Monday, December 8, 2014

Woooohooooo! Chest catheter is out!!! (not without a little bit o' drama, of course)

Last week I had to do an adequacy test to see if PD was "working" for me.  This test consisted of doing a 24-hr urine on Sunday-Monday, getting a sample of my discharge fluid from PD that night, and then going into the PD clinic on Monday and having blood drawn.  Using this information, my PD nurse can determine what my adequacy (or Kt/V) is.  We were looking for greater or equal to 1.7, and my results were 3.99, so I guess you could say it's working very well for me.  The best part of all is that this cleared the way for me to get rid of this blasted chest catheter, so my PD nurse scheduled the procedure at a hospital closer to my side of town, and not the one that actually put it in.  Here's a picture to remind of how awful it was (the site of that totally grosses me out...I have no idea how I did not freak the hell out every time I saw it in the mirror).

Joacim and I got to the hospital for my appointment right on time.  I got changed into the gown and we hung out in the room.  Look how excited I was!

This, my friends, is a TOILET!  How very well-diguised it is!!!

And clearly Joacim was JUST as excited as I was to get this thing out.

After a while, the nurse came in and asked me what type of catheter I had.  I knew right then that this was a very bad sign, and I wasn't wrong.  Long story short, the hospital had received the surgery report of the neck catheter that I  had placed first.  Even though catheter placement is a standard procedure, apparently there are some differences in the methods that hospitals use.   There's a fabric cuff inside that the skin attaches to and holds the catheter in place, and because they didn't have the report, they didn't know where this cuff was.  Due to this, and the fact that I had taken my blood thinner (which they didn't tell me not to), the surgeon didn't want to do the removal.

To say I was disappointment is an understatement.  However, as with all of these things, adversity makes you stronger, right?  I called my PD nurse and told her what was going on, and she worked her butt off to get me an appointment THAT DAY at the hospital where I was when I started dialysis..the place where I got the catheter place.  I have no idea how we did it, but we made it across town in time.  Here's a selfie of me in THAT hospital.

These nurses weren't messing around.  Some of them even remembered me from my stay there in November!  Can I just tell you that, even though they were very reassuring, I was absolutely terrified of being awake.  I begged for sedation, but they wouldn't give it to me for this removal.  Here's what the catheter actually looked like under the bandages.  The 2 tubes at the bottom were for hemo-dialysis.  The black stuff near the point of entry was very thick stitches to help hold it in place.

Another selfie after I was prepped (nice face, right?)

And this is what it looked like once it was out.

And THIS is what the whole thing looked like!  Holy.  Hell.  The catheter was near my heart where there's a lot of blood flow, and being awake for that was just awful.  The doctor cut the stitches first (no lidocane) to see what it looked like, and then numbed the area (which hurt like absolute hell).  I couldn't really feel anything at all, but the thought of what she was doing made me sweat through the sheets.  Do you see that red thing in the middle of the tube?  That's the fabric cuff I was talking about....the doctor had to cut the tissue off that had grown around it in order to remove it.

And here is the happiest person in the world at that moment.  Of course, the pain came on later, but luckily I still had some vicodin left over from my hospital stay, so I took a couple of those and I was good to go.

So now I'm thrilled, because I should be able to start back up with yoga.  I'll take a few days to ensure it's healed, but then I'd like to tip-toe back in.  I'm a little nervous as to what it will feel like trying to do all of those poses with this catheter in my stomach, but I guess I'll feel it out and see how it goes.  Wish me luck!


  1. You amaze me Jenn!
    So strong and open about this.
    Wonder woman!
    Good luck my friend /Nina

  2. Now that you are on PD. How are you feeling overall, any better?? You look great!
    Thank you for all your posts. Very informative!!


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