Because of human error, Gabriel’s PICC line had to be taken out two nights ago. The PICC line is a central catheter that is inserted like an IV but the catheter is woven through the vein and stops next to the heart. Typically it is used for several weeks up to a few months. Since Gabriel still has to rely on IV nutrition, he has to have a central catheter; IV’s are not used in this case because they don’t last long and the IV nutrition is harsh on peripheral veins. Case in point, while Gabriel was having a central catheter placed yesterday, his IV nutrition was passing through an IV in his right hand and the vein blew. Now he has a chemical burn on his arm, just like the one on his scalp.
Central catheters are big deals as far as infection. In fact, I had to sign two consent forms that ended with “possibility of death” in regards to my baby. Needless to say, I was devastated that Gabe’s PICC line had to be taken out and a new one placed. Yesterday morning a nurse practitioner tried to place a PICC line for two and a half hours. The nurse said she lost track of how many times she had to stick Gabriel. She kept hitting the veins but the catheter wouldn’t weave. They failed to get it in. It was heart wrenching to see the deep and red indentations from the rubber band used to find his veins, to see the multiple IV sticks and the wounds they’ve left up and down his right arm and leg, to know that he was awake and suffering through all of it for two and a half hours…and for what?? It never placed! Why would God allow that to happen to Gabriel?? I’m trying not to think of the pain he’s been through because it makes me livid. I’m not sure who I’m so mad at…or maybe I just don’t want to admit who it is.
To make matters worse, Gabriel still needed a central catheter. The alternative to a PICC line is a Broviac line. A Broviac line is surgically placed, is more secure than a PICC line, and is good for a very long time…but it’s a surgical procedure that takes place down in the OR. The day Gabriel had surgery, I pleaded that I’d NEVER have to see him be wheeled away from me like that again. Well, a few days later my very sick baby on life support was wheeled away for the second time. Yesterday would have been the third time, except thankfully the OR team was able to come to him. Gabriel was given a strong pain medication and a paralyzer. I was told that he was out for the actual procedure, but woke up afterwards with his blood pressure sky rocketing and his heart rate dropping, which are both signs of significant pain. This Broviac line is in his upper thigh, it’s held into place by stitches, and there is a second incision about an inch up to make sure the line was placed correctly in the vein. I’m really trying to block out the thoughts of his pain and reassure both of us that all of this is happening so that he can come home with mommy. This isn’t fair, especially to him. After all of this, God has to have a big plan for Gabriel…it’s the only thought that gets me through seeing him go through these things.
I think I’ve written this in a previous entry, but it just seems like Gabriel can never catch a break! Before it was decided that Gabriel would have the Broviac line put in yesterday, his doctor ordered that he have an OG put in (feeding tube in his mouth) and start receiving 1 mL of breast milk per hour continuously (there are 30 mL in 1 ounce, it’s about the size of one drop). This was the news we’ve been waiting for…except that once we got the call from the surgeon, they had to stop the feedings and suction out everything that had reached his stomach even though he only had about .5 mL! It seems like we get to take one step forward and then it’s yanked out from underneath us! Of course they didn’t resume his feedings afterwards. Of course not.
On a positive note, Gabriel should be progressing towards a conventional ventilator tomorrow and off of the high frequency vent. They also started his feedings again today! He has received 10 mL of breast milk so far and has exceeded the medical expectations! His body is actually trying to digest the milk and it’s making its way through his digestive track! It’s amazing that his stomach contents can be easily suctioned out and examined to see what his body is doing with it all… and to see that his body is doing beautifully! Gabriel is now out of his incubator and into a transition bed post-surgery until he heals and can then be in an open crib. Since he’s in this “open warmer”, I’m able to give him a kiss every night now. Indescribable. I wish I could insert my tears of extreme joy here.