When I was first introduced to the PICC concept I almost passed out, for the thought that they wanted, not just to puncture an vein to allow fluid in, but to insert something that would run along a vein, into a bigger one and end deep in my body between my heart and throat filled my with utter horror.
At times like this I do what I call going Zen and divert my thoughts elsewhere, even to the point of deliberate unconsciousness, for if my body does not shut itself down in a feint, I can also make it sleep.
The PICC did help me though for although I did not want to think about it it was a whole lot better than the alternative in that the latter was very intrusive for someone who had 5 more weeks of about 8 drips to be administered every 24 hours and blood samples firstly daily and later every other day. A device that allowed all of that to be done without new punctures had to be a blessing.
The problem that had with the first one after just 4 days brought the only real moment of fear into my stay when the blocked line caused such pain. Remedial action through shortening it to a mid-line got things back on track, but a new full length line had to be installed and that I fell asleep during the process.
At some point I made the decision to face up to the PICC and one Monday I watched as the staff nurse pulled back on an empty syringe to check that blood was flowing, then flushed back with saline before connecting the drip. Not only did I see all of that with relative indifference, but having drawn back, before the saline flush, she also drew blood to fill two phials to send off for analysis.
I had broken the mould and have watched every daylight drip and blood sample process since.
When my final drip had been given late on the Friday evening of day 40 it was time to remove the PICC and I elected not to turn away for that and watched as the dressing was carefully peeled off and then, having been asked to take a deep breath and expel it, Sister just gently pulled and a couple of feet or so of slim tube emerged from my arm. A cotton wool ball was applied to the exit point and I was asked to press that firmly in place.
A piece at the end of the PICC line that had sat deep within me was cut off to be sent to the lab to check for any signs of possible problems and a dressing applied to my arm. I was asked to wait 20 minutes whilst the nurses kept an eye on me and then allowed to go.
So ended the residential part of my treatment, and I asked that they leave my hospital tags on so that the Berkshire Belle could ceremonially cut them off at home as a private way of ending what had been her ordeal more than mine.