I Got a Port

I have been toying with the idea of getting a port for a few years. If you do not know what a port is, it is an implanted device that can be used to gain access to the vascular system, or bloodstream. So instead of being stuck over and over to get a good IV, a needle can easily be placed in the port for instant access. No more tight bands on my arm to make my veins pop out, no more digging, and no multiple sticks and blown veins on the way to getting an IV placed.

Having multiple chronic conditions

Most people hear about ports in the context of chemo for cancer treatment. Chemotherapy can be really hard on smaller veins, so ports are used to provide easier access and reduce the irritation caused by chemo. But ports are helpful in other contexts too. Some people, myself included, who have multiple chronic illnesses, can also benefit from a port.

Over the last few years, I have procured a number of conditions that require many IVs or blood draws over time. I had a pulmonary embolism a few years ago and had to have multiple blood draws to check my coagulation levels. I have had hospital admissions requiring long-term access. I have had weekly or monthly infusions of different medications. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. I have had many multiple instances of needing an IV or blood draws, and will continue to, as most of my chronic illnesses are life-long.

So I made the decision a few weeks ago to get a port. It was not an easy decision and it was not made lightly. There are lots of complications that can result from having a port. Everything from life-threatening blood infections to malfunctioning equipment, to muscle and nerve pain. But, frankly, I have had enough sticks at this point that I am ready to move on to something more permanent. Ports can be used for both the short term and the long term, some lasting up to 10-20 years if taken care of.

Will my port help in my asthma journey?

My pulmonologist is the doctor who ordered my port. He is the doctor who has known me the longest, seen me at my best and on death’s door. He knows how much I struggle with my health and the benefit having a port will provide. We have discussed a port on and off for months now. No, years. I hit my breaking point a few weeks ago after it took 4 tries to get a good IV. I sent a text to The Good Doctor and he was more than happy to put the referral in for me.

Now, asthma is definitely not the primary reason I got a port, far from it, but it will certainly come in handy at times. My pulmonologist has standing orders for me to get IV magnesium when I have an asthma exacerbation. That is something they frequently use for me when I go to the emergency room (ER) with an asthma exacerbation, so it just made sense to have orders for that so I can avoid the ER whenever possible. And on the occasion that I am hospitalized because of my asthma, the doctors and nurses will have easy access to deliver meds and fluids if I need them.

My feelings about this change

I do not regret getting a port, at least not yet. In fact, I wish I would have done it sooner. It has made my life so much easier already and I have only had it for a few weeks. I look forward to the next however many years without the need to get stuck for an IV anymore!

Do you have a port or are you considering getting one? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear about why you have a port or why you are thinking about getting one.

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