Friday, I got a PICC line installed. I was told the procedure would take 45 minutes, and technically, it did.
This did not, however, count the set-up and the follow-up. It took about an hour to assemble the mise en place, and then after the line was in, it took another hour for a chest x-ray and to generate the appointments for the weekly dressing change.
However, the line seems to be accomplishing its purpose. Right after the line was installed, it was used to draw blood for my lab tests, and today it was used for the infusion of my monoclonal antibodies. I decided to accept the offer of a PICC line the day it took five tries to get a working IV started. Today, no tries at all because there was a line sticking out of my arm. No need to make new holes.
Alas, there are entities in Kaiser that aren’t allowed to hook up to the PICC. So over Thanksgiving Weekend, I’ll probably have to take myself to a clinic lab, and they’ll have to make a fresh hole in me. Hopefully, after the veins have had a rest, it’ll be easier for them. (Actually, they haven’t had much trouble with a blood draw.)
The PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) line is a catheter that’s installed into a vein, and then threaded up to the superior vena cava. This spot is chosen because it’s nice and wide, and when strong drugs are injected, there’s time for some dilution to occur before they reach the wall of the vein. I’m under the impression that the current drugs, a monoclonal antibody and a bone-strengthening agent, aren’t that nasty. But they’ll be diluted anyway.
And so with this, my exploration of 21st Century medicine continues.