all the vomitous incidents. At the oncologist office I usually had 2 to handle the different inputs. And then a small one in a small bag to take home for 3 days to continue the infusion.
Of course I also have a pump for the TPN every night. We got a more modern version a few months ago and it even lets us set a delayed start so Anthony can set it up for me before he goes somewhere but it doesn’t start that early so it doesn’t end that early (12 hours from 5pm is 5am people). Pumps are good things.