I had my port consultation with the surgeon today. He seemed very knowledgeable and made me feel at ease when he told me he had placed ports in other patients with Autonomic Dysfunction and Gastroparesis.
While I am not looking forward to having even a “simple” outpatient surgery, I am ready to get this over with ASAP. I’m scheduled for next Tuesday morning. The scheduler asked when I’d like my surgery, and I told her as soon as she could work me in. I have dreaded this next step in the “Chronic Illness Drama.”
I’ve spoken to numerous nurses. I’ve talked to a LOT of patients online who have ports. They’ve all ensured me that I’m making the right decision. “Your life will be much easier with a port.” “No more blown out veins.” “Just one stick from now on!”
It DOES sound good! I cringe when I think of something foreign inside my body again. I absolutely HATED that heart monitor I had inside of me all those years ago. It bugged me the entire 18 months. Granted, it was larger and shaped like a cigarette lighter. The port is smaller. Hopefully, the port experience will be NOTHING like the inserted heart monitor because this time, the foreign body is here to stay.
I don’t exactly have any options though. I’m 42, and my last “good” vein has developed scar tissue. I have a prescription for weekly IV saline fluids that my body needs. I landed in the ER twice back in June, and it took the nurses 45 minutes to start an IV. Multiple doctors have told me, “Get a port.”
It is time to get a port.
I don’t want to do it, but I’m going to even though I’m nervous about the small chance of infection.
Before I brought up this small risk with the surgeon today, he beat me to it. He said he’s seen patients who have Autonomic Dysfunction AND Gastroparesis contract infections from their ports because they want to keep needles IN their ports. He warned me that I could NOT do this at all. Then he graphically explained what happened when ports become infected. I thanked him for the information.
I told him I would follow his directions to the letter because my body does NOT fight infections like it should. Bronchitis literally knocks me down for a month. The flu almost kills me. I don’t need to have an infected port! It’s one of the reasons I’ve put this surgery off. Infections scare me. I’m not ashamed to admit it.
The surgeon had an example of the actual port he plans to insert in my body, so I was able to look at it. Unfortunately, he’s not going to go through the same scar I have on my chest from the heart monitor because it’s on the left side. He said it’s better for ports to be on the right side. So I’ll have another scar. Oh well. It’s not like I go around flashing my chest all the time. I do wear a bathing suit a few times a year swimming though, and I’m sometimes still self conscious about that old scar.
He said the port will be raised and noticeable too. I’m nervous about that as well. I’ve only recently lost my self consciousness about using my power wheelchair and mobility aids. I may be disabled, but I’m still a woman. I worry about my husband finding me attractive. Of course, he assures me this port will be a non-issue. I worry about the port showing through clothes. I worry about my large chest and my bras being uncomfortable with it because that WAS an issue with the evil heart monitor. I’m just worrying. You see a theme? It will probably take some time for me to adjust to having the port.
I am going to try to focus on the positives: I can begin IV therapy again, no more blown out veins, no more bruised arms from blown out veins, one needle stick for blood draws, one needle stick for IVs.
I will try to take photos on surgery day and during recovery to share.