Since my mother-in-law is home from hospital, some aspects of her continuing treatment fall upon my wife (her daughter) and myself (her son-in-law).

She gets 2 grams of an antibiotic each day through a PICC. A PICC is a long thin tube that is inserted into a vein in the left arm and the tube is pushed in far enough to end just above the heart. The other end of this tube is outside the skin and has valve on it. This valve closes automatically when there is no syringe attached…this prevents blood from coming out the PICC. There is also a clamp that gets closed unless the PICC is actively being used. The clamp is a backup in case the automatic valve fails.

In case you want to see what this whole thing looks like, searching for PICC with any of the internet search engines will show all sorts of descriptions and images.

The PICC has several things that need to be checked; no sign of infection where the tube exits her body, ensuring the tube doesn’t start to come out, that the end of the tube inside the body doesn’t become clogged by clotted blood.

The daily noon-time process takes about 15 minutes and is the same each day except for Monday. On Monday there is additionally a blood sample taken and the sample is sent to the medical testing lab.

The results of the lab analysis are sent to the physician so the physician can decide “what’s next”.