Friday, March 23, 2007

Out with the Old...(pictures of my old Port-a-Cath)

Here are some pictures with captions of my old portacath. I was only permitted to keep the port (the little reservoir with the septum) and not the catheter (the tube that goes up into my vein.) Regulations about contaminated waste or something like that. This souvenir EASILY makes up for the piano incident.

These are the dressings that I need to change daily for a total of 4 days. The lower portion with the larger bandage, is where the "pocket' is for my port was sewn up. The new port reservoir is pretty much in the same place as the old one was, which will make things easier for me. I've already gotten the flushing down to a "system" without the aid of a mirror, so it would have been a shame to relearn it all for the opposite side of my chest.

The smaller bandage covers the place where they connected the catheter to my jugular vein. The catheter runs from the port, under my skin to that point on my neck where the bandage is. No portion of it is outside of my body, but the surgeons needed to tunnel down through my skin with their instruments that they used to sew the catheter securely into the vein. It's that part of my neck that hurts the most right now. The tubing in there is a little stiff, which makes turning my head uncomfortable.

The old port! Pretty incredible invention, don't you think? That gray area in the center is the septum, and if you're able to zoom in on it at all, you can clearly see all of the places where a needle pierced it. It looks like a well used dart board!

The little tube on the right is where the catheter connects. When it was still inside my body, I was able to feel that through my skin. Actually, that 1/2 cm of white tubing you see there is probably a tiny portion of the old catheter. Just for kicks, I loaded up a new needle with some saline, and popped it into the septum for a flush. I was surprised at how difficult it was to flush, even though the thing is out of my body. I suppose I shouldn't have been. There was some dried blood in the catheter connection point, and I can only assume that there's some buildup in that little reservoir itself.

Here's a better picture where you can probably see those needle marks. I have it on good authority that these things can withstand 1,400 sticks. Wow. I didn't count every single one of mine, but I know it's nowhere near that many.

This is what the port reservoir looks like underneath. I'm not exactly sure why it is designed in such a way, but you can be sure that I aim to research that a bit.

Anyone for a little "Shell Game?"
Doesn't this make you think of those flying turtle things in the Super Mario Brothers Nintendo game? No? Just me then? Okay.

It looks tall in this picture, but it's not. The picture is enlarged to show detail, and is approximately 200% the actual size of the thing. The next picture gives a little better size reference.

See? It's really not that much larger in diameter than a quarter. The center septum is slightly smaller than a dime. The whole thing is hardly visible under my skin.

It's only half as tall as a quarter, too. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say that it's about 1/2 inch tall, which explains why a 3/4 inch needle was the best for accessing it. A 1-inch needle always stuck out quite far from my chest.

I'm so impressed that this sort of thing is available as an option for people who need long term infusion therapy. Although it was initially disturbing to think of having a piece of medical equipment implanted under my skin (and on my chest no less!) the trade off for easier and more comfortable tune-ups has been well worth it. Here's to 10 years with the new one! Three cheers for the new port.

Hep-hep-Heparin! Hep-hep-Heparin! Hep-hep-Heparin!

I always thought the little holes would be for stitching it in place... *shrug* Dunno if that's right or not...

Seems a little tall, like it would stick out, but I guess it goes into an area deep enough for it...

Thanks! I've always been curious about these, figuring I'd get one some day...
Thanks for sharing, Lauren. It is great to be educated in all of this before we have to make the big committment.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?