And, as often happens when one journey ends, another has just begun. A very exciting new journey, in this case. This very morning at approximately 8:30 am, I welcomed a new arrival into my life. Or, more specifically, I guess I should say I welcomed a new arrival into my chest. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud to introduce to you . . .
. . . my new chest port.
Seriously, isn't it lovely? It sits so high on my chest for a couple of reasons: 1) because it is threaded into my jugular vein in my neck, and 2) so that the transplant team won't have to remove it during surgery. It also sits off to the side somewhat, so that in actuality the port sits about three inches above my right breast and about an inch and half maybe from where arm meets my chest. This means that even accessed you can't see it wearing regular clothes, even a v-neck (obviously tank tops would be the exception to that rule). Right now it's accessed so I can finish up these IVs, but they also sorta loaded it up on gauze and whatnot, so normally when accessed it won't look quite so big. I'll be sure to post a pic once I remove the dressing and everything as well.
I cannot even begin to explain how happy I am to have a port again! Even right up until last night I was having some second (and third, fourth, fifth, and sixth) thoughts. I just really didn't want any more complications or chances for infection, and I wasn't entirely thrilled at the prospect of facing the OR again. (Sidenote: ports are often inserted by interventional radiology, just like a PICC -- which is how my original port was inserted 10 years ago. This time, due to all the complications with the removal of my last port, the fact that it took over 3 hours to place my last PICC, and the clot complications that they believe were caused by trauma due to difficulty with placement, everyone thought it would be safer to just have a vascular surgeon perform the procedure in the OR. Thank you, Columbia Presbyterian vascular surgery team for being so wise, helpful, and downright amazing!) But despite my misgivings, I can honestly say that waking up at 5 am to travel the 168+ blocks to my hospital was the hardest part of this whole ordeal. And as I sit here now, enjoying the flow of antibiotics into my system with absolutely no peripheral line in site and both hands free to type without pain, I am already SO grateful to my doctors for pushing me to try again on the port front. What a huge relief!
I am going to have to go on blood thinners again just to make sure there are no clot issues in the first couple of weeks. Small price to pay for sure. And as for the pain, so far there's not much. The lidocaine is just now wearing off though, so I've gone ahead and filled my vicodin prescription just in case I need it once the numbness fades. So who knows, it may be a very "merry" Christmas for me!
And finally, since I know you're all waiting on the trademark Piper ridiculousness that so inevitably accompanies any medical procedure, no matter how big or small, here you go:
Anesthesiologist: Okay, so you're getting a port?
Piper (still fully lucid): Yes.
A: So you'll need us to start an IV now for use during the procedure?
P: Oh no, I have this one that the homecare nurse put in for me.
A: We don't love to use lines not inserted by the hospital.
P: Please please please? I promise it's good!
A: Are you sure?
P: Yes, definitely. This one is good, I used it at midnight last night and it was fine. In fact, it's been working so well maybe we shouldn't even put in the port. (laughs)
A: (Also laughs) Okay. I'll just hook this up and cancel the procedure.
*A hooks up IV drip to peripheral IV*
Nurse: Um, doctor, I don't think that IV is dripping. Are you sure the line is good?
A: (cracking up) So maybe you'd like that port now, young lady?
Yeah, that's right, I blew a peripheral while in the OR to have a port placed, but obviously not before insisting up and down that it was a great line. Sigh. Oh well.
At least it's over.