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.