Sam has three cases managers. True story. He has one through our insurance, the state, and our home care nursing company. His insurance case manager gave me a couple of tips on how to prime (get ready) his TPN (nutrition). I’m sure it’s a combination of what I’ve been taught the past month and her tips, but I can can tell you I am having more success with no air in the line (tubing). I am comfortable with all things PICC line, but have a healthy fear of the sterile process.
What is a PICC line? Everyone knows what a PICC line is, right?! Now that we’ve been home for a bit, and have people asking more questions, I realize not everyone knows. News flash. I didn’t know what a PICC line was six years ago either.
Essentially, a PICC line is a small tube placed in a view on an upper arm close to the heart. This is a way for Sam to be able to get his minimum nutrition requirements without tube feeding. TPN is basically nutrition through your blood stream. One hundred percent of Sam’s nutrition is usually given through his feeding tube in his stomach. Because that was not going well for as long as it was, and we learned his little tummy was so irritated, a PICC line with TPN was the last resort.
We had his surgery consult. I wasn’t surprised by anything I heard. I’ve lived in this medical world long enough. The plan will be to try tube feedings after Christmas. If he’s not tolerating his feeds, they will do ANOTHER surgery in February or March. How many surgeries can one little boy’s body go through?!?!
Sam’s surgeon assured me the surgery would not be as invasive as many of his other surgeries. When I asked how long the hospital stay would be, he replied, “Usually three to five days.” He followed that with a slight chuckle. We both know Sam follows his own rules. I backed that up with, “We are going to shoot for three days, okay, maybe five.” And then I told him, “It’s not going to matter. Sam won’t need the surgery because he’s going to tolerate his feeds.”
All I want for Christmas is to be home with my family. The PICC line is going well. I suggested we don’t rock the boat and try feeds after Christmas. Sam’s surgeon agreed this was a ‘very reasonable’ plan. Spending another holiday, especially another Christmas, in the hospital is not on my bucket list. Although, Christmas is only a day. As long as we’re all together, the day we celebrate doesn’t matter so much, but being in the hospital on Christmas in no fun for anyone.
Sam is doing great. PICC line dressing changes are back to once a week and his little arm is no longer a mess. He definitely knows the infusion nurse’s voice when she walks in the door on Monday mornings. We all laughed when he gave her the side eye as she walked up the stairs this week. You can’t blame him for giving a side eye when he’s well aware I will have to sit on him and his home care nurse will have to hold his PICC line arm still while the infusion nurse changes his dressing for about fifteen to twenty minutes. He does a great job overall. His infusion nurse is always so impressed with how well he does. He’s a trooper and incredibly forgiving.
Sam’s not in school still, but being bored does seem to be a part of his personality. He loves to “organize”. Him and I have very different views on how to organize.
I was pretty proud of him when he set up the little table situation all on his own with some stools pushed together and the the blanket over them.
Silly Sam. The wrap around his head is suppose to be around his arm to protect his PICC line, but he likes it better as a hat.
Sam’s biopsy results came back all good! As I suspected, no news was good news.
Praying you don’t hear from me until after the holidays and when you do it will be because Sam’s tube feedings are going well!
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!