POST #1 – Outpatientness

Well, today everyone but me went back to work after Labor Day, and I became an outpatient at Lehigh Valley Health Network, the place where I work. We drove to our Muhlenberg campus in Bethlehem and experienced it as an outpatient today at 7:30am as I registered to have a “central line” (catheter) placed  into my jugular vein under twilite sedation. I get weak knees even typing “jugular vein“. 

Home & resting, examining my reflection in the mirror to look at my new appendage that has two 3 inch clear tubes pointing downward and are like hollow antenna that emerge from my own skin, doesn’t exactly make me want to smile. And of course I can plainly see and feel the long thin rise under my skin..which is the 3 or 4″ lead tube.. like someone put a pencil in there. Just plain gross.

Hmm…I wonder if I could download music to it?

The lovely image below is said catheter. Let’s orient you: At the top of the photo is the base of my neck, and visible at top-left is the slope of my right shoulder.  The horizontal rise in my skin near the top is my collar bone..and of course I don’t have to tell you what the more pronounced other vertically slanted rise is… (sigh), and the rest of the parts dangle below.  I Googled around to find an image of an apherisis catheter..but didn’t locate one exactly like mine.  Though I did find a single image of a similar one, positioned in the hairy chest of a male. However, I thought it was best not to shock my blog readers to think that “something else was happening ot Jody” aside from multiple myeloma. So, …figured I’d take a mirror pic of my own with my cell camera. 

Those cell phone cameras do come in handy now, don’t they? I recall my 5th grade (1968) report assignment was “Life in the Year 2000”,  a zillion years from 1968.  I wrote that I’d live in a bubble house made of glass, setting atop a 50 foot pedestal type base (probably a Jetsons influence). My report didn’t include anything whatsoever about telephones,  nothing about that we’d be carrying them around like a wallet, and that they’d fit in your palm, have no wires, they’d also function as cameras, and that we’d be able to take a photo without film and send it through thin air in 20 seconds to someone else’s phone across the world. It sounds ridiculous even typing it today, since this is second nature to us all. No, it was all about a bubble house.
OK, I won’t go further down this road.  I’ll sound way too much like the email we get with slide show attachments about “remembering the good old days”, forwarded from parents or older friends…and we get that queasy feeling because we remember it.  ALL of it.  I’m sticking to my blog purpose, here and now.  
Anyway, I can deal with the catheter–in the grand scheme of things, it’s minor. What’s annoying is it’s a 24/7 in-my-face reminder of the fact that I have multiple myeloma.   I know that it’s a “must have” for me and is part of the package.  However, not exactly like a “must have” pair of shoes I spot at Lord & Taylor though. 
So if you see fireworks over my home later this fall, it’ll be when I’m free of this thing.

The first night of sleeping is not fun..nor is just moving. I should not disturb it much as it is a primary location where infection could develop. It will eventually begin to settle..but it’s not settling yet. I believe it needs to remain in me through mid to late October. I cannot WAIT until this is removed.  However, others with cancer endure this and much more in the gizmo-insertion treatment phase and I keep that in mind. This catheter is,  in part, a gizmo to help me.  It is my friend.