My wife would have given up “the good fight” long ago from her diagnosis of Signet Ring Cell Carcinoma if it weren’t for the miracle of modern medicine. We have come to appreciate, despite the pain and inconvenience of the various tubes and appliances in her body which keep her alive day to day, what these devices do to keep her alive and well; that is, as well as can be until it’s time to call it a day and Laura enjoys her eternal reward.
Since today’s blogging challenge is for the Letter “I” I thought I would list a few intravenous devices we use as part of her regular therapy.
Because of an obstruction in her small intestine, she cannot absorb any fluids from what she drinks. This led to severe dehydration. Every day during “naptime” she receives a liter of fluids from an intravenous port in her chest called a Power Port.
Because of that same obstruction she also cannot eat. You should have seen her face when the E.R. gastric surgeon on call came in after her X-Ray when she had been vomiting for several days. “I guess you just have to stop eating.”
After the initial shock wore off the reality sank in. No more eating. Now, she gets her daily calorie requirement in a two-liter bag of lipids, vitamins, amino acids, etc. which keep her alive. This is known as Total Parenteral Nutrition, or TPN. This too, is delivered via a battery-powered pump that operates for 12 hours throughout the night 7:00PM to 7:00AM.
Chemo. When Laura was on Chemo we would go into the clinic for a three-hour infusion session, then take home a portable pump that would deliver additional chemo through a PICC line in her right arm over the course of three days. Having two I.V. lines, a PICC and a Port, allowed her to get her three days worth of chemo while also being allowed to get her daily nutrition and fluids simultaneously.
Medicine Delivery and Blood Draws
Prior to getting the PICC line and Power Port installed, Laura’s arm looked like a porcupine attacked it on a regular basis. she is a petite redhead with small veins. Now, thanks to the installed tech, nurses have instant access to an artery for blood draws or medicine delivery without having to “stick her” any more than necessary.
The saga, of course, continues. Though not technically an “intravenous” device Laura recently had a G-Tube installed in her belly to drain her stomach contents, again, because of the obstruction just outside her stomach. Normally used to feed patients who cannot feed themselves, such as hospitalized children or dementia patients, my wife uses her G-Tube to get stuff out of her stomach so she doesn’t have to vomit multiple times per day.
What about you?
Are you familiar with these devices? Any others you might mention that have been lifesavers for you? I’d love to know…