Port Infection

20130514-110841.jpgOn my last day at Hallwang (for this round of treatment at least), I had my port de-accessed. I already knew there was going to be a problem as the port felt tender to the touch. Sure enough, when the dressing and gripper needle came out, the area around the port was red, slightly swollen and tender to the touch. I knew it was an infection and I wanted to scream “I told you so!”.

To explain, on my third day at Hallwang I started arguing with the nurses about the procedure they used to access and dress my chemo port. I actually told them that if they continue to dress the port ‘their way’ that my port would get infected before very long. I guess I did not argue hard enough.

At hallwang they wrap the gripper needle in surgical gauze, then tape it over with a waterproof plastic patch. My problem is that due to my daily fevers, I tend to sweat a lot in the evening and throughout the night. The gauze traps the moisture and the waterproof plastic dressing seals it in. You end up with a warm, moist environment. Paradise for bacteria. I hate being right.

It was a long drive from Hallwang to Duderstadt and by the time I arrived for my next round of immunological treatments there, the port became very swollen and extremely painfull to the touch. It did however improve by the following morning, so this gave me some hope. Hope soon to be dashed.

On Monday at Duderstadt, Dr. Nesselhut had a look at the port and said that it needed to come out as soon as possible. That for me would be a disaster, as I don’t handle needles and pick lines all that well.

I was not ready to give up my port just yet and asked for a prescription of antibiotics instead. I thought that I would give it a week to see if the antibiotics could clear the infection.

There has been no improvement thus far and three days have passed now. I am still hopeful however…

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About Ren

I have been diagnosed with stage 4, metastatic colorectal cancer in October 2012, 3 days after my 44th birthday. There is no cure, but I am determined to go down the road less travelled to find one. I have setup this blog to document my journey and hopefully help others in the process. My view is that if there is a cure, it does not lie with traditional chemo, but with the immune system. Time will tell.
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4 Responses to Port Infection

  1. Rona0909 says:

    Very interesting. someone else I know at Hallwang had a port infection too – but he thinks he may have got it from a spa or swimming pool – a lot of moist and steamy environments, but he always made sure to get the dressings changed when they got moist.

    Did you visit any spas/swimming pools?

    How should the nurses have accessed and dressed the port?

    They should surely have a best practice – otherwise the are letting pstients down.

  2. Ren says:

    I did not visit any pools or spas. Seems like port infections at Hallwang are far too common. There are now six cases that I know off including mine. They have a serious problem that no one seems to want to do anything about. I’ll try and make some noise however.

    • Rona0909 says:

      Thanks, Ren. I will let that other person know also. How should they have dressed your port? I had a pic-line for 4 weeks and count myself lucky I didn’t get an infection.

      • Ren says:

        The problem I think is the gauze placed under and over the gripper, sealed with a waterproof plastic dressing. It simply can’t breathe so the port stays in a moist and wet environment for hours or days. Dressing that I never had any probs even if left on for 7 days at a time was a simple splash proof (not waterproof) sheet stuck over the gripper. With this, the needle site was well ventilated and always dry.

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