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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Picc Line Questions

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Author Topic: Picc Line Questions
ladeedah
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So I had a picc line placed in my left arm about 1 week and a half ago.

I work full time and am able to infuse morning and night without having to do it at work, but about 4 days after the insertion I started to get pain under my left arm pit.

Like a dull annoying ache that is constant and subides if I am doing nothing like laying in bed or sitting in a chair to watch tv.

I feel like when I work all day the arm feels a bit puffy compared to my right arm, plus I have the dull ache.

I don;t have a fever and there is no oozing and the IV abx go in smooth and without a problem.

Does anyone else experience this? I dont want to expose myself to another x-ray if I am just being overly nervous.

Any feedback much appreciated.

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ladeedah
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I should also mention that when I am at rest my arm seems fine and I don't feel like puffy like after working all day
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penguingirl
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I get that dull aching pain in the underam and sometimes upper chest area (on the side where the picc goes).

It susbides too.. I just ignore it unless I have a fever or oozing or swelling. If you are doing blood returns when you flush (I can't do it right, haha my IV nurse does it once a week when I have a dressing change), then your line should be placed fine.

I did go to the ER once because my forearm seemed more puffy than the other arm but it was nothing.. It was a lot of tests but I guess it felt good to know fo sure.

So go with your gut. Chances they won't do an X-ray - they will prob use an ultrasound (that is what they did for me to check for clots) and then they did an EKG and urine sample.

I think since you just had it placed you are prob going to be sensitive for a while? I could not get used to it for a good 2 weeks or so.. ie lying in bed a certain way hurt it..

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ladeedah
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Blood returns? I am not sure what that is. I go back to the doctors office once a week and they change my bandage and do a blood test to check for infection. Is that what you mean?

Other then that I do the S.A.S.H. routine (Saline, Abx, Saline and Heperaine).

I get the chest pain too and adds to my anxiety.

I can't get comfortable in bed either. I try to find a spot and then wake up because that spot hurts my arm.

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penguingirl
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Blood return is where you draw the plunger back (instead of pushing it into the picc) and blood should come through the picc line. This means the line is placed properly. But sometimes you don't get blood returns, it doesn't necessarily mean it is out of place. Like today, mine didn't return ok. But we'll check it again next week.

Do you have a picc line cover that is fluffy. I have one that I use for when I got to bed so it doesn't rub on the site too much (I am a big movement sleeper!) I use a Tubifast bandage (from allegro medical) to keep everyting place everyday.. but when I go to bed, I put another cover that is looser and thicker as extra padding..

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sammy
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Since the symptoms resolve when you are resting, makes me think that you might be over using your PICC arm.

Try to be conscious of your actions. Do not lift anything heavy and, avoid repetitive motions with that arm. Baby it for awhile.

Your arm is still healing and learning to accommodate to having the PICC line in place. After a couple weeks you will be able to do more with your arm and not have pain.

Next time you arm is sore after work try using a warm compress over that area. It will help the blood vessels relax and should relieve the aching.

If this problems continues, or more symptoms develop, or if the aching pain and swelling is constant and not relieved by rest then I would encourage you to notify your doctor. They would would need to see you.

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ladeedah
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No I have a plastic one but wrap a small gauze pad around it and use a stretchy wrap when I sleep.

What cover do you use at night? I could use the extra padding because I am tired of sleeping with the arm out on pillow. I think that's why I cant get comfortable because I keep trying not to move it.

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sammy
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Almost forgot, see if you can find a small squishy pillow that you can comfortably place between your arm and chest. If you don't have a pillow, roll up a pair of pj pants or a small soft towel to use instead.

This will cushion your arm and help keep you from accidentally rolling over and sleeping on your PICC arm. My arm used to hurt every night when I slept with it resting against my ribs. The pillow really helps.

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ladeedah
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Thanks Sammy. My mom (who was a nurse) told me the same thing.

I have a desk job but I type all day and wonder if its the position I have my arm at all day.

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penguingirl
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I hug a pillow too.. but like I said, I am a restless sleeper so I can't control my movements!

My arm cover came from my IV pharmacy with the meds.. it's a thick mesh. It's so long that I fold it over the picc site area.

It will take a few weeks to really get used to the picc being in your arm so like sammy said,, baby it.

No heavy lifting, no groceries, etc.
Oh and I get pain when I stretch my arm up high (to reach for cups on a shelf, etc) so just try not to do anything too drastic..

and no golfing or tennis for sure..

Do you have a DryPro waterproof cover? You will need that for showering. I found that is the only thing that was 100% secure for me. Saran wrap, glad press and seal is ok for a bath.

Keep it dry no matter what! I always carry a folding umbrella if it's cloudy outside or wear a raincoat.. if it starts pouring outside and you get your picc wet then you need to get it changed to avoid any infection from the moisture.

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sammy
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Watch and see if you are leaning on your arm while working. You may not even be aware of it. If that's the case, try to watch your body posture and don't press into the arm rests.

You could also use a sling for a few days to keep your arm in a more resting neutral position. You would still be able to use it (and you should) but it would keep you aware of what you are doing.

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ladeedah
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I have been using a wash cloth that I tape around it and wrap saran wrap all around it and tape it on the top and bottom of arm.

The nurse just gave me these long plastic gloves which I have to tape on the top. They are ok, but ordered something from amazon so hopefully it work out better.

I havent gotten it wet yet, but good idea about the umbrella at all times.

Have any found the IV to help?

I know the mesh thing you are referring to. They cut mine too short so I will ask for a long one on Monday.

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penguingirl
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Here is the website:
http://www.drycorp.com/

It did rip once but I got a small tear in it and then of course it's rubber so once it starts it spreads..

So you have to be careful inching it up your forearm then bicep. It takes time but then for me the feeling of being 100% secure is worth it than the ease of sliding something up my arm quickly.. I have a plastic bag type thing with drawstrings for when I take a bath.

IV has helped me so far but I am fearful of going off of it until I am on a cystbuster.

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ladeedah
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Sammy -- I tried that but sometimes the pillow rubs up against the picc and that gets annoying. Maybe I will try the PJ thing tonight.

Thanks so much for the advice penguingirl and sammy. The IV thing has been nerve wracking for me, especially since the first abx they tried on me I had an allergic reaction to.

My throat got itchy and heart rate went up/blood pressure dropped. The nurse shot me up with benadryl and I felt loopy and crappy for the rest of the night.

I just hope all this works. I am IV Rocephin 7 days 2x a day now but think it should be combined with Flagyl and IV Azithromycin (well at least from what I read).

What IV's have you all been on?

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sammy
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I've tried many different antibiotic combinations (orals and IV). There is no one treatment protocol that works for all.

Are you taking anything along with the Rocephin? Maybe your doctor wants to see how you tolerate this med before adding some other antibiotics in a couple weeks?

What other meds you need will vary based on what symptoms you have and what infections your doctor suspects.

Take care! I hope that you will start to feel better soon [Smile]

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ladeedah
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Sammy-- I do lean on my left now that u mention it. Totally didn't realize it. I favor my left side even when watching tv. That probably has a lot to do with my soreness.

IV rochephin has made me feel like crap. Plus I had a sinus infection so I'm on oral zithromax. No real herx just feel tired and drained all the time. More so than when I started the IV.

Is this part of the IV Rochephin or does it mean it's killing the buggers off?

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sammy
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I also felt more tired and emotional when I first started Rocephin and then again once monthly. They were herx symptoms for me.
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