Goodbye Central Line!

During my appointment with my oncologist on Thursday, he told me that I could get my central line removed.  That thing has been my constant companion since March.  I have to say, I was really happy to be getting it removed.  It was one of the 2 lumen models and it was inserted into a vein in my left chest.  It had to have a dressing placed over it (and replaced weekly) to keep it sterile.  That was quite a routine, along with changing the caps on a weekly basis.  That dressing was also water-sensitive, so I had to cover it when I bathed.  It made baths/showers such a huge PITA because I couldn’t put the cover on myself, and once the cover was on, the mobility of my left arm was restricted so much that I couldn’t adequately wash myself, so my wife had to help.  That meant I only took a shower or a bath about every other day or so.

Getting the central line (or central veinous catheter – CVC) removed took a whole 2 minutes.  When the infusion therapy nurse called me back, I just laid down, she took the dressing off, clipped the sutures holding it in, and pulled it right out while putting pressure on the insertion point.  After a minute of pressure, there was no bleeding anymore.  She put a bandage on that I was to keep for 24 hours and after that I was (almost) completely free.  I can at least shower on my own now.  I am just not allowed to go swimming yet.

The nurse let me keep it, too.  She had a bit of a bewildered look on her face, wondering why I’d ask but there it is.  The brown discolored portion was the part inserted into my chest.  The red pieces are ‘safety’ clips.  The caps (the tips from the green part to the end) adequately keep the line closed, but the clips will allow you to close the lumens in the event of a problem (like the one I had where we accidentally threw a cap away after my nightly heparin flush).  It’s a clever device that makes it easy on the nurses and patients when blood needs to be drawn or IV meds need to be given.

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