The Right Way to Stick Your Wife With a Needle

Learning to help my wife access her port is part of our shared journey with CF. Check out our video for some tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way.

Jan. 19, 2016 | 2 min read
Peter Frey

During my wife, Mary's, teenage years with cystic fibrosis, her need for intravenous (IV) antibiotics became more frequent, and with each PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line came more scar tissue and harder-to-reach veins. Mary and her CF care team decided it was time to have a port-a-cath (port) placed in her chest to make IV treatments easier.

As Mary prepared for college, her care team taught her how to access her port on her own, making it easier to do monthly maintenance and start IV medications from her dorm room. It took some creativity -- and extra sets of sterile gloves -- but Mary demonstrated her meticulous sterile technique while accessing her port. The independence she gained by taking care of her port reduced the need to juggle dorm room visits from home care nurses and enabled her to maintain her busy college schedule.

When we married in 2011, Mary and her care team taught me how to access her port.

Although sticking my bride with a needle wasn't part of my wedding vows, taking on the responsibilities of Mary's ongoing CF care as a team became a huge part of our lives as newlyweds.

It is crucial to stay sterile throughout the entire process of accessing the port and changing the needle. As Mary coached me through the process, I was impressed by her careful attention to every detail of keeping her port sterile. Taking ownership of this process can help keep the port free from infection and minimize trips to the hospital.

We created a video showing our process of accessing Mary's port and some tips and tricks we've learned along the way. We hope you find it helpful!


You can watch additional videos from Peter and Mary on their YouTube channel, The Frey Life.

This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.

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Antibiotics | Infection Prevention and Control | Social Life and Relationships

Peter is married to his high school sweetheart Mary, who has CF. Peter and Mary are video creators on YouTube, where Peter edits and uploads daily videos about their life with cystic fibrosis, highlighting the joys and challenges of fighting CF as a team and finding ways to laugh along the way. Together, Peter, Mary and her service dog Oliver have come to be known as The Frey Life.

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