Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bandage Changes

I know I haven't been that great at posting lots on the blog. I don't really have much to post about. Things are going really good. Jackson's hair is growing back, but he does have some bald patches here and there due to the radiation. I learned just on Friday that where the radiation goes into his head the hair doesn't grow. Once he's all done with radiation it should grow back just fine in all of those spots (unless the new chemo makes all of it fall out again- which I'm planning on).

I thought I'd share some random cancer tidbit with you... just in case you're starving for an update. Or if you're curious.

Jackson has a Double Lumen Broviac central line in his chest. Basically it is a permanent IV that goes from his chest right to his heart. The line although somewhat bothersome the line makes chemo and blood draws much easier.

The central line can't get wet, so when we shower Jackson we have to be very careful. We also have to flush the line with a saline solution as well as Heparin (an anti-coagulant) every night. Also once a week we have to do a bandage change and a cap change. These things are all basic maintenance to ensure that Jackson can keep the same central line through out his entire treatment protocol (9-12 months). The central line was placed in a surgery, and will have to be taken out in another surgery, and we really don't want to have to replace the line, so we do our best to keep it clean.

I thought I'd take a few pictures of the bandage change process and document it here, just in case any of you are curious.

Here are all of the supplies that we use just to do a weekly bandage and cap change.

This part is the worst... well, if you ask Jackson the entire thing is the worst. Here we are taking off the sticky bandage. Jackson cries pretty hard the entire time, but he is still so brave. He has to wear a mask to help keep everything as sterile as possible.

Another picture mid-bandage change process.

Here is a picture of Jackson's central line going right into his chest with out a bandage. His skin looks amazing, as well as where the tubes go in- luckily his skin doesn't get to affected by all of the tape/bandages/cleaners and other stuff we have to put on him.

Cleaning the site is a rigorous process. We start with 3 separate alcohol soaked cotton swabs, and clean the site very well. Even though Jackson's skin looks great, this usually causes lots of pain and tears.

After the cotton swabs, we use this cool thing that has what they call "chlora-prep" in it. I'm not really sure what exactly is in it, but I know it kills more germs. We scrub with this vigorously for 30 seconds. This usually causes more tears because of the stinging, and the scrubbing.

After the chlora-prep we put some stuff called Cavilion on his skin. The Cavilion makes the bandage stick better- this is the only part that doesn't sting or cause tears.

After the Cavilion we put a sticky tape like bandage over the site. I would have taken a picture, but Brian and I usually have to use team work to get the tube positioned correctly and the tape stretched tight enough for a good fit. Brian places the bandage, and I situate the lines so that they are in a good position.

After the bandage change, we start on the cap change process. We have to change the blue part of the line, and this is usually my job.

It consists of using about 4 gauze pads as well as about 8 alcohol wipes. I like doing it, it makes me feel like a real nurse... sort of.

Here is Jackson with his new bandage and new caps.

We do this once a week, and the entire process takes about half an hour. It is a very stressful half an hour, and we are all glad when it's over.


  1. You are all so brave! Thank goodness for modern medical technology that makes things like this possible. I'm always amazed and impressed at your growing vocabulary and skill set because of this stupid cancer. Don't forget to add your bead for this bandage change! :0 And as always, remember that I love you and I'm cheering you on the whole way!

  2. Thank you for being so brave Jackson I am so proud of you I know that the bandage changes are not fun but keep being brave an when I have another baby you can help change my bandage deal?

  3. His site looks so good. This is the hardest thing for Skyler. He saw these pics and said "He's so brave too"

  4. It's sad to see what Jackson goes through, but I'm so glad you are documenting it for his sake. As he grows he'll forget-thankfully-but this photo tutorial will help him remember how much he, and you, went through. You are ALL so brave!


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