Patrick just got a new PICC line.
PICC stands for Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter. It’s “peripheral” because it is put in through his arm (or sometimes leg) but “central” because the line then runs up through that vein into his aorta (a.k.a. into his heart).
Central lines are very important. Because they run into the bloodstream closer to his heart, they are able to put things like TPN or medications into it that would damage a smaller vein because they are too thick. Also, because they are in a main vein, they can draw blood from it to run tests rather than having to poke him every time he needs bloodwork. (Which for Patrick is sometimes done several times a week.)
Because Patrick needs TPN to survive, he needs to have a central line. Sometimes he has a PICC line in his arms. Other times he has a “Broviac” or “Cook” line in his chest.
Lines can be lost to infection, to damage, to clotting, or to accidents that dislodge them. But every line lost is dangerous for Patrick. One of the biggest factors if his survival is continuing to have veins to put lines into and so it’s not uncommon to find us discussing what semi-heroic measures to use to make a line last just a little bit longer.
This line placement went remarkably smoothly. The procedure took less than half an hour, following by a half hour nap. Now he’s awake and happily playing in his bed. Still a bit shaky from the anesthesia, but trying his best to sit up. He must be feeling ok.