Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 16: Going Home?

If you've been reading this blog, then you know that going home is just temporary. There's still a long road ahead of me.

Nonetheless, I'm ready to go home for 2 or 3 weeks. I'm ready for to feel sunshine. Sunshine is in some way related to happiness. People who live in far northern or very rainy countries (or states) are more prone to depression than people in sunny states. I've been inside for 32 days!

But alas! No blood would come from my PICC line this morning!

I don't really understand how this tube that runs from my upper arm to the vena cava above my heart can turn into a one-way valve, but this is the second time it's done so. They can run saline solution through the line into my heart, but no matter how much they pull (with a syringe), no blood will come out.

Usually, they draw blood at 3:30 or so. Today the nurse was in at 4:15, which is no big deal. That's still plenty early. I was a little anxious because I'm waiting to see if my neutrophils are above 500 per cubic millimeter, but 4:15, that's okay.

Yes, I was awake from 3:30 to 4:15.

But the nurse couldn't get a single drop of blood no matter how much she flushed that line. (And you can only flush it so much because the solution is going into my veins.)

So she ordered something they call TPA or ATP or APT or some other order of the letters A, P, and T. That medicine is injected into the PICC line and left there for an hour.

We had to do that a week or so ago, although we did that in the evening before the bloodwork was being drawn last week.

Today, we had to wait for the pharmacy to send the medicine up. It came at 5:05, and it would have to sit in the PICC line for an hour.

More waiting.

At 6:00, the nurse came in to try again. It still didn't work.

She explained that usually the medicine clears the line in an hour, but sometimes it takes longer. She said she'd wait a bit, then try again.

I said, "Can you just use a needle and draw it from a vein in my arm?"

She seemed a little surprised, and she said that normally patients don't ask to be stuck, but she could do that. I want to see my labs, so I wasn't going to let a little needle prick stop me.

So, the results?

Well, she took the blood about 6:05, and it's 6:45 now. I don't know yet! I just checked MyHealthAtVanderbilt.com, and it's still not there. The nurses tell me that the whole ward is pulling for me to be over 500 on the neutrophils, so I'm sure my nurse will be in here as soon as it pops up on her screen.

I just thought the story about this being dragged out just a bit longer would be worth telling.


  1. Ugh! Update please it's now 7:47 AM.

  2. As i was reading this i kept thinking, 'why don't they just stick him?' Glad you thought of it:)Sometimes the obvious is hard to come by.

  3. LOL. Havi's comment was just what I was thinking. Sometimes doctors and nurses are so smart they don't think of the most obvious thing. :)

  4. I think they think that patients find it horrifying to have a needle stuck in them. A little weird for people that are going through the kind of things chemo patients are going through.