Mar 20, 2008 11:37PM otter wrote:
Man, I hate when they leave us hanging like that! I would have pitched a fit, and demanded some answers ('course, I'm a real nuisance in a hospital setting--that's why I usually get cut loose to go home early).
The "neck catheter/IV"? I'm sorry, I didn't look back--are you going to need to have chemo after all this? Did anybody say anything about putting in a chemo port? Is there some reason why your veins might be hard to hit, or an i.v. cath in an arm vein might cause a problem? I admit I haven't heard about getting an i.v. cath placed in the neck (jugular vein or subclavian vein?) for a mast/recon surgery.
As for the spinal/epidural cath for pain relief, I did have a spinal nerve block along with placement of a very fine (hair-width) catheter that delivered local anesthetic to a spinal nerve. The catheter was in my back, right next to my spine, but not in the epidural space. The anesthetic (bupivacaine I think) was being infused through the catheter onto a spinal nerve so the area of skin & muscle that sent pain signals along that nerve would be numb. (Your dentist does that same thing with an injection of local anesthetic for painful dental work.)
Other women have had different sorts of pain relief delivered to their surgical sites through catheters, though. My nurses all thought I was getting fentanyl, which was not true. I don't know what they would deliver through a catheter that would help blood flow during surgery.
This all sounds scary, but remember that they probably won't stick you with any of those things until you're asleep in the O.R. Once you wake up, you won't be thinking about a needle stick or an i.v. catheter all that much.
I sure would ask more questions, though, if that's possible.