Infection turns to Surgery

After 6 weeks, the infection finally burst out of my skin and my doctors finally took it seriously. They brought me in fairly quickly, stuck a needle in the site and drew out some of the substance in order to test it to see what it was. Surprise, an infection. The next day they were wanting to take out the entire port, not surprisingly. They wanted to remove the port before they even knew what it was that was wrong. That is how they operate.

However, I had a busy weekend that weekend and could not take the time that it required to recover from an operation. So I had the removal delayed until the following Tuesday and went into the infusion center for a daily dose of antibiotics. That Tuesday afternoon, they removed my port and put in a PICC line in my right arm under local anesthesia for the first time since I was in high school. I had always been put completely under so this was quite stressful to me.

Overall, I am glad that I did delay the surgery. The procedure seemed to have gone well the day of, went to a doctor’s appointment afterwards and then headed home. At home that evening, the site began to leak through the bandage that they left for it and I found myself having to add a larger bandage over the top to contain it. At this point in time it was too late to go to the normal radiology clinic and it would have required a trip to the ER. So, with larger bandage I went to bed the best I could.

It was difficult to sleep as it was incredibly painful even through the Oxycodone. At 4am I woke up noticing a wet spot in my bed along my arm. The PICC line that they had put in was now bleeding out of its bandage as well. It had become clear to me that the amount of factor they told me to put in prior to the operation wasn’t nearly enough.

I knew I needed more factor at this point. However, they neglected to tell me anything about the PICC line before I left, and I couldn’t reach it, and it was now bleeding profusely. So to the ER we went.

In the ER, they quickly put pressure on the PICC line site and gave me a massive dose of factor. And then admitted me into the hospital so that I could meet up with the Hematology doctors as well as the radiology doctors that did the operation in the first place. The problem was, nobody bothered to tell the radiology doctors that I was having problems until I decided to email one of the nurses and by that point no one could stop by before I was discharged in the afternoon. They also didn’t take any blood cultures that the Infectious Diseases department needed either. About the only thing I got out of the admission was the chance to learn about the PICC line and get a couple of free meals. The bleeding in every which way did eventually stop, and the pain obviously got better as well. They increased my doses of medication to be taken 2 times a day the first week instead of 1 time a day.

Where they took the port out of my chest, they decided to leave the wound open to allow the infection to basically ooze out and leave my system. They put some medicated gauze strips into the site to help it heal. These strips have needed to be changed twice a week. It has now been changed two times. The first time was incredibly painful and I was left the entire night in pain and unable to basically move my right side. This last time was much less painful, though it still had its moments and I was able to go out to my Shadowrun night afterwards just fine.

I do think I am healing fine. I still enjoy some pain and discomfort from time to time. My about four weeks after a major flu and a couple of ear infections, I am still having some throat issues and I am starting to wonder if this is somehow related to my chest infection or antibiotics.

The whole experience for me has been terrible and have been looking at finding a new hospital for after this set of problems resolves. I’ve also decided that I don’t particularly like the PICC line. On top of the bleeding issue I had above, it is in a constant state of discomfort and I can’t really do much of anything with it. I think I’d rather go in and get stuck once a day to get antibiotics than deal with this.