So yesterday and the day before were probably the most stressful, awful days yet.
I have never thrown up so much in my life. At one point, it was every 5-10 minutes.
I was finally able to take a Phenergan at 10 am and it slowed the throwing up to every half hour and then every hour which was an improvement.
Every muscle in my abdomen was so achy from throwing up so much that sometimes when the urge came I had to stop it somehow. I don’t know how I did it, but basically unless there was really something coming up I had to make my body stop. I don’t even know that stopping it voluntarily is the right way to describe it. It was more like my whole body just gave out and said, “NO MORE!”
As soon as everything opened up at 8 am, I started calling. First I called the home healthcare nurses. It turns out that they were certified to put in PICC lines, but they don’t do it on pregnant women because they’ve had too many complications with it. They said I should call my health insurance case manager and that they would be the ones to organize everything, rather than my doctor. I called my doctor’s office anyway because that’s what he told me to do in the morning if the home health nurses couldn’t do it. Man, I did not want to go to the hospital! The receptionist took down all my information and promised to pass it on to my doctor and his nurse practioner.
So then I called my GEMcare case manager. My case manager is a nurse and she’s been great through this whole thing. She calls every few days to check up on me and see how things are going. She used to work at the same OB group where my doctor is and is really familiar with HG. So she said that she would call and get everything set up for us to where we would have a specific appointment and not have to be in the hospital for days. Thank goodness!
Well after those phone calls is when the throwing up every five minutes began so Stephen handled everything else. It turns out they can insert a PICC line at a radiologists office and so all of that was set up.
At 12:30 I went to get some pre-lab work done at PAL’s main location and then we went to Truxtun Radiology’s southwest location. While we were waiting for my appointment I threw up twice in the bathroom. I was so afraid I was going to puke while they were inserting the line or something.
There was some confusion at the radiology place because they didn’t realize I was pregnant and so they wouldn’t be able to give me the contrast to find my veins. Finally they got it all straightened out and I was able to go in.
I had to lay all the way flat on a x-ray table which was really hard and uncomfortable. I thought for sure that was going to make me throw up. The nausea is always worse when I lay completely flat.
Somehow my adrenaline took over though as I started to get more and more nervous about the PICC line. I had read a little about it a few weeks ago on this HG message board that I check out from time to time. Some of the ladies said that it hurt really bad going in and that they bled a lot.
I think the concept of it just freaked me out a lot too. For those of you that don’t know a PICC line is like an IV, but it has a really long catheter which goes all the way up your arm and into your chest where it hangs out in a centralized artery. Because it is so deep, it is a much more permanent IV that can last for several months which is much better than getting poked every two days and my arms looking like those of a drug addict.
So first a nurse comes in and does a little prep work. She layed out a bunch of towels under my arm so it would be comfortable laying across the table and down onto the tray. I think this was also for the blood, but I can’t be sure. I never actually saw any blood. She used an ultrasound machine to check out my upper arms to see what would be the best veins to use. Then the doctor came in. There was further prep work They layed a bunch of blue papery stuff over my shoulder and part of my head and then also over my lower arm. Then they covered my arm with iodine and alcohol to sterilize it. Then the doctor used the ultrasound probe to look at my arm.
I got a shot of anesthetic right around where they had decided to insert the line. My arm never felt numb though so I’m not sure it even worked. Maybe I’m developing my dad’s insensitivity to anesthetics?
Then the insertion began. It felt just like getting an IV: a small poke to go in and then a little discomfort as it reached down into the vein. I couldn’t see most of what was going on because my view was covered. That was probably a good thing.
I know that the line went in next I could feel it a little bit until it reached my arm pit and then after that I couldn’t feel the rest. It didn’t necessarily hurt, just like I could feel that there was something there where there normally isn’t. My arm pit was a little uncomfortable the rest of the day. They cleaned up the area and taped me up and it was over.
Then I got an x-ray of my chest while wearing a protective abdominal shield. The x-ray showed that the line was in a little too far. So the doctor and the nurse came back in and pulled the line out a little bit then retaped me and sent me home.
After the adrenaline let down I threw up in the car. We got back home and I was able to take another Phenergan. The nurse came out and got my line all set up so I could use it and we started a new bag at around 6:30 pm. I was finally able to get a dose of Zofran and I didn’t throw up anymore after that.
I fell asleep on the couch and stayed there until 3:30 this morning when I went to our bed.
A nurse will be here later this morning to change the dressing on the line. I can’t even really feel the thing now. The discomfort in my arm pit is gone. My abdominal area is still sore from two days of throwing up, but hopefully that will be done for good. I haven’t thrown up since yesterday’s dose of Zofran, so that’s much better.