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18
WHAT THE C?!? /// CHAPTER 11
Here is a FAQ chart on central lines:
External line (Hickmann, PICC, etc)
How will blood
be drawn?
A syringe will be hooked up to the end of the
external tubing and blood drawn into syringe
Port-a-cath
If you've just come from home, the port will need to be " accessed " with
a needle that is attached to a short tubing. From that point, it's the same
as an external line. If they are just having lab work, some folks choose
to actually have a traditional needle poke in the finger or arm rather than
have their port accessed. Also, some ER nurses are not familiar and
comfortable with accessing ports and may not use it for blood draws.
How will meds
and transfusions
be given?
How do I take
care of?
More tubing is attached to your dangling
lumens; the other end of all the tubing is
connected to a syringe, a bag or a pump
A line must always have a sterile dressing
covering it. You will learn how to change the
dressing. Your lines will also need to be flushed.
How often and with what solution will depend
on the type of line and the hospital's protocol
Can I bathe?
Swim?
Can I play sports
and be active?
You can bathe BUT you must take special care
to keep the exit site dry - you will learn how to
carefully apply a water-tight covering. Ask your
medical team about swimming.
Check each activity with your medical team. No
contact sports, no free weights over your chest
About IV Pumps:
Your meds, fluids and blood for transfusions are usually
hung on an IV pole to which the pump or pumps are
connected.
Depending on what you need, several different things
may hang on an IV pole at the same time - chemo drugs,
antibiotics, fluids, blood products, nutritional supplements
etc. The tricky part is maneuvering around with all this
stuff attached to your body. You will soon get the hang of
it and will know just how to move so all your lines don't get
tangled up.
One more thing about those pumps...
Get used to them beeping! The pumps " beep " when the
infusion is completed. They also beep if there is air in the
line (potentially serious) or if the battery is low. But beware
- they often beep for no reason... very annoying especially
when you're trying to sleep. You can hit the silence button
while you're waiting for your nurse to adjust the pump, but
don't just silence it and forget to call. In the meantime, just
grin and bear it.
As above, once the port is accessed, you are left with a short tubing
dangling down and you effectively have an external line. More tubing is
attached to your dangling tube; the other end of all the tubing is connected
to a syringe, a bag or a pump
Need to be flushed about every 4-6 weeks - by nurses
(when port is not accessed)
Yes!
Yes!
Check each activity with your medical team. No contact sports, no free
weights over your chest
If you don't have a central line...
Depending on their treatment plans, some people may
never have a central line. If that's you, you may need to
have some IV procedures done with a venipuncture. This
means a needle is inserted into a vein, usually in your
arm or your hand. If you are having blood drawn, a tube is
attached to the needle to collect your blood sample. If you
are having drugs or fluids infused, IV tubing is attached
through which the substance flows. The same is true for a
blood transfusion.
Getting stuck with needles for an IV is not usually that
painful, but it's not exactly comfortable either. Some people
are really good at it - others are not quite tolerant to it.
Whenever possible, use a good dose of EMLA cream before
the poke (it takes at least half an hour to work). Also, if
you are having routine IVs without a central line, try to keep
switching veins (if you can remember). It will give them a
little time to recover.
If you are being treated in an adult hospital, you might
not get offered access to a line when you begin treatment
(unless you are a hematology patient), but you can ask
for one. It's perfectly okay to not want to be poked and
prodded all the time!
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What Do I Do Now?

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