James is going in for surgery tomorrow afternoon. To remove the appliance in his jaw that was placed back in April to open his airway, to correct his inguinal hernia, and to remove his Broviac.
I will selfishly be overjoyed to have that damned Broviac out of him. It’s a “permanent IV” that allows for painless blood draws and administration of IV medication. In other words, no needles. These were great things for a chronically ill child that was getting stuck with needles repeatedly in the PICU.
But in reality, it’s scary. It’s an external line directly into his blood stream. Which means you have to keep that bad boy crazy clean or your child can get a systemic infection. And potentially be sent straight back to the PICU.
Every day, I flush the Broviac line with heparin and replace its external cap in a sterile procedure. Every week, or any time it gets wet or James spits up on it or just becomes otherwise manky, I change the sterile dressing that covers the site. These are tasks for nurses, normally. So to take J home, I had to train and be certified on all of them.
It all seemed pretty straightforward when the nurses at the rehab hospital taught me. Basic set of steps, respect the sterile field. I got this sh*t.
However, in our apartment it’s not quite so simple. A sterile dressing change goes something like this:
(1) Put on mask, ask Max to please play iPad in the other room for 2 minutes.
(2) Carefully open the sterile dressing change packet. Tear the current dressing off of J’s little chest while he screams. Curse the manufacturer that thinks Krazy Glue is an appropriate adhesive for a medical dressing attached to human skin.
(3) Shush J in a comforting way as he screams his head off, but DON’T TOUCH HIM BECAUSE YOU HAVE STERILE GLOVES ON.
(4) Remind Max he needs to stay in the other room for just a few more minutes and that you love him so much. DON’T TOUCH HIM (see above).
(5) Clean the site of the Broviac and the line itself for 90 Mississippis. DON’T F*CKING TOUCH IT ANYWHERE ELSE OR YOUR BABY WILL DIE OF A TERRIBLE INFECTION.
(6) Ask Max to please just stand a few more steps away if he absolutely needs to play iPad right beside you. Also tell him you love him so much.
(7) Carefully place a sterile biopatch over the site, then wrap the line around it. DON’T TOUCH HIS SKIN OR … see (3) and (5) above.
(8) Tell James you love him so much and you’re so sorry for the 90th time. DON’T TOUCH … okay, you get the point.
(9) Pull the sterile dressing out of the package and peel off the backing. Yell FUckDGE at the top of your lungs when you get it messed up and stuck to your gloves and itself because oh yeah Max is sitting right beside you watching a creepy adult woman demonstrate children’s toys on YouTube on the iPad (Seriously, what is up with those people? If you are a full grown adult demonstrating a $3.99 Lightning McQueen pull back toy car on YouTube, I strongly encourage you to seek a new hobby. Soon. Before I call the police.)
(10) Put another sterile dressing out of the package and damn well get it right this time.
(11) Label the clean dressing with the date and “MOM” in all caps. Because normally nurses put only their initials, but I am a badass mom and now part time nurse and I want anyone looking at that perfect dressing to know that James’ mom keeps her sterile field, and her sh*t, tight.
(12) Rip off the sterile gloves and mask and grab James in time to flip him over before he spits up because he’s so distraught over the dressing change. Tell him you love him and you’re so sorry for the 200th time.
Go ahead and repeat approximately 3x per week.
Yessiree, good bye and GOOD F*CKING RIDDANCE Broviac. Thank you for saving James from all the needles. But, you’re a bastard and I hate you and I can’t wait until you are out of J’s chest forever.
Also I love you my sweet J bug. I’m so, so happy that you don’t have to go through the Broviac-related torture any longer. We will be waiting for you in recovery, little man.
Please send love and prayers for him tomorrow if you have any to spare.