Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wait, Wait, and…Wait

The seasons have reversed once again. 80’s with bright sun on Sunday and monday, but dropping like a stone today to the 30’s with rain storms and high winds.  Turn turn turn. Welcome to the beach!

The consult for the PORT-A-CATH* (not a PICC) with the surgeon almost didn’t happen.
*The term portacath is a portmanteau of "portal" and "catheter". Port-a-Cath is a brand name of Smiths Medical; others include Eco Port, Clip-a-Port, SmartPort, Microport, Bardport, PowerPort (power injectable), Passport, Infuse-a-Port, Medi-Port, and Lifesite (for hemodialysis patients). The term totally implantable venous access system (TIVAS) is also used. Additionally, a portacath is the main form of a central venous access device, and is frequently referred to as such in the medical field. 
(As the image shows, the port-a-cath implant is on the left; ; the standard PICC port on the right.) Click the image to embiggen.

After waiting an hour beyond the appointed time, I told the receptionist I was going to have to leave and reschedule if I wasn’t seen ASAP. After a surprised look, she said the doctor was running late. I had already noticed this by having to stand in the tiny waiting room - all 6 chairs were occupied.

I replied that I had other appointments that were just as important and since the doctor was running late all day, someone could have called to inform me, so that other plans could have been made.  She just cocked her head and gave me the strangest look.  Guess this sort of thing has never happened to them before. Hard to believe, but not impossible.

Five minutes later I am with the assistant in the exam room wasting another 10 minutes verbally answering all the questions I just wrote on an 8-sheet questionnaire while in the waiting room. Waited for the doctor to make her appearance and when she did she was full of apologies for keeping me waiting.

The 2-minute exam done, she warns me with the usual disclaimers about possibly punctured lungs, and blah, blah, blah. You know, accidents do happen! The doctor is off again while the assistant finalizes the date and shoves a list of pre-op instructions into my hand. 

The date is tentatively set for next Tuesday, April 22. I say tentatively because there is no set time of day and someone must drive me to and from the hospital. I will be sedated and unable to drive for up to 6 hours - and they’re sure as hell not going to let me sleep it off in a spare bed.

I have to find someone who is free at any time during the entire day to be at my beck and call, or hire a taxi service.  The prep and surgery take very little time.  One hour pre-op sedation, 45 minute surgery, 30 minute post-op recovery - - then OUT!

It’s the no-set-time frame that is the fly in the ointment. Asking someone if they’re available from 8 am to 12 noon is one thing. Asking that they tie up a whole day waiting for a phone call, is something else entirely. Debbie just spent 3 days with her mother following cancer surgery and I’m sure she’s pretty exhausted. Of course, I have to give her first dibs, or she’ll be annoyed that she wasn’t able to help. Yes, I know.  

Something will work out.  Or, not. 

Today is a wait-at-home day. The new laser printer and the replacement black inkjet cartridge should be delivered today.  Getting both of those set up and working will pass the time otherwise spent idling, waiting for the Chemo to arrive.

Yes, the Chemo prescription is also out for delivery sometime today and, as mentioned in an earlier post, must be signed for. And no, there is no set time for delivering overnight medications.  I checked. 

I’ve been enjoying these past few days without nausea or vomiting. I just hope that remains the norm when I start the new drug. I still have little appetite so other than yogurt, soft or hard cooked egg & toast, and cheese & crackers, Ensure is my twice-daily friend. I hope the appetite improves, but who knows what Revlimid does to the innards?  Not I. 

Another new mis-adventure adventure.

Before I forget, a big THANKS to Anne Marie for the note card and well wishes.  Very thoughtful of you. Sure cheered up my day. 

And so it goes.


  1. it's the least I can do since I cannot be there to assist you, honey! :)

  2. The Port-A-Cath sounds much better to me than a PICC line. On admissions to the hospital 4 and 8 years ago, I had a PICC line inserted. The first time was done by several doctors in an X-ray room. The second time was done by a specially trained nurse practioner in my hospital room. They were inserted to administer IV antibiotics which can destroy peripheral veins and were also very useful as a port to withdraw blood for tests. Both times I came home with the PICC lines in place and had to self-administer my IV antibiotics twice a day from an IV pole. It was not fun. On this last hospital admission a couple weeks ago, I only had oral antibiotics for 7 days and NO IV antibiotics or a PICC line. The infectious disease specialist said that an infection was NOT my main problem, but rather venous stasis problems in my leg. What a relief not to get a PICC line this time! The PICC line going into the vein in your left arm was very worrisome and always in the way, and I was afraid that it was going to get pulled out during sleep, etc. The method directly used on your chest wall seems much superior. And I wish you a quick and easy and painless procedure and finding someone to get you there and back.

  3. It is amazing how the entire medical profession believes we have no lives, responsibilities, obligations or plans and simply sit home waiting around for the next directive to go hear and do that. I have gotten quite good at responding to the wrote inconsideration of informing me when my appointments WILL be and when I WILL be home with "Nope, that doesn't work for me. What else you got."

    I am now completing my second week of a PICC line and may be looking at a third week for no other reason than nobody seems to have the time or desire to get it out of me any time soon. It ha grown into more than a mere nuisance, impacting my comfort and sleep.

    I wish you more success, and less inconvenience with your port.

  4. I am sorry I have been away from blog-land; I was thinking of you and hoping you are doing well enough.


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