I was talking with a friend of mine who lives in Idaho today and she told me her cat had chewed through her IV line and spilled chemo all over her bed. When she woke, she hopped up, got herself and the cat in the shower and put the sheets in a biohazard bag to be thrown away at the clinic. Then she drove herself to the clinic, where they had to fix her up using flashlights due to a power outage.
She reminded me of some of the things that have happened to our patients with outpatient chemotherapy. We regularly hook people up with bags of chemo and a small portable pump for 24 hour treatments and I've had a patient grind her line in the coffee grinder before she got her eyes open in the morning, many animal chew stories, and a few what-were-you-thinking moments.
One of my favorites was a patient who had her CVL* placed in the morning and was hooked up for her first chemotherapy. Being from out of state, she wasn't really prepared for the weather so decided to go to the department store on the way back to her hotel and get some warmer clothing.
While trying on a pair of pants she stepped on the IV line, tripped, and pulled the CVL out, sutures and all. According to her husband blood and chemo were slung hither and yon all over the changing room and all of the store attendants were afraid to enter so he went in, pulled up her pants and brought her back to us, still bleeding.
The entire time she was being cleaned up, new line put in, and chemo hooked back up she kept exclaiming, " These aren't my pants. I didn't pay for these, they aren't mine. Oh my lord, I'm a shoplifter now. These aren't my pants."
As soon as we released her she grabbed her husband, saying, "We have to get back to the store, I stole these pants. What they must think of me!"
*Central Venous Line - a large bore IV place in a large vein for use with very caustic drugs, long term treatments and people who have no other way to get access due to poor veins for some reason or other.