Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I.V. organization part 4 -- Ports and when to get one

This is was my last post that I wrote last summer for the series on I.V. organization. Tiffany had posted all the other entries but had not gotten around to posting this one.  If you are interested in reading the others you can click here for the July entries and you will find 3 other entries about organization. 

This was a tough decision for Tiffany and I -- when do you get a port put in. A port is a semi-permanent (Tiff’s first port lasted around 4 years) line that is put in with a reservoir that sits right below your skin that you access with a needle.  To start IVs your simply put the needle into the port and you are good to go -- you are up and running in 15 minutes.  PIC lines are temporary and have to be placed in every time you do IVs. Usually they are now considered a surgical procedure so you have to get admitted to the hospital as an outpatient to have it placed.  Tiffany’s first PIC line after we were married was put in by her CF nurse in the office -- they don’t do that anymore. PIC lines are more fickle but then again, you don’t have something permanent in your body.

The hardest part of the decision is the feeling that your are giving in again to CF and that you are progressing. To have to need a port makes you feel like you are in a different stage of treating the disease. We finally based our decision on the number of times that Tiff would be on IVs.  We felt like if she was only on them once a year, it was worth the hassle of the PIC line so that everything was temporary.  When she needed to be on IVs more than that we decided to get the port.  We are very thankful that we made the decision to get it.  This year Tiffany has been on IVs three different times. Of the last 7 months, she has literally spent 50% of the time on IVs -- having a PIC line now would be miserable.  Once she had to be on IVs for 5 months to treat mico-bacteria. The port gives us convenience and speed of therapy.  We can go to the Dr., decide to go on IVs, and have them running that very same night -- that is usually not possible unless you check in to the hospital if you have a PIC line.

For us, the port has given us more control and convenience and it is when you reach that place with treating CF, you should strongly consider getting a port, because the reality is -- CF is progressive and you probably have reached the next level of treatment to maintain your health.  That doesn’t mean you are giving in, it just means you have to be more aggressive in the treatment in order to stay healthy -- and that is the goal -- staying as healthy as is possible in God’s plan.

So this concludes what started out as a simple explanation of our IV organization but turned into a diatribe.  Would love to hear your tricks of the trade on how you organize and what you do to help maintain your health!

2 Response to I.V. organization part 4 -- Ports and when to get one

January 27, 2011 at 10:17 PM

I was so hesitant and fought getting/needing a port for years because I thought "only sick CFers get ports" it felt like it was a sign of my CF 'advancing'. That was over 11 years ago & I never regretted a minute of it. Great Post!

Oh, and I read your comment to Bryan about guest posting. . .I am going to get him to post one of these days :)

January 28, 2011 at 8:27 AM

We never regretted getting the port either. I learned to do all the maintenance of it so it was really easy to get started on IV treatments. To avoid infections, we would do all the accessing and deaccessing. I found that in general we were much more intense about using a sterile process than the nurses were.