Surviving In This Very Moment…

My Personal Battle with Prostate Cancer … And Life!

PICC Lines and Emergency Rooms

PICC Lines and Emergency Rooms

PICC Lines and Emergency Rooms

What appeared to be a simple urinary tract infection, likely due to the fact that the prostatectomy left me with a bit of incontinence which continues with varying degrees of severity, turns out to be a highly resistent strain of echoli, one requiring a fourteen day course of iv infusion therapy with the one antibiotic to which I am not allergic. This meant that I spent the bulk of yesterday morning having a PICC line inserted in my left arm. When the PICC was inserted and the first round of antibiotic was administered, a blood draw was done right before the line was bandaged. I thought I was done but that would be too much to expect at this point. I was home for about an hour when I got an urgent call from the infectious disease doc overseeing the treatment of the echoli infection. “Hurry,” she said, “go to the ER immediately. Your potassium levels are alarmingly high and your kidney function numbers are way out of whack.”

And so it was that I wound up in the Emergency Room where I was treated with a drug to help reduce the potassium in my system and was administered fluids to drive my kidney function back to normal levels before I was discharged from the hospital just in time to see the Blackhawks lose for only the second time to their closest rival, the Anaheim Ducks.

I had the second dose of the antibiotic this morning. When I arrived at the office for my appointment the receptionist told me that my doc wanted to see me earlier than Friday when I was already scheduled to see her. By next Monday she will have the results of the ultrasound of my kidneys and bladder and we’ll see what the next step will be. Of course, the ER doc handed me a sheet describing End Stage Kidney Failure but told me it was just a precaution and that the problem I was suffering was likely due to the echoli infection I was already being treated for. ESRF looks a lot like the effects of the particular antibiotic I am being infused with and it should clear up as the treatment kills off the bacteria in my system.

Still, as a cancer survivor, it is a bit disconcerting to learn that I might be sicker than I ever imagined. I mean, seriously, beating one disease only to have a second potentially life threatening illness take its place is simply not what I had in mind. Of course, looking on the good side, if I do require kidney dialysis, at least I have a central line already installed in my arm, making the whole process easier to deal with.

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3 thoughts on “PICC Lines and Emergency Rooms

  1. So sorry to hear about these issues you are now facing. I admire you calmness with it all. I had to be on IV antibiotics just like you, but for 3 months for MRSA in my skull after my brain tumor surgery. I lost it when I found out I had an infection. I was NOT as calm as you. Well, I know you do not believe as I do, but I will pray for you to have a speedy recovery. Roger, God is in the midst of trouble. He hangs around me and I am in trouble all the time..haha Hope that puts a smile on your face. : )

  2. Alesia, perhaps my calm exterior hides an otherwise frustrated interior. My Grandfather always used to say in his broken English, “Doctors don’t know nuttin'” and considering he buried three docs that each gave him less than a year to live I don’t think he was all wrong. The fact is that the out of whack numbers could be caused by any number of potential things, only the worst of which is Total Kidney Failure which, given my medical history, is highly improbable. But, as a statistician I know that if something is possible, no matter how improbable, it will happen in a highly predictable number of cases. It could be that my number just came up. On the other hand, I have to laugh at the infectious disease doc who is panics at the sight of abnormal numbers without fully analyzing the underlying cause. The good news here is that the ultrasound I had this morning proved 100% negative with the exception of a known non-obstructive kidney stone (one of the possible causes for the out of whack numbers). So I remain optimistic.

    One thing I learned long ago is that evidence trumps fear. There is no need to panic if one doesn’t have all the evidence and it is foolhardy to act on insufficient evidence. That is how I remain so calm.

    One more thing, while I am an atheist, this does not preclude the fact that if presented with enough evidence I wouldn’t change my mind. That is the difference between a true believer, a zealot, and me. The zealot has his mind made up, the atheist simply argues that given the state of the evidence belief is unwarranted. If the credible evidence were produced I would be ready to change my mind. That being said, a true atheist is tolerant of all belief systems, even those he finds disagreement with. Why else would I spend time studying with a Rabbi if not to better understand that which I reject. I think that prayer is a great comfort for those who take comfort in it (sorry for the circular thinking here but there is no other choice). Where you find God in the midst of trouble, I find laws of probability that help me predict the future. In the end, I know that life itself is a terminal disease and that sooner or later I will succumb to the end stages of that disease and die. Acceptance of that fact for me is quite calming. I hope this all makes sense. It does to me but I don’t know about others.

  3. Pingback: Saying Goodbye to my PICC Line and More | Surviving In This Very Moment...

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