Monday, September 27, 2010

now i've got the needle and I can breathe but I can't bleed

I had to have my port flushed last week. I asked the NP at my clinic to set up the flush as a flush/learning appt so that I can flush from now on at home. I'm not particulary scared of needles, I have poked myself before for an array of reasons, the two main were hormone injections when I was trying to have my daughter and the time back when 7% hts wasn't premixed yet and I dropped the huge gauged mixing syringe and it went straight into my leg right up to the hilt. I didn't fall over and faint from that, so I think I got the port thing.

Anyway, as is the case with my experience in the medical field, the nurses look at me like I'm CRAZY when I say I will be doing my flushes at home. Apparently they have never had anyone do that. I don't get it, but oh well. I assure them I know plenty of people who do this, there are even videos online.

I also only have an hour until I have to pick my daughter up at school.

So you know you wait forever on pharmacy (not to mention how long intake took - THIS is why I want to do this at home, I don't have time to be waiting around on other people's schedules every month).

Finally the nurse comes in with the port dressing chage kit thing and the saline ahd heplock and we both put on masks and gloves and she has me do the cleaning with the sponge thing. I like that tool, it reminds me of the things that hold the soap in them with a sponge at the end so you can clean the dishes. I digress - I realized that with the mask on, I can no longer see the port. I can see it just fine without that mask, but the mask skews my view and on top of that, when I look down I end up fogging up my glasses.

We decide to take the kit into the bathroom so I can use the mirror. She hands me the needle, which is bigger and scarier than I expect (but I'm tough, yo, I take it in stride) and says, "find the sweet spot and pop it in." Well, I used lidocaine before I came in and can't feel anything but the hardness of the port, so I aim for the middle and poke. The nurse hooks up the saline, but the port won't flush. The nurse fiddles around with it a bit (um, ouch!) and then decides we have to start over. Brand new kit and everything (which totally irks me as a waste, but whatever). She says, "I am just not comfortable with you doing this at home and since you are on a time crunch, I will do it for you now and you can come back next month and we will try the teaching again."

Really, that annoys me because I just missed the spot (I thought), it wasn't all that hard. Anyway, she comes back with the new kit, pops that bad boy in and guess what? It won't flush! Wasn't just me, sucka! Anyway though, I have to leave. So we decided I will get my daughter from school and then come back so that she can try again.

When I get back, I sit in a chair this time. She pops the needle in and the port flushes right away, so our guess is the first time might have been a positional thing from me looking down or standing up or whatever. I do, reluctantly, agree to come back next month for another walk through, but I really feel better knowing I hadn't totally effed up the port flush.

So, nothing is ever easy here in medical land and now my port is kind of sore, not intolerably, but the vest is uncomfortable again.

I do have a cold though, so there is some silver lining that if I have to go on IVs I am all set. Not that I want IVs, mind you. or not that having a cold doesn't suck. But you know...look at the bright side. ha.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I loved you like a long lost brother

My baby brother was married last weekend (the above photo is a few years old though).

It is hard to believe he is a 29 year old married man, I still see him as this little blonde twerp running around trying to hit me with his He-Man sword.

We traveled to San Diego on Wed. to make a bit of a vacation out of the whole thing. My kids traveled EXCELLENTLY - we are totally ready for our first over seas trip, I say. And rumor has it my other bro and sis-in-law might be moving to London for a year, so there is a distinct possibility that will be our first foray across the pond.

Anyway. the weather was a lot colder in CA than I'd expected. I'd planned on catching some waves but 60 degree water temps and a newly healing port don't make for a surfing queen. My boys braved the waves for a bit though, tougher than I, they are.

I did get a bit of shopping in and a very nice lunch with fellow CFer Cowtown - aka Kelly. We had a good laugh over the fact that we were both hacking away at our table. I love hanging out with other cystics. It's something I never did before the last few years and I feel I missed out on it as a kid. The commraderie in the just knowing the person with you shares your secret is really fulfilling, so I owe Kelly a big thanks for making the drive down to see me - despite a phone call from ym ten year old saying, "Mo-om, when are you coming back? This is a fmaily vacation, not a friend vacation!" oy. No rest for the mommas.

The wedding was a success. No one said, "I OBJECT!" The bride was gorgeous and my bro looked great. All the girls think he is a stud. I still see twerp-head when I look at him, but I am proud when ladies fawn about knowing he is my baby bro. Once when I was a cocktail waitress in a Mexican joint, we did a Christmas gift exchange and the girl who i got as my giftee asked if she could have my brother for C-mas.

My half sister was there also with her 6 kids. They live in NM and we don't see one another all too often, so that was a nice treat. My kids had a great time with their cousins. Marlee kept calling them her "new cousins."

My mom also turned 60 when we were there. I talked to my son about how important that was, and that both my grandparents were there to witness it. I tried to get him to imagine what it would feel like to see your child turn 60. He said, "I want you to be at my sixtieth birthday!" It was a bittersweet moment, as I would like nothing more.

I didn't take my vest with me, I have yet to travel with that, and I paid for it a bit. During the ceremony I had to do the Darth Vader breathing so as not to cough thinking, "not now! not now!" Funny how glad I am to see that old boy when I haven't in a while. AND, I can now use both shoulder straps when I vest. It took about 3 weeks for that small pleasure (due to nuevo port).

Now we are back to the grind: school, work, etc. I am soo ready for another vacation!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

the monster mash, it was a graveyard smash

So, we're one week into el port-o and I have to say I don't love it. I know I will when I need to use it. But for the love of pete, I can't imgine having a needle stuck in it! It still really hurts. I had myself convinced that my daughter had knocked it loose yesterday as she likes to come barreling into me. I wasn't looking and the pain of contact when she hit my chest brought me to my knees with a hearty eff word. oy.

I am a bridesmaid in my brother's wedding next Sat. and my dress sits right BELOW the port. C'est la vie cystique, I guess. I hope it starts to look prettier. Somewhere along the way this seemed like a good idea to get out of the way before we left. Now I ain't so sure. And while I have removed my own stitches, it looks as though the port is here to stay.

I think it needs a name.

In other fascinating news, I made my own zipper jewelry hair barrette which is super cute. I love seeing things I like and making them myself. truly rewarding.

I had some more intellectual stuff to say but the truth is my pain meds are kicking in and I no longer give a shit. Oh, I was going to say something about meds. Now, it might just be the crowd I run with, but people are just not shy about asking if they can have some of your pain meds. HEL-LO, I am in PAIN here. Clearly these people have never felt the "you are a junkie" vibe some medical practitioners - vowing to save your soul from addiction - give you when you call for narc refills. I know i have been guilty of this very thing in lives past. But I will never make that faux pas again. Off soap box.

Wee one wants to watch "Scooby Doo" so I must surrender el computadora to her whims. She is so cool though. She watched all of season one of "The Munsters" on netflix and wants to be a vampire mermaid for Halloween.


port, one week post

mon visage - see the zipper hair thing?