The nurse arrived and sat beside my mother in the dimly lit hospital room.
One of the first things he said was, “This won’t hurt.”
He was there to place a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC, or “pick”) into Mom’s upper right arm. She’d been offered Dilaudid—a brand name for hydromorphone, a narcotic stronger than morphine—for pain management. The medication would be housed in a CADD pump (Computerized Ambulatory Drug Delivery) connected to her PICC line. The linked pump and the catheter would give a predetermined, regular amount of medication to ease her physical agony. A “button” could be pressed on the CADD pump for additional dosages.
Are your eyes glazing over with all the medicalese?
Mom’s body was riddled with cancer and the two surgeries undertaken to “relieve” discomfort had added complications. As I calmly write this three years after her death, I understand why she said “Yes” to that PICC line: she wanted the wrenching pain to end and she was ready to die.
But the nurse, who seemed rightly weary in the near midnight hour when he entered Mom’s room, first caused more pain.
He swabbed her arm with disinfectant and inserted a needle.
I held her left hand. Watching her tore my heart apart. Read More →by