Not a week goes by without some excitement in my hospital stay. Last week it was the 10 days of feeling completely rubbish, this weekend, it was an infection that developed in my Hickman line--the line used to give me my TPN. Luckily, this was caught reasonably early by one of the nurses that was looking after me Sunday. The other good thing is that I caught a fairly mild staph infection, and didn't have any real symptoms other than a fever on Sunday.
Unfortunately, my TPN feed had to be put on hold whilst I was treated with antibiotics, so I have not had any proper nutrition since the weekend. I was eating a bit at the weekend, but started getting a bit of tummy pain and vomiting which I wasn't sure was from overindulging at the weekend, or from the infection. Regardless, I've taken it easy over the past few days, and only started eating mashed potatoes again this afternoon. From what I understand, the TPN is supposed to resume this evening, so I should be back on track soon.
My consultant stopped by this morning and said they were going to try to move me to another ward within the hospital where the nursing staff are more used to dealing with Hickman and other central venous-access lines. This will hopefully keep me from getting another infection in the future. The problem is that while the nurses on this ward are really nice, and good at what they do, not all are trained on how to deal with this type of IV. Most always where sterile gloves when dealing with the TPN, but when administering IV drugs (mostly anti-sickness and now antibiotics) use regular gloves. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the protocol, otherwise, I would be willing to question things a bit more.
Hopefully in the next week or so I will be transferred to St. George's in Tooting where they can get me prepared for at-home treatment. In a way, I think I should be a bit nervous about eventually dealing with this at home, but my parents and I managed when I had PICC lines (another type of central venous-access IV that is placed in the arm) in the past, so I think I should be able to deal with this once, if ever, I go home. And as long as I learn the proper techniques/protocols for dealing with the Hickman line, I should be able to minimise risk of future infections. At least the Hickman line will be easier for me to deal with on my own than a PICC line would have been because it comes out on my chest, so I have both hands free to deal with it.
On a good note, despite being sick most of last week, I did manage to gain about two kilograms. I think most of it was water weight as I was getting a bit dehydrated from being sick everyday, but I'll take any weight as long as I'm gaining at this point. I'm sure being off the TPN for two days this week will set me back slightly, but I should be able to get back on track soon enough. I'm just happy to be making some progress (my engagement ring even fits on the correct finger again!).