Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Emerald City of imminence: day 0 - 10

It looks like I did some insomnia rambling the other morning, and I don't know that I made the sense I was trying to make. Oh well. It's a start. I have had furious writer's block lately, mostly due to exhaustion and a little bit overfull of feelings. Not everything I have been feeling or thinking has been negative or down; there has just been a lot of it. It's hard to tease it apart when I'm too tired to look at screens or paper. Yes, this is just reiteration of what I wrote last time, but I hope that with enough tries I can get it right.

Today was Hickman line day. A Hickman line is a central port catheter that is threaded under the skin on one side of the upper chest, over the collar bone, and into the jugular vein. It makes for easier blood draws, infusions, and anything else one might need an IV for. The line is named for Dr. Hickman, who invented a little silver-infused cuff on the catheter that prevents infection by encouraging the patient's body to build up a bit of tissue around the cuff near the surface of the port entry. When they pull the line at the time of removal, the cuff sometimes detaches and stays behind as this little inert bump under the skin.  For now, I have a forked tube sticking out of my chest that requires careful attention, but at least I won't need to be stuck with needles at all for the rest of my time here. I was consciously sedated for the procedure, but I remember most of it. I'm glad for the memory because it is an unusual experience but with the sedation the pain and pressure of it were really no big deal. I think I dozed off for a little while toward the end. The most painful part was the burn of the numbing injection (lidocaine?), and there was and still is discomfort from the vessel dilation. The best bit of the day was meeting Jim the radiology tech. He was a head designer for Nordstrom for twenty years before deciding to pursue a career in the sciences and looked, spoke, and had the mannerisms of Tim Gunn. If I had met him after the sedation kicked in instead of before, I would have been absolutely convinced Tim Gunn was in the room, making sure the catheter was dropping into the right vein.

To some of the point I was trying to make in the other post: please tell the people you love and like that you love them and why you like them; say something nice to a stranger or server or customer service worker; show as much kindness as you can, as much as you can, even if it feels awkward or silly or uncool. I hate to sound preachy, so if I do I am sorry. I just want to make sure that no matter what happens (and trust me, I am counting on this transplant to be a success) I get this idea out into the universe. It's nothing new, but it is one of the most important concepts to me, something I strive for with varying degrees of success, and something I think we all can benefit from. Thanks for listening. I love you guys.

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