The Port a Cath Surgery

The port placement surgery went just fine. My friend drove me to the hospital by 7am and my surgery was scheduled for 9:15am. I filled out the usual paperwork and showed my insurance card for the 517th time this month (as much as I complain about the hefty copays I am very thankful for insurance.) They gave me yet another stylish wristband and told me to wait.

When the nurse called my name we entered the surgical bays. It was one big room with a bunch of little bays, one for each gurney. I thought I might have a lot of “hurry up and wait” time so I brought a bunch of magazines. I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of Jake’s selection of Vienna in the final two but I knew even with a load of down time I would not figure that one out. I was surprised to find out I had my own personal TV. Things sure have changed since my tonsillectomy in the 80s!

The surgeon opted to provide access to the port (meaning a needle and tubes) since chemotherapy starts this week. This is all to say that it looks alien-isque right now. Glam-o- alien. ET chic- I’ll call it. Very stylish.

Moving on. I got all prepped and was taken down two floors to the surgical unit. The anesthesiologist spoke with me about the anesthesia and come to find out I had conflicting orders. He stated this procedure could be done under Twilight, but my surgeon had ordered a general anesthetic. The general would require more recovery time and a breathing tube. While I’d be loopy and unable to drive with either, I was all for the Twilight.

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My consultation with the surgeon before the procedure consisted of a “Let’s do this!” and one of those double pointer-ed pistol type ‘bang bang’ hand motions with accompanying sound effects. Off I went to the operating table.

The doctors decided Twilight would be fine and I was happy to hear I wouldn’t have a tube shoved down my throat. There were six people in the room for my procedure and it made me feel pretty important! I asked what everyone’s duties were and they introduced themselves and let me know they’d be monitoring my vitals and my response to the anesthesia as I went semi-unconscious. An inappropriate “Michael Jackson could have used someone like you, huh?” came out of my mouth and I don’t even think the drugs had been administered. Shortly thereafter I’m told I advised three of the doctors/anesthesiologists that I’d be making them my facebook friends when I got home.

I was still on the operating table in the operating room when I awoke. They asked how I felt, my name and my birth date and rolled me to a bay in the surgical unit. I’m told many people are somewhat coherent with Twilight but I went completely out until they ceased the drip in the IV (which was in my hand for once, thank goodness. My arm veins are about to strike.) They kept me in the surgical area for chest x-rays to be sure it was placed properly and no important veins/nodes were nicced in the process. The port is about the size of a nickel, but thicker. It’s purple! Oh, and it’s one of the new POWER ports, whatever that means. I think it works faster and more efficiently.
Essentially it makes getting chemotherapy much easier and I won’t have to be poked as often with needles. Yay!

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The x-rays looked fine and I was sent back upstairs to the ambulatory unit where I originally began the process. I stayed there and ate Cheez-its and orange juice to prove I could swallow. I had to answer basic questions about myself and essentially sober up for about an hour before they would let me leave. My friend came to get me and off we went!

After sleeping most of the day, the area was very sore and tender but that will pass with time. I’ve got a prescription for it if needed. I cannot shower or bathe until after chemo on Thursday. This is my fourth week of testing and procedures and I learned weeks ago to ALWAYS SHOWER BEFORE A DOCTORS APPOINTMENT because I never know what they’re going to do to me or when I’ll be able to shower again. So, I’ve got plenty of wet wipes, sponges, deodorant and just plain Lysol for the next two days.

Since the surgeon accessed the port already any liquid that gets in it will go directly into my veins. I’m keeping the area covered with a tank top and heavy shirt. After chemo the port is the only part that remains under my skin so it will not effect me holding my son or doing normal activities.

It will leave a (roughly) two inch scar- on my left side just around/below the clavicle. When this is all said and done I plan on telling everyone I was stabbed in a gang fight. Do I seem more like a Crypt or a Blood? Hmmm….