It’s disclaimer month here, so be warned: if you are medically squeamish, you might want to skip this one.
We’re all about the infections here at AddProb. We’ve got infected computers, Lyme infection, a sinus infection* and now… an infected IV line. Yup, the itchy IV went from bad to worse.
The effort of trying NOT to scratch the raw, inflamed skin around the IV site combined with the torment of constant, agonizing itching, was bad enough. Most of our time at home consisted of Cait’s deranged face pressed into mine muttering, “It iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitches!”** I was investigating home straightjacket sales and trying to determine if I could find somewhere to institutionalize her 9 pm – 5 am M-F and weekends.
Sadly, they are all out of beds at St. E’s, so we were resigned to a fun, scratchless weekend at home, when we noticed that the blisters were now, well, seeping. So we felt that her poor skin needed some tape-free time, and took the bandage off for a few hours (covering only the actual open wound but leaving the surrounding area untaped). At dinner yesterday, my dad’s wife, a nurse, took a look at it and agreed that we should let it air out a bit longer. She gave us some paper tape (as Anonymous had wisely suggested) to use when we got home.
Our plans went out the window when we got home and discovered that about three inches of the line had come out. This is officially Not Good, as the line belongs INSIDE her arm, inside her vein, and most importantly it needs to be STERILE. So we got out our kit, I put on my lovely latex gloves, and started swabbing with alcohol, iodine, and anything else antibacterial I could get my hands on. We called the home health nurse who proceeded to yell at Cait and provide no useful suggestions whatsoever. She said it would be ok to leave it out, but Cait was grossed out by this idea so we struggled to get it back in.
Unfortunately, this morning, we discovered that the site had indeed developed signs of infection (rather oogily) and we packed up and headed off to the emergency room. Good news: it was the shortest ER trip we’ve ever clocked (3 hours, if you want to know). Bad news: we managed to freak the ER doc, who kept saying, “I’m not sure what to do here. Your doctor should be the one to deal with this.” Umm, he’s in Baltimore, he doesn’t have an on-call service and he SENT HER HERE TO HAVE THE LINE PUT IN IN THE FIRST PLACE. In the end, he did remove the line and culture her arm for bad bugs. He sent us home with dire admonitions to watch for signs of further infection (but allowed that removal of the line was the standard treatment for this kind of problem and cures it in most cases).
So, what did YOU do this weekend?
*Yes, my three month long sinus headache has finally evolved into a sinus infection. But my allergist doesn’t want me to take oral antibiotics so she has me dissolving ointment in warm water and squirting it up my nose. Indeedy, we know how to have fun around here.
**with only very occasional biting.