Fun with IV’s

After an amazing, relaxing 4th of July weekend in the Berkshires I came back to reality on Tuesday morning.  I am still trying to work out my insurance issues.  There is now a group number but I do not have an ID number yet.  Oxford and I are not starting out very good.  Lets just say that they have been less than helpful over the phone.  Anyway, I am assured that my policy will be retroactive to July 1st so I have gone ahead and started IV therapy.

Tuesday was my start date.  I couldn’t get an appointment for placement of the PICC so decided to just get a peripheral IV inserted to start with.  My appointment for PICC insertion was the following day.  My medication and supplies were scheduled to be here between 5-7PM.  What happens is that supplies and meds come and home care nurse soon follows.  Well, I get a call from the nurse, we’ll call him Ivan because his Russian accent is so thick I can barely understand a word he is saying,  So he calls around 3:30pm saying he will be here in 5 minutes.  Fine I say but you’ll be waiting around for a long time until my meds show up between 5 and 7.  He says something, which I think was along the lines of I’ll call you back and hangs up.  He calls back and after a lot of “what?” “Excuse me?” I finally get what he is saying.  He wants me to call him when the meds arrive.

5:20pm the meds arrive, I call Ivan.  He arrives within 5 minutes.  I assume he was at the corner Starbucks but never confirm because I can’t understand him through his thick accent.  He is to place the IV.  He prepares everything, tightens the tourniquet around my arm and finds a good vein.  Now I have “great” veins as many a nurse have told me. They are big and very easy to find.  So usually it is easy to draw blood, place IV, etc.  As I watch the needle approach  my arm I’m thinking “that is nowhere near my vein.  He’s a good 1-2 centimeters away.” I speak up and tell Ivan that he is not near the vein.  I think he says that he is going in through the side of the vein.  “Oh.  OK.  He’s a registered nurse he must know what he is doing, everyone does it differently, maybe this way will be better.”  I think.  He punctures the skin and heads for the vein.  No blood comes into the IV.  He moves the needle around a bit, searching for the vein.  No luck.  He puls needle back a bit changes direction and plows forward again.  The vein moves but he doesn’t hit it.  Repeat last attempt.  Again vein moves, no blood.  “Take it out!”  I say to Ivan.  He looks at me shocked.  “Take it out.” I repeat.  He hesitates then removes the needle.  “Come on dude.  You can’t be serious my veins are fucking huge.  How can you miss it and keep digging around?  That is crazy!”  He just looks at me.  “You didn’t even go in on the vein, you were not even close to it.”  He then says something about the needle going underneath the vein.  “No shit.” I think.  “Thats why the vein was moving all around while you were jabbing away.”  After a minute contemplating if I was just going to postpone starting meds until the PICC line was in I decided to just get him to put the IV in the crook of my elbow.  “He better not fuck this up.”  I’m thinking as the needle approaches.  It goes in and blood pours out until he can cap the IV.

Ivan starts to clean up and as this happens I start to feel light headed.  “Oh shit.”  I think. “I’m about to pass out.”  I shake my head in attempt to get blood to my brain.  That didn’t work.  Still have that tingle in my head.  I reach out for Ivan’s shoulder and manage to say “I’m about to pass out.”  He steps into me and I lean my head against his chest and I’m out like a light.  I had a dream while I was out but I can’t remember it.  I think it might have been something about my fun weekend.  I awake and for a second I have no idea where I am.  “I’m being cradled in some dudes chest.  What the hell?  Damn, I passed out. Again.”  I’m thinking.

I passed out getting blood drawn about three years ago.  That time it was early in the morning and I hadn’t had anything to eat.  Well I think I opened the flood gates  that time because since then it has happened three time including this last episode.  So lame.

Yesterday was PICC insertion day!  YAY!  It is a minor surgery when they place a PICC.  So I wasn’t able to eat 4 hours prior to appointment.  I show up for appointment and they show me to the waiting room where I put on the hospital gown.  They ask a few questions, I sign my life away and then I’m off to the surgery room.  Lying there on that table as the nurses go through their checklist of preparations has to be the loneliest, most helpless feeling there is.  Even though I have been in this same room several times, getting this same procedure done I can’t help but feel nervous.  I take inventory of my body, every muscle is tense.  I try and relax my shoulders and back, my legs and hips.  It works for about two minutes.  The second I stop consciously trying to relax, my shoulders are up at my ears and my legs are stiff as tree trunks.  The surgery is over in no time and with no problems.  I just hate the whole waiting time before.  Too much time to reflect on why I’m in there and how much it sucks. Very draining emotionally.  Need to find a better way to deal with it for next time.

So after all of that I went for a run yesterday.  Well I tried to anyway. Last week-I think Thursday- I went for a run and about .85 miles in my left calf tightened up.  The opposite calf from the last calf episode.  Yay, now I have problems with both calfs.  This wasn’t as bad as the last time but I didn’t want to push it so I stopped and walked home.  Took the weekend off, had fun and felt it was fine yesterday.  Last night I started out and felt great.  My lungs felt clearer than they have felt in a while -just goes to show how fast the meds start to work.  My body felt relaxed.  I was excited.  Until my calf tightened up a mile in.  I’m still planning on running in the 10k this Saturday but it may turn into walking in the 10k this Saturday.  So Saturday will be fun, running/walking on a bum calf and a PICC line in my arm.  Remind me again why I am doing this?

To donate to Team Boomer, fight Cystic Fibrosis and help me make my fundraising goal you can go to

Thanks for reading.

CF Sucks!

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2 Responses to Fun with IV’s

  1. Treasure's Biggest Fan says:

    The longer it takes to finish the race the longer the spectators can admire your awesome race shirt

  2. Terry Ahearn says:

    You are running to raise money for a cure, for one. But, more importantly, you are running to heal yourself. You are running in the face of your disease. You are running in spite of it. You are running for healing – body and soul.

    PS – I love your temper. Awesome. Laughing my ass off reading this post because I exactly how that went down.

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