On having tubes

I think I’m allowed to gripe a little (obviously, since this is my blog, I can gripe all I want, but there remains a fine balance of not turning away those who wish to follow this journey with me by griping all the time — that can get old).

There are certain things about having cancer that can really put a damper on activities that one normally enjoys (OK, that’s a bit of an understatement). Take for instance, bathing. For the past three months I have not had a complete soak in the tub. Sure, I can sit and splash and sort of soak. But, as one nurse referred to bathing with a hickman, “It’s like taking a bird bath.” To get an idea of what I’m up against every time I try to get clean, here’s a photo:

(Word of warning – it’s not a pretty picture, but nothing about having tubes sticking out of your body is pretty).

Hickman Line

There are obvious advantages to having direct access to one’s blood stream. For one, every time I have blood work drawn (two or three times a week), I don’t have to get pricked. The same goes for medications, I.V.s and blood transfusions. Pain medication is especially effective when administered this way. I found that out real fast when given Demerol and Dilaudid at different points during my hospitalizations… “Ummm, I’ll have some more of that, please.” (Just kidding). But, that’s about it.

Ah, but to be able to submerge myself to the neck and take a nice long soak… I believe that will be the first thing I’ll do when this is all over with.

3 Replies to “On having tubes”

  1. When I was a little girl, I went on a choir tour to Puerto Rico, and one of my friends had a hickman line.
    I have vivid memories of her father holding her over the ocean so she could get her toes wet, but keep the line dry.
    We’re all holding good thoughts for you Dan, and you can gripe all you like.

  2. Michelle Haimowitz says:

    You now have me wondering what my older patients do. Some of the kids on my service have had a tunneled line for 6+ years… maybe thats why they tend to go for ports.

  3. It is easy to take for granted things that we truly enjoy when we can not do them. I wish you well. And very much hope that this will be done with soon.

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