Tuesday, December 10, 2013


We talk a lot about Jack's central line and port and the maintenance that goes along with his fancy hardware.

Central Line: this guy (photo on the left) is connect directly into his jugular vein. The dressing is changed once a week and the area is scrubbed with an antiseptic soap to keep it super clean. The soap stings, and the process is quite unpleasant for Jack. I'm not sure if it stings *that* bad, but I don't question his emotions. 

The white circle thing is a slow release antibiotic, to keep the cut in the skin clean. 

Sarah flushes the two access lines (blue and red) with a solution called Heparin every night. They both wear masks and gloves, and the blue and red caps are sterilized using alcohol wipes before flushing. Heparin stays in the lines and prevents them from closing up. When Jack has labs drawn (twice a week), they are able to just connect the syringe to one of the lines to draw the blood. No more finger pokes! 

Since the dressing can't get wet, Jack can't have any baths, only showers. We put on an aqua guard (a sheet of plastic with sticky tape around edges) or sometimes we use press and seal Saran Wrap (which works better) to keep the dressing dry. 
The central line is fairly new, it was installed when he had his white cells harvested at UNMC. When we're in the hospital, he receives all his fluids, meds and chemo through this line

Obviously, cleanliness is the name of the game here... daily flushes, weekly changes, no getting wet, local antibiotic...

Power Port: (pictured on the right) This was put in right when he was first diagnosed and is also connected to a major blood vessel. It's accessed using a needle, and then a dressing is put on to keep the needle in place. Before we would leave for the clinic/hospital, Sarah would apply some numbing cream to help so it wouldn't hurt when it was accessed. Once connected, he would receive all his meds, fluids and chemo though the port. This access method required less maintenance, as once we would leave the hospital, the needle was taken out and he would be good to go. Jack could take baths and even go swimming if he wanted. 

Since the central line was installed, his port is unused and is only accessed once a month to get flushed to keep it from clogging up. 

In essence, both of these access lines do the same thing. One is just bigger, allowing for faster cell harvest and transplant, while the other one requires significantly less at home maintenance (but accessing it required a poke, which too was quite upsetting for Jack.) 

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