Feb 7, 2014

Ode to a Central Line

Dear Central Line,  

                I have been long remiss to recount your virtues.  But upon this most significant milestone, I shall do just that. 

                February 7, 2012, you were placed into my precious son Manny.  There were many, many lines before you.  In fact, there were 8 lines from October 13-Feb 6. 
None of them could be counted on.  One of the lines tried to kill you. 

                So when you were placed, I have to admit, I had no clue that you and I would become friends.  I had no clue you were “the one”.  I figured you’d be like all the rest.  I prejudged you based on all the lines of the past.  And that was unfair to you.                   

We have had plenty of disagreements.   By June, only 4 short months in, you broke!  In fact, you broke only an inch from Manny’s skin.  They weren’t sure they would be able to repair it.  Standard philosophy is 1 ½-2 inches minimum.  Everyone thought we would need a whole new line.  I was disappointed in you.  How could you let me down like that?  And it was on Manny’s 3rd birthday too!

But … you showed you were not like the others.  You were able to be repaired.  You stood up to our first test.  We were released from the hospital just in time to celebrate his birthday. 

It wasn’t long that you would begin to prove to me your worth.  And that you could stand up to the tough tests of life.  We were in and out of the hospital and you stayed infection free.  Weekly we would take blood through you.  Daily we would put nutrition into Manny.  Antibiotics. Other medicines.  You held up through it all.

You, however, are also a Dramatic Diva!  You love to be the center of attention.  Life will be going along smoothly and then you just like to stop working.  No reason.  Just attention seeking.  You also like to blow a gasket and break at the most inopportune times.  In fact, you’ve scared many a tough nurse … scared to use you. 

It’s not like I blame them though.  You have broken in the hands of FIVE nurses.  (So far, never in my hand interestingly enough.)  And of course you can’t break in any normal, peaceful kind of way.  You like to do it right as Manny’s blood sugar is about to crash. You break and blood spurts everywhere with every heart beat.  You break when there are nurses around that don’t know/don’t remember what to do if a line breaks.  There’s one nurse that sees you and asks if it’s an “Ethanol day” before she will even walk in your room! (Ethanol days are the days you like to give the most problems.)

And now, perhaps it’s because you’re in your advanced years, that you are starting to have a new problem of clotting.  The first time was in the car on the way to Nashville where I was going to be speaking about Central Line issues.  (Thanks for the extra fodder for the talk.)  But all you need is a little TLC (aka TPA) and then you’re good as new. 

You sure have made the last two years interesting.  Just last night, on the eve of your second birthday, you decided to pull a fast one on me.  I went to flush you so I could hook Manny up to his TPN and nothing.  Nada.  No movement at all.  Nothing in, nothing out.  I knew there was a blockage and that if I pushed you too hard, you would break under the pressure.  So together, we patiently stuck with each other, trusting each other.  Afterall, we have become good friends for the past two years.  And you didn’t let me down.  Together, we worked through the problem.  Together, we were able to accomplish our mutual goal … getting Manny the nutrition he needs. 

You’re doing well for an old lady.  One year is considered very good for the type of line you are.  And to be infection free and still in use at the two year mark? It’s beyond our wildest expectations.  Especially since we use you heavily every day.  Most days you are in use almost around the clock with heavy duty medicines. 

So thank you, dear broviac.  We know that some day your time will come.  We know that old age will eventually give way to a line that just can’t do it any more.  But until that time comes, thank you for all you do for Manny.  I’m thrilled you’re part of the family. 

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