Friday, February 21, 2014

So Much for Bravery // Revocation of My Big Girl Panties

It should be noted that two posts ago, my plan was to stay in Michigan for 6 weeks of PICC line treatment. To make a long story short, that plan was aborted and I am currently home with my husband in California. Given that I am writing this with the sun pouring into my open patio door, I'm going to make a hashmark in the silver linings category.

My geography sets the stage for my telling of yesterday's adventure in misplaced bravery. My husband is self-employed and works for the company he founded, so he works very long hours. Because I've gone into this PICC line treatment with guns blazing, I was determined to both maintain my independent lifestyle and not burden him with the administration of my new routine. As I said, physical repulsion to the PICC line is really my only hurdle at this point. Because I knew that I was eventually able to take care of my last PICC line myself, even if only for a few weeks, I was confident that I could handle it myself this time.

Yesterday, my big girl panties were revoked and replaced by a pair of Underoos. 

On Tuesday I had gone over the home medication routine with my home nurse, who comes once a week. She taught me my new routine and made an appointment to see me next week, at which time she'll be changing the dressing over my PICC line. I was able to administer all of the meds myself as she watched and instructed me.

Yesterday while home alone, I took the meds out of the fridge as I made myself lunch. I let them come to room temperature as instructed and began setting up for my treatment after I ate. Like a modern moron, I even Instagrammed my setup. I began with the saline flush. This is when things started to go downhill.

I noticed an air bubble in the line of my IV. While I know this isn't a HUGE deal, and I know that I removed the air from my saline flush as instructed, I started to panic a little. I collected myself, and kept going with my treatment. I started to feel a little uneasy, so I did what any self respecting adult would do:

I called my mommy.

My mom was happy to talk me through the process even from 2,500 miles away. I knew I could do it, but I just felt like crying for no reason. And even though I wasn't crying, I still felt uneasy. I finished the saline flush as my mom and I were chatting and hooked up the antibiotics.

My particular medication comes in a syringe, rather than a bag, and has to be administered through the line over a 3-5 minute period. I administered some of the medication, still chatting away with my mom, but I still wasn't feeling better. The prickly sensation of nausea was still coming over me in small waves. Having fainted only twice in my life, doing so seemed a far-fetched prospect to me. Denying the possibility to myself was as important as denying it to the person sitting at the other end of the line. If I just keep talking and saying how ridiculous it is that I feel this way after already treating myself yesterday, I can get through this. As we chatted I thought to myself "I'm probably just going to throw up or something at some point..."

And that is when ground control lost connection with Major Tom...

The next thing I remember, I heard my mother's voice coming through saying " to me..." I remember not wanting to get up for school, until I realized I was face first on my kitchen table covered in sweat. A box of chive crackers came into view, and I declared that I'd just passed out (duh), a declaration made based on my false presumption that I had slipped out of consciousness in relative silence. According to my poor mother, I had moaned several times and sounded like I was in horrendous pain. Though I don't remember making such sounds (after all, trees falling in the forest don't make sounds...especially when they're ladies) I do remember asking for my husband, whom she got in contact with immediately. He was on his way to an important meeting and dropped everything to come check on me, with my mom on standby on the phone until he got there. How embarrassing.

I know that's what family is for. I know I would do the same for my family, given the circumstances. However, when you faint on the phone with your mom 2,500 miles away and call your husband away from an important business meeting because you couldn't handle a simple feel like a moron no matter what they tell you.

A few weeks ago when the wonderful Phillip Seymour Hoffman died, my family and I noted the ridiculousness of the media reports stating that he had died of an "apparent" drug overdose as he was found with a syringe in his arm. An awful way for such a talented man to go, to be sure, but wasn't the use of the word "apparent" overkill? "What else could it have been?" we scoffed. As I struggled to maintain consciousness as my mom and I waited for my husband to arrive, I briefly toyed with seeing if my upstairs neighbor (or any human, as my dog was quite oblivious to the situation) would sit with me, until I realized that a half-conscious, unshowered person with various tubes and syringes hanging off of her would probably be a frightening sight to an unsuspecting neighbor! I can only pray that no one looked through the window and saw the scene taking place in my dining room. As it turns out, a person slumped over and unconscious with stray syringes might not be in an "apparent" situation! Though I did always admire heroine chic in the 90s, it's safe to say that vasovagal responses, and cupcakes, stand in my way of achieving the look.

Today, I feel 80% confident that I can carry on. I feel grateful for the ability to see the humor in everything, even if this transfer habit gives me false confidence and stifles my anger. New plan of action? Wait until the husband gets home to do my least for a little while!

1 comment:

Deb Herzog said...

I give you lots of credit to try this yourself! I administered all of Eric's home care treatments, even changing his picc line dressing when needed! I don't think it would be easy to do this on yourself! I love your blog and your writing is like sitting down talking to you! I pray you will gain the confidence to find a routine that works for you minus the passing out! ;) I have been told that saline syringes, can make interesting jello shots when you are not on meds!!!