Now Cut That Out

Last Friday Art was scheduled for one of his weekly clinic sessions and have his dialysis catheter (called a “central line”) removed. This catheter had been in place for nearly 5 months and the skin had adhered to the apparatus fairly tightly. Art had been told by a kidney recipient that this might be a tough procedure…however the staff at the clinic said it was straight-forward with little pain.

We arrived a little before 7:00am at the lab for the blood draw. The nurses there draw blood all day long so they know what they are doing. However she had a very tough time connecting with the vein so there was a lot of pain and discomfort. We waited a couple of hours, then met with the doctors to go over the blood results. Overall they were very pleased with the results but indicated his hemoglobin was still a little low so they ordered a shot. We went to the transplant outpatient area and the nurse prepared the shot. This kind of shot is very painful so the nurse told Art to take a deep breath and blow out like he was trying to put out a candle 20 feet away when the shot starts.

So the first 2 procedures were not the easiest. Maybe the catheter removal will be simple.

We waited another hour at the surgical area. The doctor, along with a resident in training indicated they usually don’t need to give any pain killer since this is a simple procedure. That sounded good until the doctor saw the type of catheter Art had and said “maybe we will use a touch of pain killer”. The catheter was one with a collar that had been used for dialysis – not just the plasmapheresis treatments. This type of catheter is intended for long term use.

He numbed up the area and started instructing the resident how to get it out. She tried for a while but finally he decided to take over. Every so often Art would squeal if he felt a lot of pain and the doctor shot more lidocaine into the area. He kept apologizing for taking so long and for all the cutting he had to do. Finally, after about 20 minutes, he had it out.  He super-glued the incision, gave one final apology and left.

Art said he couldn’t feel anything in the 1 inch incision, but his chest felt like the doctor had at least one knee on it during the entire time. Later in the day after the pain medicine wore off, the area was certainly quite painful.

So even though the procedure was rough it was great to get those tubes out of his body. Just one more step on the road to recovery.

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