Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Hickman dramz

As I have mentioned previously, once I am psyched up for something or get my head around the idea I cope with things fine. I do not cope well when things are changed at the last minute. However, over the past year I have had to do this many a time and it still doesn't get any easier. Well, yesterday things were changed at the last minute.

Mum and I turned up at the Beatson at 12 to get my blood checked and we were told at 1 it was all fine (magnesium still a bit low though). So we went up to the Hickman Line bit at Gartnavel and spoke to the nurses about the procedure. Even though I have had quite a few Hickman Line procedures, I still get incredibly nervous. The team of nurses are really nice and tried to put me at ease. I showed them my line and they said it was higher up the chest than normal and they would need to make another incision (ie another scar on my chest, 6 and counting) to remove it. So, I changed into a gown and was lying on the table in the ward waiting for them to administer the local anaesthetic... I was lying on the table for about half an hour while they debated around me whether they could perform the procedure or not (all of this time I was covered by a sheet so I think they forgot I was there...). After much discussion they decided they would be unable to remove the line as it was too far up my chest and it is larger than the lines they are used to. The nurse who was about to perform the procedure kept saying, 'this is the highest line I've ever seen' - this phrase means absolutely nothing to me so I am not sure what she means. Anywho, they didn't feel comfortable taking it out so called down to Radiology to see if I could get it done there. As it turns out, they had a slot at 4.30 which would mean more hanging about but I would be able to get it out.

So Mum and I went for a coffee to wait.. I was not in a good mood at all and I could tell I was being incredibly grumpy - sorry Mum. When we turned up at Radiology we found out it was the Professor of Radiology performing the procedure. He was really nice and seemed very confident in his own ability which is obviously good! When I was on the table, it only took about ten minutes for him to do and the worst bit (as always was the local anaesthetic) was over quickly. He said one of the difficulties with mine was that there were two cuffs on it which meant he had to do a lot of tugging. It's a strange experience as you can feel pressure under your skin and you're aware that someone is pulling at something but it is not painful. Well, I say that but at one point he pulled very hard and I felt a huge pain in my neck! One of my nurses from Weston Ward said I should take my line home so I could look at it properly... So I did. I asked them if anyone had asked for their line before - apparently I'm the first! I'm not quite sure what to do with it now. I only really wanted to take it to show my Dad but it's rather creepy eh? One of the nurses asked me if I was going to perform some sort of voodoo type thing on it - ermmm no. It will most likely end up in the bin. If you are of a squeamish disposition look away now... Here is a snap of the line that was in my heart for four months.. Weird.

I have a couple of stitches which will hopefully be removed next Monday. So, bye Hickman Line! I won't miss ya. Well, I thought that until I was told I need to have a Magnesium infusion on Friday.. Typical! So, now that my Hickman Line has gone they have decided it is the right time to take me in for an infusion. This means that I will need to have a venflon put in my hand to administer the Magnesium and it takes six hours! Friday will be well boring.

My neck is pretty sore and I was told it will be for about a week. I'm not making any sudden movements or lifting anything heavy so it's not too bad... I've not done much today, a little walk in the garden and some piano playing. I might even paint my nails - pretty hectic stuff. So that is the tale of my third (and hopefully final) Hickman Line!


  1. I want to see it- I am so intrigued ( creeeeeeeeeeeep) Want me to take some time on Friday and come sit- we can stuff our faces and read a million mags? heaven. Laterz xxx

  2. Okay I think it's totally cool that you took it home. I would have done the same. I'm telling you Mairead you are one tough person. Kudos to you for handling this so bravely. I would have been curled up in the fetal somewhere. Argh.



    Oh I think it's totally sound that you took it home... i really wanna see it!