Yesterday was a long ridiculous day full of adventure. It started with a 3:30am fire alarm in the hotel and I just couldn’t get back to sleep after that.

At -36C I opted for a cab to get to the hospital for 8am. I had to drink two glasses of yucky contrast for my 10am CT scan.

Then I met with my doctor for awhile. The visit the day before chemo is to check up on my prescriptions and if I have enough of all my chemo side effect drugs (I needed a couple refills) and check my weight and blood pressure. (The chemo pharmacist needs a current weight to dose the chemo drugs.) My blood pressure was perfect.

We looked over my blood tests from last week. My albumin and hemoglobin are a little low, which is expected from radiation and not eating much of anything for weeks. I think I need a couple of good steaks. At any rate, there were no big concerns and I was cleared to proceed with chemo.

We talked about my recent sleep trouble and she thinks we’ve been overlooking the surgically induced menopause which will make the menopause effects sudden and severe. She thinks that is probably playing a big role in my sleep changes. I’ve been offered Ativan to sleep but I really am fearful of becoming dependent on a pill to sleep. Melatonin was also mentioned to try first if I wish. I wonder if I just don’t need to do more so I’m more exhausted at bedtime.

After meeting with her, I zipped back over to the CT scan department. For that, they also place an IV and push contract stuff into your veins. That’s the stuff that suddenly makes you hot and feel like you just peed yourself as you are getting scanned. Now that I’ve had this a few times, I think it feels pretty funny rather than concerning.

After that I decided to try out Whitehorse’s bus system, and bused my way over to the area of town with the pharmacy I go to. There was so much ice fog in the air, I actually followed the bus’s position on my Google Maps app on my phone, rather than trying to look out the frozen bus windows, so I could pull the dinger and get off in the right part of town.

I dropped off my prescriptions and went for lunch at Quiznos. I hadn’t eaten all day (need to fast before the CT scan) so I was more ravenous than I expected. Then I had to kill time. Although the pharmacy said it would take an hour, they had no idea where my pills were when I went back. They seem to do this often so I was getting grumpy as they made me spell my name a dozen times, and they rifled through bins. Last time I was there they told me my birthday wasn’t what I said it was. Uhm, what?

Turns out they filled my prescription, but in some stranger’s name and I think they even ran it through his insurance. Rather than just redo it for me I had to wait another 45 minutes while they fixed it. I really gotta use a different pharmacy.

Then, I decided to get some exercise and walked back to the hotel for a bit. Then I walked over to the hospital for the 2pm PICC line placement appointment. Yay exercise! Too bad I wore the wrong socks and was getting blisters walking in my winter Muck boots.

I was pretty nervous about this PICC line appointment. Maybe more scared. Dreading the unknown. I was just walking into the hospital parking lot when my phone rang. Answering it is fun with a face mask on, big mitts, ear flapped hat, and having my phone buried inside a few layers, but I got it! It was my doctor asking where I was because they moved up my appointment. I’ll be right there!!!

They took me right into an operating room – one they use for more minor procedures. I still didn’t know if I was being sedated, but turns out I was not going to be! So I got to lie there and watch everything – the doctor scrubbing up, the nurse helping get all the tools and equipment ready, how they made sure everything was uncontaminated and sterile. It’s a pretty big deal because the PICC line isn’t just an IV placed in the arm, it has a tube in it that goes right to your heart!!

First, she used an ultrasound to find her target vein and drew on my arm with a very permanent marker (I can’t get it to clean off at all so far). Then I got to hold my arm up in the arm and they coated my entire arm, wrist to arm pit, in that pink dye that works as a disinfectant as it dries.

Luckily, the doctor used some lidocaine to freeze the area of my arm because she pierced my skin to get this thing in. All of it was kinda freaky and I hid behind the little surgical drape over my arm so I wouldn’t be tempted to peek.

There was a weird pushing inside my arm a couple times and then I got to feel her hands and fingers as she slowly fed it to my heart. Thank goodness I didn’t feel it inside actually going to my heart. I had to turn my head on its side and squeeze it to my neck. Turns out that is so it doesn’t accidentally go up my neck instead of to my heart. AHH!

After she got it in, there was a bunch of clicks and snaps as the outside part was placed. Then I got to go for an xray to see if it was placed right by my heart.

My pink dyed arm and new “friend” before it was flushed

And it was! So no adjusting. Whew!

But that was enough excitement for me. I took another bus back to the hotel and ordered another pizza. I was tired! And I got 10,000 steps on my Fitbit!

I was given this mesh sleeve to keep it all in place but it is more annoying that the actual hole in my arm so it didn’t last long. I’ll have to figure something else out. I had no tape in my hotel room, so I jerry rigged the long dangly part with a bandaid to my arm for the night.

I’m also not supposed to get any of it wet. This is tricky in a hotel. Bath with no arm? I don’t have a way to cover it in plastic here for a shower.

Anyway, the good news is, despite the bruising type pain in my arm, I propped myself up with pillows and slept for NINE hours!

So now I’m up early and will figure out some way to wash around this thing. The hotel had a couple of make-up removal wet toilettes in the bathroom that helped take all the pink off the rest of my arm. Soon I’ll be off for 10am chemo! #4 of 6. Let’s hope this is the home stretch! And that my new arm line makes it go smoother, and quicker!

Lisa

Lisa (Verkley) Schuyler is a blogger reporting live from her new home in Canada's Yukon Territory. Often found wearing a hoodie, covered in pet hair, Lisa is a mis-placed forester who now spends her days engineering happiness for WordPress users. Lisa loves nature, animals, and most importantly, her handsome husband Jeff.

2 Replies to “PICC is placed, and I slept!

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