For those that know me or have followed my blog for the last few years, you know that with pregnancy comes a very sick Catrina. No lie. My first my pregnancy I lost approx. 35lbs and with my second I lost approx. 40lbs. Currently I am down 11lbs since I found out that I was pregnant. The illness I have is Hyperemesis Gravidarum. What is Hyperemesis? I could explain it, but instead I found a really great article by a mother who went through it on the Today Mom's website here. I also suggest you read this story as well. Both explains a great deal about the illness. Everything in these articles are totally true. As far as the cost, yup, its expensive, at least to me. My insurance company covers a portion of it. My out of pocket expense is $310 a month for the home health care service and a $250 deductible for the hospital visit to have the Picc-line put in. Sigh... My experiences are slightly diff in the sense that I have no damage to my teeth, but I do have permanent busted blood vessels in my face and eyes due to the excessive vomiting. I'll save the intestine/bowel details, but yes, there's complications. My husband has basically become a single father at the moment not only caring for our two girls, but he has been caring for me as well. I can barely step foot into the kitchen, let along cook or eat a meal. Fred does it all. Bc I can't eat much, I lack in the energy dept. and spend any time I have at home in bed. In a nutshell, I wake up at 6:00am to get ready for work. I do my best at work from 7:30am to 5:00pm, then head home. Once I get home, I crawl right back into bed. Last Thursday I finally caved and accepted my OBGYN's request to put me back on the Picc-line. I had reached the point of sitting in the Dr's office balling and then eventually throwing up every ounce of bile I had in my system. It was horrible!! At that very moment I just wanted to crawl in a hole and die. I was tired, I ached all over, my stomach was a constant sickness, I was moody due to lack of vitamins, nutrition and my meds. I distinctly remember the Dr. asking me what I wanted to do as far as getting the picc-line or waiting a little longer? My response, as much as it scared me to say, was "I am in no position to make any decisions at the moment bc I'm terrified of the decision that comes to mind".
Its frightening to say, but the thought that was going through my mind was not even close to any of the choices the Dr. had given me and everyone in the room knew it. It was at that moment that I had to run to the bathroom to toss my cookies.
When I returned to the patient room, the only one left there was Fred. An order had been written and was waiting for me to be sent to the ER to have a Picc-line put in. I never did see my Dr. again before I left that day.
So what exactly is a Picc-line? Taken from Picc-line nursing online: A peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) is a thin, soft plastic tube that is used for giving intravenous fluids and medications. It is inserted through a peripheral vein, preferably in the upper arm, and advanced until the tip of the catheter reaches a large vein above the heart. A PICC line stays in place for as long as needed and up to one year if properly maintained. However, a PICC is not appropriate for all patients and hence proper patient selection is essential.
What does a Picc-line look like?
(It's hard to see, but the long tubing on the bottom is what is inserted in my arm.)
This image is a great way of showing where the tubing goes once its inside my arm. In the picture, follow the yellow tube. It goes in my arm, up my shoulder and back down to the top of my heart.
I'm asked a lot if I can feel it inside me. No, not really. I do feel a tension on my arm around the incision of course but that's all the dressing and tape to keep it stationed and covered from infection. I do get a "feeling" shooting through my upper arm and up my neck occasionally, but I can't honestly say that its a painful feeling. It's not exactly comfortable, but it doesn't necessarily hurt if that makes sense. So what happens now that I have this? Well currently I am 12hrs on IV fluids and 12hrs off. So, around 5:45pm I pull out my medical supplies that are delivered by a home care service weekly and begin to play nurse. I wash my hands, pull out my IV bag and vitamins from the fridge and get started. Via a syringe, I pull the vitamins from the vials provided and flush them into the IV bag that is pre-mixed with Zofran, which is a medication that is given to patients going through Chemo to help with the nausea. I then get to flush my Picc-line with a saline flush and hook up to my IV line. My IV is portable in the sense that I strap it into a backpack made specifically for it, along with the portable pump and battery pack. And voila....I'm good to go for the next twelve hours, which in my case are spent sleeping. When I get up at 6:00am , I unhook everything and flush my Picc-line with another saline flush and then a Heparin flush. Then I'm off to shower and get ready for work.
So without further ado, here is a picture of my Picc-line and backpack.
There you have it, my newest fashion accessories until the end of my pregnancy. Yet another sigh. But its ok. Seriously! As much as I hate having it, I have to look at the end result. And honestly, since I've had it put in I've been able to eat a little. Now I'm not going to any buffets anytime soon, but if you put together all the bites of food I take in a day, it will total to almost one full meal which is better than nothing at all. Don't get me wrong, I am still praying to the Porcelain God, just not all day long. I guess you can say that's a step towards the light at the end of the tunnel :)