Since I wrote about all the tech stuff in my last post, I thought I’d address iRick’s daily medical routine.
First thing in the morning, he weighs and takes his temperature. We write those down, along with the monitor numbers on his controller. On non-shower days, it’s then time for his driveline dressing change, before he gets dressed for the day.
iRick reclines on his bed. First step is for me to take off my rings and wash my hands. Then I close the bedroom doors and windows and turn off the fan. I put on non-sterile gloves and use disinfectant wipes on the designated procedure table.
Next, I lay out the materials I will need: two antiseptic scrubbies, one package of split sterile gauze, one package of regular gauze, a package of skin protectant, two sections of overlay tape, and a set of sterile gloves.
Then we both don paper procedure masks. No way are we going to blow our germs on his open wound! I remove yesterday’s dressing and discard it in a designated waste basket. I check for redness, swelling, or any oozing where the driveline enters iRick’s body. Next I remove the non-sterile gloves and open the packages laid out on the dressing table, careful not to touch them or let them touch the outside of their packaging.
I use antiseptic hand solution, and when my hands are dry, put on the sterile gloves. It’s tricky and sometimes frustrating, and the hardest part for me is to get the gloves on correctly without compromising their sterility.
Rub-a-dub with one of the scrubbie tools around his wound site, then wait for 30-60 seconds while the antiseptic kills any germs. Then scrubbie number two, same procedure, making sure to work out from the center and along the driveline and waiting a full minute this time.
Finally, I straddle the driveline with “two by two” split gauze dressings and cover it with the solid gauze. I use skin protectant all the way around the dressing before taping the whole thing securely in place. Once a week, I also change his “Foley Anchor,” which is like a soft plastic tie-down which keeps a gentle loop between the exit site and the Controller so it doesn’t compromise the driveline if the Controller is dropped or pulled away from him.
Shower days there’s a whole ‘nother set of things to do prior to the dressing change, focusing on a “waterproof” shower bag for his Controller and batteries, and pasting on transparent windows over his driveline exit and taping it down all around before he gets into the shower. (Nope, iRick says this is not a photo op!)
Fortunately, the daily changes are only for the first 30 days or so after coming home, so early in November, if there are no signs of infection, and I predict there won’t be, iRick will go to weekly sterile dressing changes.
Which is certainly something we both look forward to!