Life on The Line 

 Chronic illness can make merely existing a lofty endeavor. Every ounce of energy must be rationed carefully. That’s why I am especially grateful for the energy and precious Time you will take to share your #GetThePiccture features. Thank You Allie!

Hi everyone, my name is Allie, and I’ve had a PICC line for about five months now, and I’m on my third line. I love my line for the most part but it’s also been a complicated relationship. The reason I have my line is because I suffer from Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the GI tract. Recently it had gotten so bad that I was no longer absorbing the right amount of nutrition and I was steadily loosing weight. It was one of the scariest time periods of my life, I had gone through so many treatments and I wasn’t a candidate for surgery, and I honestly thought that I might be dying. I couldn’t even make it from my bedroom to my kitchen without feeling faint and out of breath. I was at the end of my rope physically and mentally. I didn’t know how much longer I could continue feeling this way. That’s when my doctor decided that is was time for me to get a PICC and start total parenteral nutrition (TPN). I never knew IV nutrition was an option, but it sounded absolutely amazing. It was a chance for me to get some of my quality of life back and stay nourished while we tested out other treatments. But as great as it was, it did come with some challenges. The first month was a huge adjustment between home healths, scheduling and getting the routine down. I was very busy and very tired. If I had to go anywhere in the evenings I had to take my TPN backpack with me and I just felt a bit weird with a tube sticking out of my arm. Even though I was still extremely grateful for it, I was just tired of looking and feeling like the sick girl. But eventually I got used to it and now it doesn’t bother me as much. My biggest obstacle with my PICC happened just a month after I had gotten it. I ended up in the hospital with an infection and a clot. When I first went to the ER I thought I would just be admitted for the standard forty-eight hours and given IV antibiotics. But I was very wrong. I ended up in the ICU for a day and in the hospital for another ten with what they believe was sepsis. I was so scared, I’d always heard about sepsis and I knew how dangerous it was, I just never imagined that it would happen to me. I’m so thankful for the hospital I go to and my doctors. I still don’t want to know what would have happened had we decided to wait or go to our small town hospital instead. So thankfully, I was released and sent home on antibiotics and I’ve been infection free ever since. Just one thing I never expected to get from having this line was anxiety. I never had many issues with anxiety before this year. But now my mind races every time I have a low-grade fever, get a dressing change, I feel sick, or my arm hurts a little. I’m terrified of getting another infection and all of the what ifs. It’s something that I’ll probably struggle with until it’s time for me to get my line removed. So I do my best to keep it as sterile as possible. But even with it’s harsh challenges, I’m still extremely grateful for my line. Since having it I’ve gained fifteen pounds and I no longer have low blood pressure or dizziness. I’ve been able to tolerate some physical activity and I just overall feel much better than I did. It’s also been a huge relief not having to obsess over calories or loosing more weight. I can choose whether I feel up to eating or not, and I’m able to give my intestines a rest when they need it. So even though it can be inconvenient at times and it comes with its risks, I believe my line helped save my life. 

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