I have no visible veins in my arms, hands or anywhere else which makes it very difficult to have blood tests taken, or have drug infusions. It has taken up to one hour in the past just to cannulate me. Which meant I looked like a pin cushion afterwards with all these little band aid dots all over me, not to mention the swearing and crying by then. That's both me and whomever was cannulating me.
In order to fix this issue, I had what's called a PORT put in 2 years ago. This is a tube that is placed under my skin and has a hard disk attached to one end the size of a 10 cent piece. The tube forms a loop and goes near my heart to an artery, so that the blood just flows out into tubes, or the drug can flow in easily. The nurse or doctor puts a needle into the centre of the round disc, with a plastic tube attached, and off we go.
It must be flushed every 3 months so no clots form in the tube, so I usually have regular blood tests to keep this working. I went off 2 weeks ago to have a blood test, and the nurse couldn't flush the port initially with saline. It left me with a strong burning feeling in my chest, and a feeling of immense pressure in that area. We decided not to mess around with it. I finished up with the nurse and made an appointment to see the physician immediately. I managed to see him the next day, and zipped down the road for an x-ray afterwards. The results came back saying that the tube wasn't fragmented (phew), so the next step was to have a dye injected into the tube to look for any abnormalities, and scans taken.
My first outing in 10 days (as I still have the flu), was to the hospital on Monday to have the dye procedure done. It was done at the hospital and was quite involved. They took another x-ray, then injected the dye, and watched it on an ultrasound machine/screen, plus took additional images for the physician. I could actually see my heart beating! It was incredible. I am always in awe of the minds that create these incredible pieces of equipment that can do such things such as looking into the body during a "live" view!
It turned out that everything was fine and all was working well. Who knows, perhaps the nurse right at the beginning didn't get the inch long needle into the centre of the tube.
Below is a photograph of the x-ray so that you can see what it looks like (if you wish to), as well as the tube they attach so they can withdraw blood or infuse a drug into my body.
With the 2 images above you can actually see the disc as well as the tube, which as about one foot in length. It was simply a 20 minute operation under general anaesthetic. It has been one of the best things I have ever done!
The next bunch of medical tests are -
- MRI of the spinal cord to have a look at lesions from the disease.
- MRI of the brain with a dye injected to see if there are any lesions there. These are 2 separate MRI's on 2 different days as they are different machines.
- Bone density test, as I now have Osteoporosis thanks to not being able to weight bare and being in the wheelchair.
- Mammogram...now that I'm ove 50, it's time to start every 2 years.
- Regular pap smear due as well.
All of this to be done by the middle of October.
It is so important to have all the regular tests as well to make sure you are as well as you possible can be.
In a wheelchair permanently since early 2010 due to a disease called NMO. I am loving getting out and about in my wheels. My blogs capture my journey.