Mid Line vs. PICC

I keep hearing all these different medical terms, and honestly I just sort of let my mind wander when reading that info. Not because I’m scared of it, I’m just not a medically inclined person, I do the same thing with numbers and directions.  It needs to be in a story for me to engage and listen. 

One of my old college friends is a nurse and she is my standard go to person when I need medical questions answered.  When I was in the hospital to get surgery for the kidney issues, even with my family around, her text was the ones that comforted me. I was terrified, because I had never been under anesthesia.  I freaked the hospital staff out, when I was asking them to witness my living will, which I wrote in the room. (That’s the lawyer in me). 

Last pregnancy I wasn’t offered a picc line.  I didn’t even know the term.  The doctors who saw me in the hospital kept saying, you can get home care, but its very risky and there can be heart problems and infection and you will probably be better soon.  I don’t even know what heart problems they were talking about, as my research hasn’t showed that. And the weeks wore on and on and I wasn’t getting better.  They kept saying, soon you will be better so let’s wait. And we basically just waited until I was better and the baby was BORN! But I keep wondering if perhaps I didn’t need to be so miserable and I didn’t need to go to the hospital every other day.  If I had to be sick, I could have at least made life a little easier and worried less that my child wasn’t getting any nutrients, etc. 

So anyway, this is by no means comprehensive research. But I like the easy comprehension of the answer and it gave me a good starting ground to begin my research and I figured I would share my email exchange with my nurse friend below:

On Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 3:19 PM, Juliana wrote:
what is the difference between a mid line and a picc line?
I am possibly preparing for another pregnancy

RESPONSE: My vote would be a PICC line if you have the option.  I work with PICC lines all the time and they are much more common than midlines.  However, they are essentially the same thing.  The difference is that the line of the PICC catheter ends centrally near your heart.  With the midline, the catheter is shorter and ends in your arm.  I don’t think it’d make much difference with which one you get, because you’d most likely only be needing IV fluids and nausea medications.  On my floor, it’s a little different because certain medications we give can only be given centrally which is why we prefer PICCs.  But like I said, either one would be fine.  The care of them is pretty simple so don’t freak out about it.  We sent people home with them all the time. Keep me updated on what you decide and your plans!! 

On Sat, Feb 26, 2011 at 9:13 AM, <Juliana> wrote:

I am actually doing a lot of this research on my own. I’m not sure about anything yet really. We have talked a lot about adoption, because why put my body through all that again and I would have to quit my job etc. I want to be prepared for a surprise too though, so that I will never be in the same position as last pregnancy. I spoke with one ob but I don’t think she’s the one who can help, so I’m still on that quest. I think with sawyer I would have benefited from tpn, which I think can only go through the picc?RESPONSE: I getcha.  Yeah, I think it’s good to look into just so you don’t what to expect and what you can do.  You’re right about the TPN though.  That has a lot of nutrients and electrolytes in it, so that needs to be given centrally….so you would indeed need a PICC.  TPN is pretty hardcore though so I’m not sure what state you’d have to be in for them to give it to you.  Although, I do know of a girl who had some kind of chronic bowel issue while she was pregnant and she kept losing weight.  She was on TPN for a portion of her pregnancy.  I guess it would depend on how severe your symptoms are and how all of your blood work looked.  It is possible to do TPN for only portions of the day so you wouldn’t necessarily be hooked up all the time. 

So there you have our emails. It was helpful to me. Maybe it will be helpful to someone else. It’s a good base to start I think.  I love how she says TPN is hardcore. I mostly love it because I imagine her saying it with her Boston accent, and it makes me smile. I’ll have to figure out what that means exactly. I think HG is pretty hardcore too and it seems a lot of the women on the helpher.org boards are benefitting from the TPN. I think some say it makes them feel sicker too though. I don’t know. I would of course like to avoid all of that if I can anyway.

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3 Responses to Mid Line vs. PICC

  1. Ashli says:

    I had 4 PICCs in my last pregnancy. Yes, there were complications and one potentially life-threatening infection, but hey, it helped get me through that HARD CORE HG hell, and I’d get another one without hesitation. Would not bat an eye. If I’d been made aware of PICCs and if I had been offered one in the first pregnancy perhaps things could have been different. And yes, I do believe at least some doctors allow a woman to reach a point of road jerky to “prove” she has HG, because there ARE so many women with normal morning sickness who call every five minutes convinced that they are dying. But I really don’t docs have much of an excuse when a woman has a HISTORY of HG and they let her get to that point. I’m aware that once an HG preg, not necessarily always an HG preg. But man! Be on the lookout, and head major suffering off at the pass, I say!

  2. Ashli says:

    Don’t THINK docs have much of an excuse, rather.
    (My typing finger broke.)

  3. krsghsdfgh says:

    4 PICCs with complications and life-threatening infections? From the PICC?

    They must be doing something wrong when inserting it. It’s supposed to be a full sterile procedure and the dressing change should be a full sterile procedure too.

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