Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How (Not) to Use a Gravity Drip in 10 Easy Steps

Step 1: Call home health company and explain that you have neither the equipment nor the understanding necessary to infuse the random bags of medicine that they previously delivered to your house with absolutely no warning. Accept their assurance that they will correct both of the above problems, despite reasonable suspicion that they will actually correct neither.

Step 2: Return home from work to find pole and tubing, but no additional instructions nor call from the nurse.

Step 3: Call 24 hour line, get answer that no nurse will be coming because none was requested. Think back angrily at step 1 of the process and argue with man on phone. This will get you absolutely no where, of course, but do it anyway because arguing with people in the medical field is fun!

Step 4: Consider skipping yet another dose. Decide against it. Take some comfort in the fact that you're an educated, semi-intelligent woman (albeit one with aboslutely no clue what she's actually doing).

Step 5: Assemble pole and tubing. Squeeze udder-like tube thing on the top of the tubing. Do this largely because you've seen nurses do it in the hospital. Get excited when medicine enters said udder-like tube.

Step 7: Role ball-clamp to open tubing. Here's the fun part: Because you're an educated woman, make the logical decision that the clamp should be OPEN. And because you also happen to have no clue what you're doing, don't stop to consider the possibility that the ball clamp might actually control the flow of the medicine.

Step 8: Watch as medicine begins to drip out of tube. Success! (And yes, for those of you who know what's coming, it was dripping...it started off dripping because there was air in the tube.)

Step 9: Attach IV. Settle in to watch 30 minutes of TV while 30 minute IV infuses. Look up at IV med 10 minutes later. Notice it is basically empty. Disattach tubing from port and watch as a STEADY STREAM of meds flows out of the tubing. Freak out.

Step 10: Log onto website and receive wonderful information from fellow CFers on where you went wrong. Also receive assurance that you will not die from overdose. Resume breathing.

So yeah, I don't recommend actually following the above advice. Definitely makes for a stressful evening. On the other hand, if you prefer your aztreonam short, sweet, and highly concentrated, go for it.


  1. Piper, next time skip steps 3-9 an go directly to 10.


  2. Haha, Piper - You just totally cracked me up!!! As a side note, when you're due for a new supply of meds, beg for the grenades again! Especially since you'll be traveling! I have had Aztreonam in them before...

  3. LOL reliving last night's freak out!

    Glad to see you are still alive and not all wacked from abx.

    There should be a step 0 - confirm correct meds will be delivered from now on :)

  4. Piper-Ah I saw the title and I knew the post would be good! I have been there. One other thing that completely freaked me out was when using a port and a gravity drip if you forget to undo yourself you can get a 'flash' where the blood runs out of you into the tubing, I fell asleep one night and awoke with fears I was bleeding to death!

    You always have a great blog, thanks for the chuckles, live and learn!

    take care