put things in, take things out

Back amongst my friends in the Critical Care Unit (CCU) after my temperature hit 40 and I nearly chomped my own tongue off, the nurses took yet more of my blood, the microbiologists analyzed it and the doctors prescribed more industrial strength antibiotics to combat the infection.

As for the root cause, well, the clever doctors were looking suspiciously at any foreign or external bodies that had recently been introduced to my body as a potential source of infection. Obviously, I still had several drains attached, a neckline as well as the portacath (inserted months ago to deliver chemotherapy). I wagered a fiver on the neckline as it was red and itchy at the entry point but the doctors seemed to favour removing the wireless access point. This seemed strange as this portacath had been in place for months with no issues whatsoever and had been accessed during the surgery (to deliver the anesthetic) but still. After lengthy discussions with various interested parties, we compromised and decided to remove both.

An anesthetist came to visit and reassured me that this was a minor procedure and could be done under a local, sedation or a general anesthetic. I just said ‘Please just put me under and wake me up when it’s over’ and he agreed.

After it was over and they woke me up, I laid back and tried to go to sleep. I was interrupted by a doctor wheeling a trolley. ‘Hello – I’m here to put a neckline in’. Yes, hours after removing the neckline which may have caused an infection, they were going to insert another neckline and hope it didn’t cause an infection. Worse, she was going to insert this tube using sharp implements and a local. I averted my gaze while she quickly performed the procedure.

Weeks later, I learned that the root cause was actually a urinary tract infection (internal) so the removal and insertion of the necklines and portacath had all been irrelevant.