Sunday, April 22, 2012

Revenge of the Port-a-Cath

I was happy Friday to have my port-a-cath removed.  The procedure was quick and easy, requiring only local anesthesia, and it went off without a hitch.

Just because, the surgeon snipped the tip off of the port and sent it for cultures.  It looked fine, he said, no overt signs of infection.  He couldn't fathom why it had so often failed to do its duties of making infusions and blood draws "stickless" affairs.

It required some stitching, and he covered the area with glue, as well.  Being such a small deal, he said I could shower that day, even.  There was no necessity for a follow-up appointment, as the stitches are the kind that are simply absorbed.

Everything has been pretty much the same with me over the last week.  Unexpected extreme fatigue, to the extent that I sometimes don't have the energy to sit up in the wheelchair.  Fever, from low grade 99 to 100, to a few days at or above  101.  The definitive return of CRPS dystonia, and the screaming ninnies, as a result.  The latest weirdness involving these spasms is that on my left side, they feel as if they issue directly from my left hip.  The pain within that joint when the left leg is going at it is unfreakingbelievable.

I burst into tears on the way to the hospital, trying to explain to Fred that I go from feeling emotionally stable, quite okay, quite in control, to absolute despair when the spasms start.  This shift can occur in the span of 30 seconds.  It must have something to do with the area of the brain involved in dystonia -- but ask me if I care when the desire to leap out of a very high window sets in.  I know that this reeks of self-pity and poor character, but the suffering involved -- in this, my particular case and instance -- is beyond what I can handle.  I keep saying that, hoping some insightful health care professional will hear me, understand, and treat the dystonia as something close to an emergency.  Because it is, and one day I just will no longer care that "this, too, shall pass."

Uhhh, right.  So the surgeon removed the port, stitched and glued me back together, sent the tip for cultures, and poof, we were back home within three hours.

It bled a little bit, which was expected.  It itched some, at which point I carefully peeled off the dried glue.  I did not shower Friday, having done so before the surgery, and -- frankly -- showering having become a scary endeavor, took a very thorough sponge bath yesterday, instead.  I am going to shower this afternoon, once I've whipped the Haddock ancestral home, Marlinspike Hall, into a spick-and-span* state.

* Etymology:  From spick-and-span-new (literally new as a recently made spike and chip of wood) (1570s), from spick (nail) (variant of spike) + Middle English span-new (very new) (from circa 1300 until 1800s), from Old Norse span-nyr, from spann (chip) (cognate to Old English spón, Modern English spoon, due to old spoons being made of wood) + nyr (new) (cognate to Old English nīwe, Modern English new).[1] Imitation of Dutch spiksplinter nieuw (literally spike-splinter new)[2] , for a freshly built ship. Observe that fresh woodchips are firm and light (if from light wood), but decay and darken rapidly, hence the origin of the term.
During yesterday's wash-at-the-sink, it became clear that there was some inflammation around the small incision.  I cleaned it well, using the left over ton of supplies from the weeks of wound care for my shoulder. Wound cleanser, sterile supplies, sterile technique.  And a dab of triple antibiotic ointment.

So this is what it looks like now.  Any suggestions?!  [Just kidding.  If it gets a lot worse today, I will ruin some medico's Sunday afternoon by calling.  Otherwise, I'll give the surgeon a buzz tomorrow.]

I just want something (anything, almost) to go as planned.

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