What is a Port? (I)

This device is an essential component of Joshua’s treatment. It was inserted into his chest under general anaesthetic on day 2 of being in hospital, back in November 2019.

Children who are regularly given A LOT of medication (such as antibiotics and chemotherapy) and need blood tests relentlessly, have one fitted. This port gives instant access to a large vein. It is under the skin, you can’t see it and it can remain there for years.

This is supposed to make life easy. But Joshua is 2, and nothing is apparently easy.

Above his nipple is a small metal chamber. To access it, the nurses stab through Joshua’s skin directly into this chamber. It probably is an unpleasant sharp sting; but the way he reacts, you’d think he was being tortured. He has to be pinned down on my lap (arms and legs flailing) whilst he is screaming and sweating. I have lost count of the times we have had to do this, but I have a silent sigh every time, because he gets so upset.

(In this picture you can see the plastic butterfly clasp that the needle is attached to, all stuck down to his skin with a sticky patch.)

Joshua doesn’t have his port accessed all the time. The needle and catheter hanging off it, only last about a week. And then it has to be changed for a fresh one. When we’re at home, I’m not very relaxed when the needle is attached because he has an extremely cavalier approach to health and safety.

His currently favourite hobby is standing on the arm of the sofa and dive bombing on to cushions. If it gets dislodged, that’s an instant trip to hospital. And bath time is fraught because he likes pretending to swim; you can’t immerse this in water (especially water that you wash your dirty bum in.)

My resting heart rate is lower, when it’s been removed. Ahh and breathe…

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