There are some little things that I took for granted before Patrick. One of them is baths.
With a Broviac line, there is a 2 x 3 sterile dressing on Patrick’s chest that must be kept dry in order to keep it clean. Until Patrick started to have PICC lines I just plain didn’t put him in water. When he needed a bath, I’d give him a sponge bath. When Patrick got his PICC it was easy to keep his dressing dry because I could wrap his arm in waterproof things and make him hold it out of the water. But now that he has his Broviac line, giving baths is taking some more heroic measures.
There are two products that make this possible. One is a medical invention called “Aquaguard”. It’s a piece of plastic with waterproof but easy to remove adhesive around the edges. You cover the dressing with this and it keeps it dry. The second I buy at the grocery store: Glad Press & Seal wrap. This wrap can go around the connections in Patrick’s line and also can be stuck over his dressing directly to his chest. It crinkles a bit when he moves, but it keeps him dry.
Waterproofing Patrick’s chest sometimes is a bit of a battle. He’s not a fan of having crinkly plastic stuck to him and often takes it off right after I put it on. But once he’s in the water, it’s well worth the work. He loves to splash and play.
I’m not brave enough yet to use the big bathtub for Patrick’s baths. It seems like a rather big thing to keep sterile and keeping the tubes above the waterline is hard enough in a baby bath. Besides, Patrick loves the baby bathtub I put him in. He uses his feet to push back and make waves that splash over the sides of the tub. (Therefore, I put the baby bath inside the big bathtub to contain the mess).
The only part of the bath Patrick isn’t a fan of is washing his hair. This isn’t any kid’s favorite part, but for Patrick it’s especially tricky. He has a lot of hair so it MUST be washed, but I have to do it while keeping water off of his chest. Even with the waterproofing, too much water can still soak through to the dressing. So we have to take extra time and do this with as little water as possible.
As the picture below demonstrates, sometimes a bath is needed when I just can’t pull off all of the logistics.
Patrick gets diaper rash very quickly because his stool is so acidic. The other night, he was crying miserably because his bottom hurt so badly! It hurt too much for me to clean it with wipes, and leaving it uncleaned was only going to burn more. So, I grabbed the nearest hospital bucket I could find, put two inches of water in it, and set Patrick inside.
I consider this one of my most ingenious feats of mothering yet. It got the right part of Patrick bathed and happy while keeping his line well away from the water.. And he thought it was hilarious to get to sit in the little bucket on the changing table.
Sometimes raising a child with short gut syndrome requires some real creativity.