Topic: Ports

I should have read more about ports prior to my wife having one installed.  Somehow we were under the impression that these things were installed as an outpatient, similar to a PICC line.  Not so, general surgery and anesthesia is required. 

The whole thing started during the first meeting with the Ochsner oncologist when she told us that my wife needed to have a port put in, but made no other mention of it nor did she set up an appointment.  A week later when we were meeting with the radiation oncologist, we got a message from the oncologist's medical assistant that my wife had an appointment with an Ochsner general surgeon in two days to install the port in her chest.  She was told that they had to install the port in her chest instead of in her arm since her records said she was still on baby aspirin and anti-clotting medicine, which she was not.  Since my wife had a previous appointment on the scheduled day, she tried to contact the oncologist and her medical assistant to clarify the error and reschedule the appointment with no response.  So, she cancelled the appointment, thinking that she could have it installed by the surgeon who did her resection when we met with him in a couple of days.  In the meantime she saw a friend who had the port installed in her arm, which my wife thought was a better place to put it.

The liver surgeon said the arm was a better place to put it but he didn't want to do it, and told us that his nurse would take care of setting up an appointment.  After a couple of days with no communications from anyone, my wife set up an appointment with the same general surgeon.  During the meeting he said he could only install the port in her chest and that she would have to make an appointment through radiology for a surgeon to install it in her arm.  Since we figured we had delayed long enough already, my wife agreed to have him install it in her chest.  He then told my wife that there were a couple of bad things that could happen during the surgery, including a 1% chance that they could puncture her lung.

Well, you guessed it, he (or a resident) punctured her lung.  What was supposed to be an in and out surgery became an overnight stay in the hospital, with three x-rays.  Six days later my wife had planned to fly from New Orleans to Dallas for grandparents day, but my daughter, who is a retired oncology nurse, mentioned to her that she should check with the surgeon to see if it was OK to fly.  She called the surgeon, got in touch with his nurse who said if was OK, but she had to come in for another x-ray.  Then the surgeon called her back and told her that the medical literature said she should wait two weeks to fly.  We ended up driving to Dallas and she didn't miss grandparents day.

Last Monday my wife received the first of her GemCis treatments through the port and it worked fine.  Blood work, oncologist visit, and Gem, Cis, three anti-nausea, and two liters of water IVs, and a lecture resulted in a ten hour day.  Today, still no bad side effects, so it's looking good.

Bruce Baird

Please be advised that any advice or information in my posts is my personal opinion only and is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  ALWAYS seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.

Re: Ports

Dear Bruce, I am so glad that a bad story turned out good in the end. OMG! I have never heard of such an ordeal to have a port installed! I am so happy all turned out well and that your wife got to attend Grandparents Day. That had to be a much needed lift for one happy Grandma!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: Ports

Bruce...So glad to hear that everything turned out well after all.  Please remind your wife to drink tons of fluid (it flushes the chemo through her system) small meals, high in protein and short walks to keep up her stamina.
Hugs are heading your way,