Do you remember the 2nd infusion? That horrible morning, it took 9 needle sticks and multiple nurses to get the IV line started. I was not a happy camper.
Something which I think I did not mention was that when the IV nurse flushed my veins at the end of each infusion, IT HURT!!!
My thought at the time was that she pushed too hard/fast with the saline and probably "blew" my vein in the process. Apparently that's very likely what happened.
The vein which was used on the inside of my right wrist developed several hard lumps and was rigid. I even complained about this on Twitter. It was painful for a long time too.
The vein which goes over the back on my wrist on the left had also become inflammed. It almost seemed like there was a kink in the vein which left an enlarged section ballooned out.
I conducted research online to try to figure out what this might be. Everything I found pointed to phlebitis caused by intravenous damage. Chemotherapy patients sometimes experience phlebitis with the harsh medication they must use.
The answer to treatment seemed to be warm compresses and time. I have been using warm compresses (actually a heating pad) sporadically since I read that. It only barely softened the vein on my left wrist.
Pain was present and increasing a couple of weeks ago and I started complaining more.
My mom - "You should call your doctor."
I'll try the heat first and see if that helps. Becoming concerned that maybe blood clots could be developing, I started taking a baby aspirin each day just in case.
Things did not improve and now it was 6+ and 8+ weeks since the infusions. The condition of these veins was definitely NOT NORMAL.
My mom asked - "When you are going to call your doctor?"
So I finally called my rheumy's office yesterday and talked to my doctor's nurse. She in turn talked to my rheumatologist who wanted me to see either her or my PCP soon. Whoever could get me in the soonest.
Today, I saw my primary doctor and she was glad that I came in. I was correct to believe that these veins were definitely not in good condition.
Since one vein was still very large and swishy in spots, while being rigid in others, she prescribed an antibiotic. I'll be taking Cephlex for a week.
I asked if any other patients had reported their experiences with the IV nurses at this particular hospital center. None had, but she asked me what my concern was.
I told her the story and she took notes. She confirmed that most likely the nurse did blow my veins at the end of each infusion. Something which really should not have happened and has caused inflammation, scarring, and possible infection.
Besides the antibiotics, my instructions are to continue the warm compresses.....and....to NOT ALLOW anybody to come ANYWHERE NEAR those two veins for six months. No blood draws and definitely no IVs. Nothing.
At least now I know that I was right to finally call the doctor.
I know, I know. I should have called sooner.