Another holiday, another trip to the Emergency Room!
So you don’t panic: everything is fine, and Will is OK.
Last night, after we came home from Troy, we had changed into our delightful red Christmas pajamas, and were getting Willpower ready for bed. He needed his medications at 11 PM, but as we started to flush his PICC line with saline, the solution started spraying everywhere, and his blood started moving back up and out of the line. He had sprung a leak! The PICC line had cracked open, just before the endcap/port.
We panicked, of course, and called the Home Health Care emergency number. Our favorite nurse, Heather, called us back immediately (even on Christmas Eve) and tried to walk us through how to change out everything on the line from the point at which it entered his body upward, using the spare parts we’d been accumulating from all our in-home nursing visits.
After pulling back all the Tagederm and tape and exposing all the tubing and ports, the final parts wouldn’t separate, and we didn’t have the right replacement parts anyway. Heather recommended we head to the E.R. to have them look at it.
At the Hospital, the Emergency Room doctors scared the crap out of us by talking about giving Will an entirely new PICC line at a different site, which would mean another round of sedation. These doctors inspired no confidence whatsoever, and so Pam and I were ready to head down to St. Louis to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital to hopefully find someone who had dealt with infant PICC lines and sedation. Instead, this less-than-reassuring doctor called down the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and she reassured us that PICC lines on babies were a normal part of her routine. After talking with her about the situation, Pam and I both calmed down, and the nurse decided to try to replace the exterior portion of the line rather than install an entirely new one.
Fifteen minutes later, we were done. The nurse was magnificent, Pam was her helper, Willpower was a trooper (again!), and the installation of the new exterior parts went smoothly enough that we could give him a dose of antibiotics (his 11 PM dose at about 1:30 AM). Everything was working properly, so we went home and collapsed.
We slept in a bit this morning, rising at about 8 AM and letting Will sleep until 10 AM. After a nice breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, Pam and Will are back sleeping on the couch as I write this. We still haven’t showered or opened any presents, but we’re both pretty happy even without the gifts, knowing that things could have been much worse last night.
We’re going to spend the rest of the day at home, relaxing and just enjoying each other. Pam works tomorrow, but I’m working at home all week. Grandma Lois may come up for an overnight visit later this week, and hopefully, next week, Will’s antibiotics regimen will be over, his PICC line removed, and life can return to normal.
Merry Christmas! Let’s hope that we can get past New Year’s without any more trips to the Hospital…