Thursday, July 23, 2009

our ER adventure in a nutshell

A rough chronology of the follies that began last night:

10:30PM: Mom has 5-10 minutes alone in her bedroom and manages to tug out her PICC line. The worry now is that part of the PICC line may have broken off and remained somewhere in her thoracic (chest) region. We learn later that another possible risk is pulmonary embolism, should a tiny fragment of the PICC line float into a blood vessel in one of the lungs.

11:27PM: We drive like mad to the Fairfax Hospital ER, having long ago decided to avoid the Mount Vernon ER if at all possible.

A long wait at the ER ensues. Mom seems fine, aside from a bit of pain in her de-PICCed arm.

Around 2 or 2:30AM: Mom is X-rayed.

2:45AM: The doc talks with us, but has little more to say than that the X-ray image doesn't definitively show, one way or another, whether any PICC fragments remain inside Mom's chest or arm. I ask whether other, better scanning methods could yield results, and the doc says a CT scan would do it. Dad and I are left with the creepy impression that the doc was seriously contemplating sending Mom home despite not knowing for sure that her chest and arm were clear. It was only after discussion of the CT scan option that a CT scan was ordered.

3:15AM: Mom is wheeled off for a CT scan.

3:45AM: Mom is finally given a berth in the ER-- Room 18. It has taken us four hours to get a room. As always, MRSA protocols are in effect. Dad and I glove and gown up.

4:10AM: A male nurse/tech comes into the room to give us good news: the CT scan shows nothing. Mom is safe, and we now know she has miraculously pulled off a professional-grade PICC line removal.

4:45AM: After another long wait, we're told we can go. After Dad processes Mom out and I fetch the van, we get home by 5:30AM.

Many thanks to David and Sean for showing up and hanging around as long as they could.

I'm off to get some sleep. At noon, I need to get up, and we need to be on the road back to the hospital at 1PM for radiotherapy. We're also supposed to see Dr. Tonnesen, and what's more, we need to have Mom scheduled for PICC line re-installation. She has another week to go for her daptomycin regimen, for which the PICC is essential.


No comments: