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How invasive is getting a "Pic line" in?

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 845
Joined: Aug 2012

Well he's getting a pic line put in tomorrow. Wondering what to expect. I know what it does, but he's a litte anxious about it. Especially with previous heart issues and that's where they lead to the line to

The reason he never had a port was because he only gets chemo once a week, but now that they are doing more IV fluids, they feel the need to get this in. He's got a lot of bruising from where they've been trying to go in.

Thanks again for your help!

Billie67's picture
Billie67
Posts: 834
Joined: Jul 2012

Well I did not have a PICC but my little boy had one for over a year.his was for nourishment and continuous blood draws. I was in the room when his was placed. Because he was so young (7) they sedated him but for age alone. The RN placed it and the only reason the dr was in the room was because of the sedation and of course the anesthesiologist too. Anyway, they try to put it on the inside of your upper arm. They will give you some lidocaine to numb you topically. Once they find the vein they will guide the tubing thru your arm and all the way to the vena cava (vein behind the heart). There are little measurements on the tubing and they will take notes on how much tubing remains outside of your arm. That will become a guide for dressing changes so they can make sure the tubing hasn't pulled out of place. This is all done guided by ultrasound. then it will be secured with some tegaderm dressing (the clear bandage that they use with IV) and possible some tape. Then it will most likely be covered with a wrap or cloth dressing. We used the tube from tube or crew socks. I just bought a bag of socks and cut all the tubes off. My son preferred this to cloth dressing, its soft and flexible. Our PICC nurse recommended it and it worked great. After the placement is complete it is ready to be used for whatever they intend it to be used for. You must keep it dry at all times. For bathing we found a company called "dry-pro" they sell an amazing PICC protector that keeps it 100% dry for showering and even swimming! My son swam all day long on vacation with his dry-pro! Also not sure where you live but CVS sells something called a shower sleeve. It works ok in a pinch but is not 100% leak proof so a very quick shower is a must with that. We also used Glad Cling Wrap and that kept it dry too for a quick shower. That can be found at most grocery stores and target in the isle with foil and such. Once we got our dry-pro tho we never used anything else. For us, a nurse came to our home once a week and changed his dressing and did his blood draws. That lasted for a few months and then my insurance said, "no more nurse visits". They wanted me to take my sick little boy to a clinic to have his dressing chained weekly where a bunch of sick people were. No thank you! I had the nurse teach me how to change the dressing
and do the blood draws. I then did it myself for the rest of the time and just dropped off the blood at the lab myself. I tell you this because should you
find yourself in this position, the dressing change is easy once you learn how. Most important is to be very sterile during the procedure of dressing
change. You can be trained how to do it, no problem.

If you have anymore questions just let me know. Good luck,it will be fine.
Billie

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 845
Joined: Aug 2012

Billie,

Thank you so much for the detail you provided. I have to say how incredibly brave your son must have been throughout that whole ordeal. Sounds like you did an amazing job!

I have taken down the notes you provided so I can share it with him. He's had previous triple by pass and heart attack so the whole "messing" near his heart has us a bit anxious.

This will be done tomorrow. Hoping this will give him some relief of all the jabbing now being done.

Thanks again..I hope all is well with you too.

blackswampboy's picture
blackswampboy
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

your son is one tough little guy, and your story is inspiration for all of us.
say hi to him for us, he's a champ!

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3634
Joined: Mar 2012

I had a port, so couldn't have helped. My mom had a PICC line, and she never said anything about it, so I assumed it was not a big deal putting it in. Civilmatt had one all thru treatment, so he'll be up on how to care for it etc. I think you have to wrap it in saran wrap to shower and stuff.

He'll probably be glad he has it once they start chemo...they just have to hook up to it, instead of poking around trying to find a vein every week. It saves time, and the tiresomeness of all that poking...veins get less cooperative as chemo goes on, I think...even for the blood draws.

p

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 845
Joined: Aug 2012

He's in week 4 and has been doing the chemo without port or pic (since he was only getting chemo once a week), but now that they are poking and proding more due to the extra days of IV fluids, and adding to that the weekly blood draws, his arms became pretty black and blue and hard to do anymore.

This should certainly solve the problem. I did find a good site on line to give me detail. I'm concerned that they lead it to a large vein (to the heart), as he's had previous heart issues. (heart attack & triple bypass). I'm praying we get through this part with no complications. He has the procedure done tomorrow.

katenorwood
Posts: 1812
Joined: May 2012

Hey there !
My Mom also had a pic in for several months and did well with it ! She had major heart issues while this was going on, but NOT from the pic. It is a blessing that this can be done for him. One issue Mom did have was infection at the site. But resolved quickly. Will be thinking of you both, and keep us updated ! Katie

Billie....excellant post for great answers needed !

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 845
Joined: Aug 2012

Thank you for sharing this. We had put the heart issues behind us as the drugs he's been on and the surgery has been very good. Hate to see the issue come up because of where they run the line...to the heart's vein.

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 2866
Joined: May 2012

Hi cureitall66,

Billie nailed it. It sounded like she described my PICC line. Of course I have a picture of it on my expressions page. It did make blood draws and chemo infusion easier and I had it removed 1 week after my last chemo treatment. Showers are a pain, but depending on the sleeve cover it is manageable. Good luck.

Best,

Matt

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 845
Joined: Aug 2012

Matt,

I'm really worried about his heart for this procedure. He's had a previous heart attack and triple bypass. My understanding is that the tube is led to the heart (back or top) as that is the largest vein. I would hope to God they realize this is a touchy matter.

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3634
Joined: Mar 2012

are aware of his heart condition, and will not do anything to harm him. The medical profession is acutely aware of heart stuff...if a PICC was inadvisable for someone who has had bypass surgery, they would not be giving him one...they'd let him continue using his arms (and hands, and feet and legs) for his chemo treatments...honest. The PICC doesn't go into the heart, it just uses the vein that leaves the heart...they wouldn't take a risk like that...

p

hwt's picture
hwt
Posts: 1848
Joined: Jun 2012

My 87 year old Mom recently had one with no issues. I had one also when I was hospitalized last January. After 4 days induced coma and 8 days in ICU with no windows they put in a PICC line and moved me to a room. I got what they call ICU physcosis and took it upon myself to rip it out. Still have a scar as a reminder. That little incident lead to having a "sitter/watcher" stare at me for 2 days and then I graduated to an alarm pad on my bed. It wasn't that it hurt, when my company left, I thought I was ready to go home too and couldn't leave with the PICC hooked up. Drugs and being in a room with no windows for 8 days do crazy things.........

Billie67's picture
Billie67
Posts: 834
Joined: Jul 2012

Please erase the fear of this causing problems to the heart. The PICC does not go into the heart at all. It goes to the Vena Cava and stops. It is guided using ultrasound and a very standard procedure as far as this goes. I know without a single doubt that he'll be fine.
Your only concern will be keeping the site clean and dry. Please look into tbe dry pro, you won't be sorry. After my last post I pulled out the contact info for the company so here it is: www.DryCorp.com and 1-888-337-9776
If you go online you will see directions on how to order the correct size. This company is very helpful. I mentioned in my earlier post that my son swam with his on vacation. What I didnt tell you is that by accident the maid at our hotel threw it away by mistake. My son was crushed that he wouldn't be able to swim the next day. I called tbe company and they fedexed one to me at the hotel and I got it tbe next day. They didn't even charge me for extra shipping.
Good luck and thanks for saying my son was brave. He was so brave and amazed me. Poor guy has had multiple stomach surgeries and that PICC for a year....what a trooper!
Let me know if you have any other questions. Please keep us posted.
Billie

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 845
Joined: Aug 2012

Billie,

Thank you for sharing the contact info with me! I'm going to check into that.

I am so grateful for everyone on this forum and their help. What a rollercoaster it feels like right now. Thank God we are almost half way through treatment...that's hard enough on him without these extra procedures. But, I know it has to be done to finish them.

Thanks again for your help. I'll be sure to post tomorrow after he is done :)

C

ToBeGolden's picture
ToBeGolden
Posts: 697
Joined: Aug 2010

I haven't need a PICC, but there is at least a 50/50 chance there will be one in my future. Even if a PICC were unlikely, your posts provide some great general knowledge. Hope the information gets reposted from time to time. Rick.

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 2866
Joined: May 2012

Hi cureitall66,

They gave me the option of “home install” or “hospital install” and I opted for the “hospital install” (just kidding).

It is very professional and extremely sterile. While it was done in one of the recovery rooms of the out patient (day surgery) wings, they wiped down the entire room and laid sterile cloths over everything until it looked like an operating room. The procedure is just like Billie described, the person is monitoring the location of the end of the PICC line until they reach the desired spot (mine was above the heart). It went up my right arm and across my chest. Another thing I noticed was the number of sterile gloves she h ad on at a time (3 - 4 pairs). Anyway, I came away from it all infection free and one more item to deal with.

An interesting aspect of PICC removal was this: The nurse looked in the file and saw I had 48.5 cm installed and after she removed it she checked and had 48.5 cm came out. Whew, nothing left behind.

He might as well enjoy all of the attention he will be getting and try not worry about PICCS, PORTS and PEGS, worrying is a stressor he doesn’t need. This was one of the last procedures I went through without Lorazapam. After I found out that I wasn’t as tough and “scare free” as I thought I was, I always take 1 to 1.5 Lorazapam before scans now days.

Best,

Matt

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 845
Joined: Aug 2012

You always make me giggle when I'm reading your posts...I so need that!

I'm confident that all will be sterile and all will be fine. Like I told you, he won't read anything. He just wants the info fed to him. So here I am being the one in panic begging for help and researching the net to try and get acurate information and ease his mind.

Btw...He may not be the only one requesting some of that Lorazapam...I may need it too! oh...and he did better than I imagined through the scan and the rads right now...no anxiety. But the rest of this is driving him nuts!...But we know the alternative, so trying to accept and move along the best we can.

C-

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 2866
Joined: May 2012

Cureitall66,

As I told you, I was a listener from January thru May. I did not officially introduce myself to the H&N gang until June. So, I probably missed out on some of the juicer tidbits that my screener (wife) thought detrimental to my well being. So be it, that was then this is now. You go ahead and screen away. Hopefully, you will glean some items of value from us.

Best,

Matt

you may want to hold off on drugs for you or you will both be knocked out

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2194
Joined: Nov 2009

Glad I did, even though it was a bother at times. I would definately go with the DryPro (can't recall the exact name). I was clueless when I had my PICC - I bought a cast "sleeve", but my nurse nixed that notion (it was held up by elastic, so anything that might restrict circulation was out). I went the cling wrap route. Dressing was irritating for a while (only when I had my pump on, and had to navigate dressing with the chemo line).

Mine was installed in radiology - no pain, no fuss, no muss. A home health nurse came to me to inspect my PICC site, flush it, and change dressings (not gauze or anything, but a clear plastic stick-on window to keep moisture and dirt out, while keeping the line insertion area visible. They could have easily done all the maintenance at my chemo lounge on chemo days, but my insurance company wouldn't allow that (instead, they opted for the home health nurse - go figure - that had to be much more expensive).

Dunno how he'll do, but I must say that even though I think the PICC was a good thing, part of me resented it, because it was the first visible "proof" that something was wrong with me, so it made me kind of sad from time to time.

I will say, though, that for my chemo, some nurses preferred ports to PICC lines, because they said the port was faster. Me, I liked the idea of not getting stuck (except a couple of times when my choices were get stuck now for blood draw, or have to wait for a person certified or authorized to access the PICC line).

It's a little creepy going in, but not bad.

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 845
Joined: Aug 2012

He got it placed today. All went well.

Now we just have to make sure it's handled with care. Home health nurse will come this weekend to flush it and explain the cleaning/care needed.

As soon as I can find out the specs of it, I will order one of the waterproof covers that Billie suggests.

C-

luvofmylif
Posts: 344
Joined: Sep 2012

Hope he is doing better. We are not too far behind you in treatment phase and get second of 3 Cisplatin infusions tomorrow. Last few days rough...anxious about the next few. Hate all this. Hope you guys are taking it one day at a time and hopefully the days will add up to done real soon. Lets wipe this cancer out of our lives.

IAmStrong's picture
IAmStrong
Posts: 44
Joined: Feb 2012

So Glad I got one, only wish it had come along earlier in my treatment. I asked for one, they said no. I was getting IV fluids daily at home at this point. Then hospitalized with complications. During this time I got my PICC. One time they came at me, and I told them NO MORE!

FYI, to the person getting round 2 of cisplatin. I read that those who get cisplatin every other week have a higher incidence of permanent hearing loss and damage, as I have...vs those who have cisplating weekly. Wish I could redo that one.

Best Wishes and Improved Health to Everyone! We got this!!! Hang Tight!!!

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