Saturday, October 25, 2014

HG Treatment Post 2: The Pump

This is the second post in my HG series on Zofran/Reglan Infusion Pumps.  To see the intro post, which will list all other posts in the series and link you to them, please go here.  If you are here because you are about to start an Infusion Pump, don't worry!  For all the garbage that may come with them, it is by far better than the crippling illness that HG is.  

So this is the pump.  The device that actually holds and administers your 24/7 medication.  It is quiet as long as your med syringe is full and in the right place, and the batteries are good. In those cases it will beep at you, but I don't actually hear it running otherwise.  You wear it in a purse thingy, which you will see a little bit later in this post.

This is the pump in its little pouch.

Here is me with my bump and the pump, like 17 weeks along.  This is how I wore it, they tell you that you can wear it like a fanny pack, but my dignity and expanding waistline made this impossible to consider.

I had it like 3 weeks by that point and was more than used to it.  I had also named it Robin because it was my trusty side kick.

A nurse from the home healthcare company my insurance uses came out to teach me how to use it.  They give you packets of info and walk you through each step, it seems intimidating but it really isn't.  It feels like a ton of steps, but really it isn't.  You get used to it within a week and are a pro in no time. Ask all the questions you want to, your nurse is there to help you and will not judge you.  Even if they do judge you, who cares, you need to know this stuff!  Ask questions and keep asking until it makes sense to you.

The pump itself has the following relevant parts.

The screen display is easy to read on mine.  A monkey could do this -- or a violently ill and seriously weak pregnant woman, whichever you happen to be.

I only use my info button for two things 99% of the time.  First, I hold it down to lock and unlock the keypad, that way I don't bump it and accidentally stop the flow of medication.  Second thing I use it for every few days is to check the battery.  Simple.

The plus and minus arrows are not something I use unless I have to call the nurse for a demand dose.  Even then I rarely need it because it is just there to adjust the amount I get which I have personally only had to do once.  The nurse who came out to my house did all the set up when I initially started and when I changed medications so I did not need to actually set my pump up.

The green button, or yes/start button is what you push to start your pump or to agree to something.  Inversely and equally obvious, the stop/no button halts the flow of medication or is the no command if you are doing something.  If you have to actually DO something, like a demand dose of medication they walk you through it over the phone or in person.  It is really simple even if you are sicker than a dog.  You will need to use these buttons independently when you have to change syringes when your meds run out.  (See this post for that.)

The FF and Back buttons move the syringe's plunger pushy thing.  Technical term, of course.  You need to use that when you load a new syringe.

Last is the on/off button and I think that you, even at your most nervous and unsure can figure that one out.

On top of the pump is the arm that holds the syringe in, the bed the syringe sits on, and the plunger pushy thing for the syringe.

So here is the pump ready for a new syringe, old empty one still in there ...

Here it is empty, ready for a new syringe ...

The tube coming off the syringe is part of the "Orbit" set.  That is the next post and the one that may be freaking you out the most because you have to poke yourself.  Again, not as bad as it sounds.

You wear the pump in this little case thingy on a day to day basis.  As the pump costs like $5,000 to replace I advise keeping it in that silly case.  If you want to leave your pump on and shower they give you this clear case.

For the record, that is the first time I put it in there.  It is awkward and the $5k price tag scared me, so I always time my showers with syringe changes when I can.  You do have to be careful though with this plan, I have made myself violently ill being off the pump for too long.  It wasn't pretty at all because I was on Zofran so my body wanted to fight the vomiting but needed to do it ... I will spare you deets, but it ranks as my WORST puketastrophe as of yet.  You are not allowed to submerge an infusion site that is in uses, so no baths or swimming.  Bummer, floating in water can be so soothing for me.

Anyway, those are the parts in post four I will talk about some tricks I have learned with the pump (like how to sleep with the damn thing).  For now, we move on to the part you may be dreading the most ... the catheter site, or in other words, the part where you have to poke yourself. (Spoiler, it is no where near as bad as HG so hang in there!)

Next post in the series is here!

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