Friday, July 1, George went in to the hospital and had his Hickman catheter, or central line and his peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC line) placed. What are those things? I’m glad you asked. A Hickman catheter, or central line, is a soft, small hollow tube that is placed into a vein in the chest just above the heart. It is used for long-term access to the veins and can be used for chemotherapy, intravenous medications, nutrition and to draw blood for labs. The PICC line is kind of the same thing, but in the arm. It gives the doctor access to the large central veins of the heart. It’s generally used to give medications and liquid nutrition. It also helps avoid the pain of frequent needle sticks and reduced the risk of irritation to the smaller veins of the arm.
The procedure was pretty simple. They used Lidocaine for the PICC line and once that was in place, they used the PICC line to deliver some Fentanyl and Versed to sedate him for the insertion of the Hickman catheter. Using real time ultrasound guidance, they punctured the right internal jugular vein and actually had to make another incision, and then they were all done!
He was gone for about an hour and a half and returned to the room at about 3:00. He wasn’t allowed to eat before the procedure, so he was ravenous! I brought a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a brownie from home because I knew the 3 Graham crackers they were gonna give him weren’t gonna cut it!
Tomorrow, he will be admitted to the hospital to start the actual transplant process. We are anxious to get started, but at the same time, dread it and wish we didn’t have to do it.