And now for my least favorite part of going into Methodist - getting a PICC line. This time was even less fun than normal. It started when the transport person came to my room with a bed to take me to the surgical suite. He took my down a few floors on the elevator and then delivered me to a large room labelled "Prep and Recovery". I was left in bay 3. At this point I assumed I was waiting for the surgical suite to be open, because they usually do it in there, under fluoroscope. It turns out that the surgical suite was unavailable, however, so a woman came in to place the PICC where I was.
I've had it done without fluoroscope before, so I wasn't too worried. Getting a PICC normally isn't very painful, just uncomfortable. First, the person doing it will get all of their supplies ready. Then they will place a sheet over the area and then, if under fluoroscope, search for a good vein. The woman doing mine decided to use my basilic vein in my right arm (the last time I had a PICC they used my left arm and had trouble placing it, even with fluoroscope. They said I had some scarring in my veins that caused the problem and to avoid having a PICC placed in the left arm for a while). She then cleaned the area and injected my arm with lidocaine (not gonna lie, it burns, but it isn't too bad and it doesn't last long). Then, normally, you would only feel some pressure as they use a needle to place a wire guided catheter in the vein. The wire keeps the catheter stiff enough to place correctly (you can find out more about PICC line placement here).
This time, however, I felt pain, despite the lidocaine. The woman doing it said the vein was a little deep and that might be the cause of the pain. Once she had the PICC line placed, she left to call mobile x-ray. I noticed at this point that every time I held my arm in a certain position, I would get a sharp pain just under where the PICC entered my arm, which had never happened before. Then, the x-ray technicians arrived and took an x-ray of my chest, to make sure the PICC was placed correctly. Unfortunately, it wasn't. Instead of going down, toward my heart, it had gone up, into my neck. So she had to pull the PICC line I had in (which doesn't hurt but does feel weird), and place a new one.
Also unfortunately, she had to push on the area that had been hurting to place the new line, which made things quite painful this time. Eventually it was placed though, and the new x-ray showed it was placed correctly. All that was left to do was apply the dressing and send me back to my room.
My PICC line dressing
There were only a two other things that happened that day. First, my telemetry monitor was brought in and attached to monitor my heart.
Then an IV pole and pump was brought in and I was hooked up to my meds.
My IV pole
And that was it for my first day. Coming soon - Methodist Day 2!