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Peripheral Vision

Posted Nov 13 2009 10:03pm
Okay, so if you've been following this blog at all for the past few weeks/months, you're probably familiar with the event that I've now termed "The Great Port Debacle of 2009" and its subsequent less-dramatic, but equally annoying, little sibling, "The Not-Quite-S0-Great PICC Clot Fiasco of 2009." These two events happened within a few weeks of each other (although the Port Debacle had, in fact, been going on for several months prior to its actual diagnosis) and made for a very exciting, if somewhat over the top, end of summer/beginning of fall.

Ah, memories.

Anyway, those days are long gone, and, like any good CFer, I've pretty much moved on to the next big thing at this point. And that thing just happens to be . . . (cue the drumroll please) . . .

peripheral IVs.


View of my arm, circa 1989 (er, I mean yesterday)

So call me old fashioned. Call me old school. Heck, call me retro if you must, just please don't compare me to the Lower East Side Hipsters when you do it. The point is that my veins and I have been partying like it's 1989 for the past week and half or so, and weirdly enough, it actually hasn't been too bad. I mean, aside from the hair bands, the teased bangs, and the Saved by the Bell reruns, we've been managing just fine during our little trip down memory lane. In fact, to date I've had only 4 peripherals in 12 days, and considering that one lasted less than a full day and hardly counts, I'd say that's a pretty decent record. Especially when you add in the fact that most of the placements have been home runs, meaning the line is placed on the first try. Actually, scratch that -- it's not just "pretty decent", it's all out amazing.

I'm pretty sure that I owe this miracle of vein cooperativeness to my 9 1/2 years of portdom. Prior to getting my port, my veins had pretty much put out the "closed for new business" sign when it came to either peripherals or PICCs. Rolling, spasms, collapses, general refusal to give a blood draw -- you name the game, my veins have played it. I'm pretty sure I used to hear an audible groan when I walked into the IV lab for my placements, and nurses have been known to change shifts just to avoid my "veins of terror", but try telling that to my new awesome home health nurse, Janice, and she'd probably just laugh. Because as far as she's concerned, 9 years later, my veins (while perhaps a bit overused and overtired) are nothing more than petulant children waiting to be coaxed into line. What a difference a decade makes, I guess.

There's a lot of debate raging right now amidst my doctors about whether I should remain catheter-free or go for another port. Pre-clot we had agreed on a course of action, but now it all seems up in the air. The thing is, though, I'm suddenly a LOT less anxious about the prospect of going into transplant and beyond without a permanent IV line, now that I know my veins have managed to resurrect themselves to some degree. And it makes me, in retrospect, all the happier that I got the port placed when I did, because I'm thrilled that I managed to save at least some use of my veins for later -- after all, as permanent as a port might seem at the time, you never know when you're going to lose it.

For now, though, I'm happy just to be the old-young cystic with the outdated IV in her forearm. I haven't managed to score one of those nifty IV boards they used to give me at Children's Hospital yet, but it's still pretty darn cool to know that I don't have to get a PICC pulled at the end of all this. And yes, I used the word "nifty" without even a trace of irony, but that's totally allowed when you're going peripheral . . . or so I've been told.
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