Infection in my Power Port

Has anyone ever gotten an infection in their port? I did, last Thursday and I am upset. Besides every thing else now I have to be on four antibiotics every day for 10 days and suffer the misery of having a sore, hot, red port, and all because a new nurse was in training and didn't listen to instructions. The second time she was instructed to go around to my side and how to feel for the bumps on my port, she just ignored it completely and did the exact same thing she did the first time. Also I agreed to let her practise on me, but felt she would be more conscientious too. First of all, she tried twice to get the needle in and did not, where upon the reg nurse tried and just stuck it right in, no one was wearing masks at this point and I was never cleaned with the alcohol sponge, it was just a disaster. I just hope that this infection will clear up and the port will not be ruined because of this. Now I don't want either of these nurses to touch me again. Am I being unreasonable? In two full years I havenever had a complaint about my care but now I am soo disappointed I could cry. And I can't tell if I'm sick to my stomach because of what happened or because I'm taking four antibiotics a day besides my morphine and oxycodone. I'm tired, tired of this rotten disease, and tired to always being poked and scanned and jerked around. I bet I need an anti-depressant too! Excuse me for venting, I usually don't do that, I smile and say "I'm fine" when I want to scream. Help, Help Help!

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Hazelmarie - I am so sorry you have to deal with this on top of everything else. This disease is just awful!

You are completely right to be upset and not want those nurses to touch you again! I can't believe they didn't swab the area before they stuck you - that is unacceptable.

I know you want to scream help, help, help while you are smiling for the sake of everyone around you. We are poked, scanned, terrified, medicated to the inth degree and the fact that you can smile at all shows how strong you are! The "survivor" post by groovycoolgirl describes our struggle to a tea :>

We understand what you are enduring and we are here for you so vent away!! I am sending gentle cyber hugs your way.....lisa

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You have every right to complain and cry and to refuse to be the guinea pig for new nurses. It is bad enough that we have to have poison injected into our bodies to kill the cancer. It's official, cancer and cancer treatment both suck.

I hope the best for you and your course of antibiotics. I am going to be extra careful that my port is properly swabbed.


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Darling Hazelmarie

Nursing students need to learn, and they need to practice to someday make perfect, hopefully......

But at Stage IV, with all you've got happenning at the moment - I DON"T THINK SO!! Tell 'em 'go practice on someone else'.

If it was 'Michelle O' or Queen Elizabeth - do you think they'd have someone on "L's"? No way. In future, mention casually, but LOUDLY that you haven't been swabbed (or whatever vital step is omitted!) - they'll do it quick smart.

At this stage of the Stage IV game, you must have only the best of treatment and care - YOUR life depends on it Gorgeous One.

If at some point you feel well enough, write your treatment facility a "feedback" letter. Everyone deserves the best of care - no excuses.

Keep smiling (if you wish) as you reply to inquiring family and friends: "Usually I'd say I'm fine, but you know, this is getting very tough for me, and I really need some help/assistance/someone to talk with,etc"

Supercharged-high powered-immune boosting prayers for you Sweetie, xxxHeather

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Oh my honey, I am so very sorry for all you had endure...enough already, ENOUGH!!!!

I do want to suggest, however, that you put it all down in writing and send it off to a higher up at the hospital/medical place. Yes, students are students and will make mistakes. HOWEVER, the slights you're talking about are simple but HUGE and never should have happened on a late stage Hot Cancer Babe.

Please, do it to make yourself feel better, but also to prevent it from happening again. The nurse supervisors will be reprimanded, and at least for the near future, all patients will be swabbed and infection avoided as much as possible.

An anti-depressant isn't the worst thing...I'm on a low dose one that helps with the hot flashes (that could heat a small country if we could harness the energy!) I think many of us suffer from the (smile) "I'm o.k." rule of thinking when internally we're saying "#*@! #*(! @$# !!!!!!!!!!" like someone out of the Exorcist. I know I'm trying to find my 'big girl' words to explain what this is like to all around the smile gig just isn't working.

Hang in there, we're all pulling for you!

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I agree with Groovy and Beach - you MUST write a letter. This may halp some other poor thing avoiding the same problem. I can't believe they did not swab the port area. YUCK. That is terrible. When you go back tell them yo dont want the nurse or student touching you. Also remind them to swab the area.

Us stage IV gals on chemo cannot afford infection whatsoever. I am sorry you are having to deal with this along with everything else. Its amazing what we put up with - all the poking, prodding, scanning, etc. Its enough to drive you crazy!

I hope the antibiotics work soon and you feel better.

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Oh you poor thing!! I'm so mad for you I could scream. You have every right to be upset and every right to say, don't touch me again!!

This is your quality of life they are messing with and if the doctors really mean all that yada yada they spew about quality/quantity of life then you don't and shouldn't be put down by laziness or stupidity. You've got more than enough to worry about without incompetence being one of them!

Don't think about anyone else when you go for treatment, think about you!! That is your right!

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I'm so sorry that you're having to go through unnecessary pain and grief because of poor care. As a nurse, it hurts me to hear about. If you've not had the conversation with your oncologist about the ramifications of the port You'll feel better knowing than stewing.

I'd suggest that you write your letter and send it to the President of the hospital and cc the director of nursing. Ask for their follow-up on the situation.

I often say that having cancer is a great series of opportunities to become assertive if we're not already. It becomes a whole lot more important to speak up when someone is doing something to us that could harm us when we're in so vunerable a state.
Keep us posted on how you do, and how the infection plays out. Peace.

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I had an infection in my port in November--and the area was always swabbed. I went on the pills and also had the port removed for many reasons. It was an awful experience and I really felt like I didn't need the problem with the port on top of everything else. But, the upside is that the infection will go away--they know how to make infections go away, if only the same could be said for cancer--and so it will get better. It took longer for my psyche to heal--but living port free helps. I am sorry you are going through this, but it will get better.

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What a mess and it's worse because it was unnecessary. One antibiotic might upset one's stomach. Four? Sounds like a given. I'm surprised no doctor has talked to you about an antidepressant. If you don't need one when you have cancer, when do you? I think you are mentally screaming because you have lost even more control over your life. But this mess, though it shouldn't have happened, will get fixed. Maybe you will consider an antidepressant. Then we will pick you up, dust you off and we will all hold hands while walking down the long road looking for a cure that's under construction. It will be alright.

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You poor thing. It is bad enough to have to go through all of this without someone being someones guinea pig.
I have been through some problems myself. At first I thought well it was a mistake but, now I don't think so. We are fighting for our lives and deserve the best care.
Hope you feel better soon. Do not let anyone else practice on you. The doctor is doing that all by himself.
God Bless Donna

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Sorry to hear about what happened. I just had a power port put in 1 month ago and already told 2 nurses during 2 separate chemo sessions to find someone else to access my port. We are the patients dealing with Stage IV cancer and if we are uncomfortable in any way, we have the right to speak up and ask for a different nurse. I have been dealing with this since 2007 and I know in an instant who is a capable nurse and who is not so sure of herself/himself. So, in the future, do not be afraid to speak up. My line is, "Don't take this personally, but I would like someone else to access my port." Good luck and I hope you are better soon.

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hey gang, is a power port something special? i have a port but no one ever called it a power port.

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I am so sorry to hear about the troubles you are having. I agree with the others, you need to talk to your onc. and write a letter to whomever will fix this problem. As said above we with Stage IV have enough to put up with. Good luck and hope you are feeling better soon.

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Hey, WOW, you are all just what I needed to hear! I feel empowered by all of you and I thank you greatly. I know I was looking for validation for my uncool feelings and got it from you all. I will be talking to the head of the nurses, and writing it all down too. I don't want this to happen to anyone else and I sure don't want it to ever happen to me again. And the only way we are going to get perfection in our care is to keep communications open and when something isn't right they need to be trained "right" I don't want anyone to get into trouble because I have always been the one to sing the praises of those oncology nurses, I feel a close and personal connection with all of them. We even had a garden tour at our house with margaritas and everything! It was our way of giving and showing some kindness back. God this is hard. But I know I must do the right thing too. I believe in prayer and I can use some now. Love always, hazelmarie

PS: I'll let you all know what happens so we all learn from it.

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You absolutely have every right to be upset - very upset! I have a power port now but before I did, one nurse at the chemo clinic would not wash her hands prior to putting the IV in me (I watch these things like a hawk!) and every single time I would speak up and ask her to please wash her hands. The first time, she said "oh sure" and walked to the wall and reached for the anti-bacterial foam container, pressed it the wrong way, and spewed the stuff all over the room (and me). She got a tiny bit in her hand and rubbed her hands together and that was it. So by the 3rd time I had to ask her to wash her hands first, I said something to my Onc about it. Within a week, this nurse was gone. I felt so badly about that and said so to my Onc - I didn't want her to be fired, I just wanted some training for her. She told me that she's an RN and has received a ton of training and does know better and, therefore, it's laziness. And she can't have that kind of thing going on in her clinic! And to know that I likely saved the lives of some of her patients who are SO weakened from chemo, that an infection would do them in. I guess that made me feel better, but I still did feel badly. Shortly thereafter, signs went up EVERYWHERE saying, "It's ok to ask any of us if we've washed our hands".

The other thing you mentioned that bothered me was that neither of them had a mask on, either. There's a whole kit that my doctor's office uses (and the hospital) that have special sterile gloves to be worn (vs. pulling them out of the box on the wall), a mask, and a "sponge on a stick" that when bent, emits the alcohol to wipe the area clean, and a table cloth that is also sterile to lay everything on. And I watch closely to be sure everything is done correctly.

Even though I did feel badly about her getting fired, I agree with my Onc - you should say something to spare the next person what you've gone through and if that person is really weakened by chemo, you could be saving their life.

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Oh Hazel,

I join the choir of your friends to say how very sorry I am that this happened to you. How blatantly unprofessionally those nurses acted and there is no way they should come near you again regardless of apologies, promises to do it right his time because it is also important to have a really good vibe about the persons serving our health. Yes, complain!! Complain loudly and to the highest authority possible. I have had several instances of incorrect procedure and I always point it out at least to a supervisor but with as much professionalism, sans anger, that I can muster as I believe a cool rational approach enhances the seriousness and possibility of future correction.That said, I've lost it on occasion as we Advanced cannot afford more complications and pain as BB said so well.
My doctor daughter was appalled when a nurse at a clinic in PA did not wear a mask when accessing my port! To not swab is dark ages inexcusable and you could sue (but who wants that stress).
I wound up with a blocked port because the nursing staff did not give me the 6cc's of heparin my particular port calls for so a hospital visit was required to dissolve the protein/fibrin sheath that had formed. You can bet that I am hawklike in my overview of every procedure now that I'm three years into this stoney river journey.

I now know the best needles to access my port and I take them with when I go to other places

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Please don't feel bad about the nurse that isn't there any longer. She needs to be in a different field anyway, not nursing! And the one that wouldn't wash her hands? Unforgivable in the nursing profession! Perhaps they should take up auto mechanics?

I have a tiny little blood vein that runs directly across the center of my port. The nurse has to pull the skin slightly either up or down to avoid hitting that vein. If it gets nicked, it's extremely painful, it's very difficult to get the bleeding to stop and I'm badly bruised for two weeks, at least.

Most listen but one was just pleased that he could pop the needle in before I could say anything and ended up damaging my blouse with blood. Needless to say, he no longer gets near me with a needle and he's not stopped apologizing.

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Infections can terminate your life quicker than cancer. I've had many. My first was a staph that nearly ended my life.

Infections have my total, immediate respect.

The training nurse and her supervisor should be reported immediately.

Why are your on oral antibiotics instead of an IV, given your current situation? If you are not feeling well, you should report to the ER immediately.

Best to you

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ditto to everything already said.
write a letter to the hospital (NOT swabbing is just shoddy - no practice needed there!), and come here when the "smile" just won't cut it.
hope you heal soon.

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Dear Loved Ones,
Last Thursday I saw my oncologist and he saw my infected port. Actually they accessed my port and did some blood tests done for various reasons but mostly to see if the Neulasta worked, but also to see if the antibiotics was taking care of the infection, which good news, it was! All of the nurses that were working last Thursday were extremely up set and said that I'd never be practised on again nor would I being seeing that trainee in oncology again. (the nurse that had been training her wasn't in so that's still something to face) However, I feel better in clearing the air and also validated that I didn't over-react. I know that we all have frustration, many times it feels like everything is stacked against us, but you know we have to play the hand we're dealt. I still feel extremely fortunate to have gotten the wonderful care over the past 10 years. I have little to complain about any where in my life!
I'm sure grateful to all of you and appreciate your comments, you truly all came to my aid. This is the very thing that makes this site so uplifting and necessary. Thank you for being there for me...

hazel marie

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