Wednesday, August 02, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0253 - Infection

The CCAC nurse came to my home today to change the dressing for the PICC line. Because the redness and swelling at the insertion point had not diminished, but had actually intensified in redness and seemed slightly more elevated, we decided to call the cancer centre and have the infection examined. I was able to get an appointment right away, but had to wait about 90 minutes before the nurses in the chemo suite began their treatment.

The treatment consisted of changing the dressing for the second time, swabbing the area with a variety of liquids whose names I can't now remember, and applying a gauze dressing instead of the tape dressing. What this means for me is that we have to change the dressing every three days instead of seven days. It also means that I can no longer see the insertion point or the condition of the infection. Suits me.

Today after we examined the site at home, I started feeling queazy and fatigued. I suspect some of that was simply worry about what might happen, the worst of which seemed to be removal and replacement of the PICC line. Thank goodness that's not going to happen.
The most likely explanation is that I have developed a sensitivity to the chorhexidine used to clean the area around the insertion point.

I guess this is no big deal, especially in comparison to what others are going through or even in comparison to the side-effects of chemotherapy that I'm experiencing. But it has defined my day to some extent. Cancer treatment certainly is full of surprises and things to occupy the mind. But I'd much rather be doing other things, almost anything else.
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