Having the PICC Line cleaned


Every week I had to have my PICC line cleaned and redressed by a district nurse, who came out to my house. On the week after each treatment tends to be the most sorest for getting the line cleaned as I am going through the phase of having sore skin on those days due to the side effects of the treatment.  It really is only the sticky dressing that is sore to remove as it pulls on the hairs on your arm but once that is removed you don't feel much. They clean the open wound with the line inserted with an alcoholic solution and then they have to measure the part of the line that is on the outside of the skin that you can see to make sure the line has not moved more than 2 cm closer to the heart. If this happens the line will have to be re positioned in the hospital. Thankfully this did not happen to me. However the nurse also has to check each week that they can get blood out from the vein, to make sure there is no clots etc and that the line is working correctly. One week they could not get blood from my line so I had to go into the hospital and get a solution put into my line that ate away any build up of immune cells that had formed, as your body sees the line as a foreign object that it wants to get rid off. This did not hurt and I just had to wait for half an hour for the solution to work. The line afterwards worked perfectly for the rest of my treatment.  

The week before each treatment blood has to be took from the line by the district nurse so they can be checked by the lab to make sure your body has recovered well enough for another round of chemotherapy. A solution is used to flush the line once the blood has been taken to keep the line clear and clean. This can sometimes cause a funny taste in your mouth when the solution is given, but don't worry it is completely normal, it just doesn't taste nice. 

My district nurses were amazing, all the way through and looked after me to the best they could. Nurses really don't get the credit they deserve. I want to say a massive thank you to all the nurses who have looked after me throughout my journey with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.