Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First Time

This morning marked the first infusion through my implanted port.  I was a little nervous getting ready this morning.  I had heard that it only hurts a little, but isn't that what doctors always say?  The traffic caused by the foggy weather did not help the anxiety any.  

I waddled to the elevator after getting to Mercy Midtown, and took my favorite seat at the infusion center.  The charge nurse asked which me which arm I would like warmed up.  Normally, it takes hot blankets, 6-7 needle sticks, and me almost passing out to find a vein.  I smiled and pointed at my chest, and she remembered that I had scheduled the port install after my last infusion.  That brought a big smile to her face, and talked for a couple minutes about how the surgery went.

Huber needle
The area around and over the port was swabbed with Chlorhexidine (an antiseptic), and allowed to dry.  I was told to take a deep breath, and in went the Huber needle.  It stung a little bit, but was less painful than a successful IV stick.  I've read that once scar tissue has a chance to build up around the port, the sticks are barely felt.  I hoped that not having to deal with multiple needle sticks might eliminate the nausea that I have felt with treatment since I got pregnant.  I tried to fight off the feeling, but gave in and asked for Zofran about twenty minutes into the infusion.  

The bolus dose of Zofran made me fall asleep, and I kept waking myself up by snoring (and snorting).  I had headphones in so I couldn't hear how loud I actually was, but I hope it wasn't too bad.  Luckily, I was the only patient for most of the day.  Somehow, I managed to sleep off and on for about two hours.  That was another first - I've actually never slept in the infusion room, either.  At least I'm not the first to saw logs.  Usually the male patients use their treatment time to nap, and laying back in the recliner seems to make all of them snore.  I have to say that it was SO nice to have pain-free, IV-free hands.  I was too tired to knit or do much else, but it made eating lunch and using the restroom easier.

What an accessed port looks like.

Removing the Huber needle and flushing the port was just as easy as the needle stick.  I normally can taste the saline flush, but with the port, it tasted as if the nurse squirted the solution straight into my mouth.  The Heparin was even worse - it tasted like I had licked an aspirin.  I took a deep breath after the flush, and the needle was out.  It sounds odd, but I am actually looking forward to my second day of treatment tomorrow instead of dreading it like normal.

I would like to think that this year will be better.  That we'll receive more blessings than not.  Not dealing with around 18-21 sticks, multiple bruises, and the pain that comes with it is a blessing.  Feeling my son wiggle around inside of me is definitely a blessing.  Before I know it, he'll be in my arms.  I can't think of a better blessing than that.

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