By BJ Reyes
Meet the Curlin Medical 4000 CMS Ambulatory Infusion Pump.†
The device regulates the flow of antibiotics (also pictured) through my intravenous PICC line every six hours. Like the Stone of Shame I've been carrying this device around in a convenient little fanny pack 24/7 since I left the hospital at the beginning of October. That's six weeks for those counting (not that I am =)
While it beats having to lug a traditional IV pole around the house (and to the Cleveland Clinic - the only place I've been since discharge) it's still not the most convenient thing to have to worry about. The IV bag and the tubing that connects it have to be changed every day at roughly the same time and there is always the possibility, however unlikely, of contamination with bacteria getting into my bloodstream via the PICC line.
But today, Wednesday, marks the last time any of that has to be done, because the post-operative IV antibiotic treatment has run its course. Once the last bag completes its infusion (tomorrow) I'll switch to an oral medication.
Thus begins the road toward the second surgical procedure (and with any luck, that will be the last time a scalpel is needed to deal with the infection in the knee/hip/femur prosthesis).
The date of that procedure won't be determined until later this month. At some point, the doctors will take me off of the oral medications and I will have to go a minimum of two weeks without any antibiotics to see if the infection returns. After two weeks, they will draw out some fluid and test the bacteria levels. If all indicators show no sign of the infection, then we'll be good to go. If not, then we start a whole new antibiotic course with a different drug to see its affect on the bug and the surgery will be pushed back.
It's not over yet, but blood tests so far all have been promising. So fingers crossed for the second surgery happening sometime before Christmas. =)
† Journalistic disclosure: The image is edited to blur the personal information. Photobomb by this guy.