We use her central line every day to give her Ceprotin which is just a human concentrate of Protein C. This line is tunneled under the skin and attached to a vein near her heart. Tubing from the line extends out of her chest and is covered with a transparent dressing which has to be changed every week. The end of her line is covered with a cap and part of the capped tubing hangs out of the dressing. Every day, we screw on the appropriate syringes in the appropriate order (saline, Ceprotin, saline, venk hep) to the end of her cap to give Little Dorrit her medicine.
Using a central line to give Little Dorrit her medicine means that we don't have to poke her with a needle every day (Hooray! Who wants that?) but it also has its setbacks. Because the line comes straight out of her chest and requires a dressing change each week, there is a larger risk of infection. The entry site for the line is covered with a Tegaderm dressing which is great, but you are not supposed to get it wet which makes bathing a challenge. Our bathing solution for Little Dorrit has been to cover her dressing with Glad Press n'Seal wrap and only wash her in the tiniest amount of water in the bathtub. It has worked well for the past two years but central lines like hers are also not meant to last forever. In the past two years, Little Dorrit's line has torn twice and has luckily been repaired both times. Lately, Mr. Rochester and I have been feeling that we are on borrowed time and that it's probably time to get a port.
Replacing Little Dorrit's central line with a port that is under the skin will mean that we have to stick her with a needle every day in her port site but it will also mean that she can take a real bath and go swimming some day as well as providing a reduced risk of infection. The port placement surgery is an out patient surgery that will take about an hour and a half.
As we learn this new and different way of giving Little Dorrit her medicine, Mr. Rochester and I are both a little nervous although we feel confident that this is the right thing for her.