Sep 11, 2014

AVA 2014

As many of you know, I am on the Board of  the AVAFoundation. Our yearly convention was held in Washington DC.  I was also asked to speak for the Pediatric special interest group. And I got hours to talk to vendors about what patients need (from my perspective).  So really cool stuff. 

Most people don't get to live with their super hero.  I do.  This is Manny at the airport in Tampa watching our plane arrive for DC. 
My speech was entitled, "The Other Side of the Line 2014".  Last year I shared this same basic speech at a general session so this year was the update.  It's amazing how many things have transpired in just a year on a central line.  From a new line, numerous breaks, several IV mishaps, etc.

Meanwhile, Manny was with me.  I drug him around to all of this.  Organizations can sometimes lose focus on the patient so I had a visual reminder (a cute one) of what they are doing all this work for.  They thanked me often for offering this perspective.  I am hoping I’m going to be able to make a real difference in this world. 

One of the coolest experiences!!  This is Dr. Broviac. Not his title, that's his name.  The device that Manny lives on 24/7 for almost 3 years is a Broviac.  I got the chance to say, "This is a life you have changed.  YOUR life has made a difference in the lives of countless people.  Manny is one."  I treasure this experience.  I'd rather have met him than a rock star or movie star.  Afterall, THEY never helped save my kid's life!

Ironically, my sister was admitted in the hospital this exact same week.  Always been healthy.  But this week, she was inpatient and needing constant vascular access.  And in my opinion, they failed her miserably.  Poor decisions were made on her behalf regarding her veins/access.  And I was powerless to help. 

How we felt after the conference.  It was great but also like drinking from a fire hose! So much to do, so few helpers.  The job is OVERWHELMING.  The need is great.

My goal is … the right device for the right person inserted by the right person for the duration of the line.  It seems a no-brainer.  Afterall MILLIONS of IVs are placed yearly.  So it can’t be that big of a deal … but it is. 

We DID get to have a bit of fun as well.  And I could NOT have done this trip without the help of Kaley and Sam.  They are amazing people.  Any parents would be blessed to have children half as kind and helpful and responsible as these two. 

Life threatening complications, scared and damaged veins, infections, not to mention the pain and trauma… this doesn’t have to be this way.  50,000 plus people die yearly from this but we’re doing basically nothing. The public has no clue.  And unlike a disease like cancer or autism, we don’t know the exact causes, prevention and cures … we DO know all of this for these complications!!  So it’s just unthinkable that we’re so far behind in promoting safe vein care. 

I’m going to work on a campaign that: People are not pin cushions, veins are not disposable. 

And if you’re like my family, until it hits YOUR family, you’re not likely to even care or notice. This is someone else’s problem/issue.  But given the statistics … this WILL eventually hit you or a loved one.  So I’m working now to close the gaps in knowledge of the public. 

HELP me.

Me getting his TPN ready in the plane.  I talked to vendors just this week about how products seem to be made for people who are laying still in an ICU bed, not for real life.  We are like most ... out trying to live life to the fullest!  (The things I was doing in the plane are things that if done in the hospital would have been done by an RN and a Pharmacist.)

So thanks, AVA (Association of Vascular Access) and the AVA Foundation. Manny is safer because of the care, dedication, research, training, support and advocacy that you do.  Together we can make a huge difference in the lives of patients around the globe. 

Manny LOVES to fly.  He was SOOO excited to be on an airplane.  When he could see out the window to see houses and roads and trees, he said, "Mama, do you see the lovely world?"  Yes, Baby, I do. And it's a much more lovely world because you're in it sweet Manny!

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