Stem Cell Transplant: Day: -9 – Admit and Room Assignment


9:30: I wake up and get out of bed.  My dad is cooking banana pancakes.

9:45: I sit by the table and start eating these delicious pancakes

10:20: I take a walk out in the backyard with Buster and check out our garden.  I see a number of tomatoes that are ready to come inside because they are turning red.  I let my dad know.

10:40: I walk out with my wife as she is heading off to work and I’ll be in the hospital before she gets off.  I should have been admitted Friday but due to scheduling and bed assignments at the hospital, that got pushed of the day before to Saturday.

11:00: I throw some things together for my suitcase I am taking to the hospital since I am going to be in the hospital anywhere from 4 weeks to maybe 6 weeks barring no complications…  My Aunt Estella also stops by with some fresh bread pudding that she had baked for me.

11:30: I jump in the shower.

11:45: I jump out the shower.

12:00: I am out the shower, and I finish packing.

12:30: I jump on the computer that I connected to the den’s TV and just doing some final updates and addons.  I mainly set this up so that I can skype with my family from the hospital to the house.

1:10: I get a call from Melissa, the transplant coordinator asking me to show up to the Emergency Room Entrance for 2:00 PM as its a Saturday, and there is no other way to be admitted to the hospital.

1:45: My parents, and I jump in the car and head down to Tulane Hospital.

2:00: We get to the parking garage and use the parking pass we had reactivated on Monday.  I call Melissa and let her know that we just pulled into the parking garage.

2:15: Melissa meets us in the emergency room, as she had to walk over from her office as well.

2:30: Melissa makes a few phone calls and brings us to the back of the emergency room to get us away from the people in the waiting room.

3:00: Financial Services comes and Admits me into the hospital.  Now we just need to wait for a room to be cleaned.  I IMAG0708am taking someone else’s room who is just here for a chemo infusion.  They will move that person to a different bed in a different part of the hospital to free up a bed in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit which is where I need to be for sterilization and centralization of the nurses that just do these procedures every day.

3:30: Melissa decides it best to take us up closer to the Transplant Unit and get away from the extra bodies that are coming and going through the transplant unit.

IMAG07093:40: We are upstairs. While we are waiting I find some irony in the signs on the door and the area we are in in general.   Does anyone else find a problem with this?  We are on the Pediatrics wing, however that unit also contains the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit which does not allow any children under 14 in that unit.

4:00: I enter my room.  I check it out, pretty nice!  Nice window view, AC nice and big.  Plenty of room around here.  I don’t want to unpack too much because I need to get blood taken and I know that’s not going to be fun, I also need to have a pic line placed for administration of IMAG0707the chemo.  So I am not going to unpack too much now, I’ll save the unpacking for later.

4:30: I put the Lidocane Cream on my chest and put the saran wrap over the cream to keep it from getting on my shirt.

5:30: The nurse comes in and puts in the huber needle into the port.  She can push in just fine, but she can’t pull any blood out.  She tries a few different things, but she can’t get any blood return.  She even uses some cathflow, but I think she may have messed up on the cathflow as she IMAG0710pushed in the cathflow but did’nt clear the air out the syringe so she pushed in a good bit of bubbles at the end.  Then she grabbed a saline syringe and pushed in some saline.  The saline should have never been pushed as it diluted or pushed the cathflow past the problem.

5:45: We go downtairs for a dual view X-Ray so that if something does happen they have a preliminary view of my chest with me coming into the hospital.

6:15: She let it sit for a while, but no blood return when she attempted to pull back.  She then deaccessed the port.  I asked about flushing the port with heprin.  She said she would have to call the doctor about that.  I said well its gotta be flushed with heprin to ensure that it doesn’t clot completely.  She said she was going to leave and call the doctor, when IMAG0711she left I put some more Lidocane cream over my port.

7:30: The nurse comes back in with another needle, a little longer, and she reaccess the port.  She said she accessed it right the first time from what she felt.  She pushed some flush but still she could not pull back any blood.  The only way to get blood is going to be through a stick in my arm.  She first tries for my left inner wrist.  She thought she felt something and after some probing she couldn’t find it.  Then her and my evening nurse came in and both were feeling my arms trying to figure out where to to stick me next.  I told them I can get anesthesia to the room.  They agreed as they didn’t want to guess where they were going to poke me.

8:15: Anesthesia shows up and he introduces himself and said that he worked with my mom and that my mom taught him at Tulane Lakeside.  He starts preparing me and soon after my mom and my wife walk in.  The nurse anesthetist asked my mom if she wanted to try, but she said he could handle it.  He turns on the ultra sound machine and starts searching for my veins.  He finds one and follows it to where it is closer to the skin.  He then numbs up the area, uses a butterfly needle and sticks the needle in.  He doesn’t even get a half a vial and my blood stops flowing.  Ok to plan B, start an IV just to get some blood and then pull it out after collecting the blood.  He finds the vein further up my arm and numbs me up again and starts an IV and gets 2 more vials of blood and then my blood stops flowing.  He says my blood is very thick.  He takes out that IV and moves further up my arm again with the ultra sound machine, finds the vein, numbs up the area and gets the last 2 vials of blood.

9:00 He then pulls out the IV and tapes me up.  He is off to the OR for a case he has to do.  We are waiting on the picline nurse to get the picline started.

10:00: The picline nurse arrives.

10:15: The picline nurse is done setting up her equipment, tapes my arm down to a table with me laying in the bed.  She searches with her ultra sound machine and finds an artery, she searches again and finds a vein.  She numbs up the area and then makes her entry.  She says that the blood vessel walls are thick, and she had to push extra hard just to get through the wall.  She then asks me how tall I am and estimates how much line she needs.  She then starts feeding the picline into my underarm.  This takes about 15-20 minutes.  She finishes up, pulls out the guide line, gets the bleeding to stop, and then puts the patch over the the area.  She leaves and tells me that XRay will come into my room and see if we got it in the right spot.

10:30: XRay comes in, tells me to lean forward in the bed, and he puts the XRay plate behind my back.  He then has me lean back and positions the plate and the XRay machine.  He snaps the XRay, grabs the plate, and goes back down to process it.

11:00 The picline nurse comes back in, there is a problem with the picline.  It is in the SVC but it is point up, when it should be pointing down.  She attempts to flush the line with me sitting up in hoping the flush and gravity will make the picline tip flip down.  She flushes it hard and then XRay comes back up for another image.

11:15: XRay comes back in the room, puts the plate behind ,me, lines it up, snaps it again, grabs the plate and runs back downstairs.

11:45: The picline nurse comes back in again and tells me that the flush and gravity didn’t work that it it is still in the wrong position.  She talked to the doctor and she will attempt to pull out some of the pic line in hopes that it will fall down when she pulls out the picline.

11:50: She starts to set me up.  She puts my arm on a table, gets her sterile wipes and materials and begins to take off the patch from on top of the pic line entry point.

11:59: Another day gone.  Continue on to tomorrow to see what happens next with the picline.


Next Day:


© Craig