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Sunday, April 29, 2018

First PEP - Days 1, 2, 3

After having done the "Perfectly Messy Prefect" series and "Jog Journal" series, I have now gotten the opportunity to start a new series - on Post Exposure Prophylaxis.

Let's start with the good news. I put a central line in a patient (that's my first time after MBBS and the first time I was confidently doing it on my own).

This patient who's been admitted with Cryptococcal antigen showing 3+ in their CSF needed lots of amphotericin for two weeks. Putting amphotericin in a peripheral venous line is okay, but it can soon lead to thrombophlebitis and both patient and doctor will have a hard time managing it. So we decided that it must go through a central line.

And it was imperative that this happened in the new emergency department that was inaugurated the same day. Dr Ram was around and his guidance is better than the ultrasound guidance he gives.

I will put a better picture of the new ED in a future post


First thing we settled was whether the artery went lateral or medial to the vein. Of course it goes lateral in the femoral canal (NAVY). And nature will never let us have easy mnemonics that apply everywhere. That means artery should go medial to vein in neck. Yet I guessed that it went lateral. Anyhow we immediately confirmed with the USG that the common carotid went medial to internal jugular. The vein was there large and compressible just below the skin.

After pressing the vein some 21 times to get the point on the skin where I had to prick, I pricked a bit lateral to that point. Yet, thanks to ultrasound I could move a bit medial and get into the vein in one go. In went the guidewire, then dilator and then the catheter itself.

Having placed the catheter, I just had to put two sutures on the clips to hold it in place. I don't know what made me choose a round bodied cat-gut. Or I do know - it was the cheapest among the suture materials that were lying around. A round bodied needle never goes easily into the skin. And the way I hold a needle, I do not get enough pressure on the tip. No matter how many times I have tried to correct it, I hold the needle wrong every time.

And the holder slipped just enough for the needle to go through my glove and make a tiny cut on the distal phalanx of my left ring finger laterally. It wasn't deep at all. Maybe one layer of skin was cut out. The direction was tangential. But it left a cut big enough for everyone to see.

And I'm also fortunate to have good colleagues who spoke sense in to me and prevented me from neglecting the prick. I removed the glove and confirmed the prick. There was no blood or anything. Yet I put the finger under running water for more than 5 minutes. And straight I went to the counselling room to get my PEP regimen.

Tenofovir 300 + Lamivudine 300 0-0-1, Lopinavir/Ritonavir 200/50 2-0-2 it would be. 5 pills a day is a lot of pill burden for a person who hasn't had a paracetamol tablet in 5 years. But I was really curious about experiencing PEP.

And within 15 minutes of the prick, I had swallowed the first set of three tablets. There was no nausea or giddiness or anything for that matter. I also got my baseline investigations done. My CBC was perfect except for high eosinophils. I do suspect there are some worms inside me. Maybe I should get an albendazole also, anyhow I'm getting bombarded my antibiotic this month. Creatinine, SGOT, SGPT everything was okay.

I woke up to alarm next day. I didn't want to wait 16 hours before taking the second dose of LPV/r. I took it at 14 hours. I had kept some Bourbon biscuits last day because I knew I would not get breakfast that early. I even had a masala dosa at around 9 am. Didn't feel much of nausea. But my bowel was irritable. I think it was irritable much before all this began. From the day we attended that marriage at Saragur town. Anyhow the masala dosa kept me asleep throughout that morning.

I had kept another alarm for 6 pm Saturday. This one was for the TDF+3TC that I had at 26th hour after the first dose. And then the LPV/r at 8 pm. I don't know if it was gastritis or nausea, but I wasn't really feeling hungry and had only an apple to eat with these.

And then it was today. I woke up at 6 (yesterday's alarm memory?) and slept again. The 7:30 alarm went off and I was actually up when Swathi called me to make sure I woke up and took the tablet. I took the next two LPV/r and went for breakfast.

Right after breakfast I left for Mysuru. Did feel nauseated in the bus that took half an hour to start. Not sure how much of that can be attributed to reading on phone screen in a moving bus. Anyhow, once sleep crept in, there was no other feeling.

At Mysuru I went with a friend to this really nice place called "Khushi". It's a home converted into a hangout cafe. There I had ragi pancake, oats with almond milk, and peanut butter smoothie all without vomiting.

On the way back to bus stand, I dropped in at KR Hospital. Went to the medical ICU to see a patient we had referred here the previous day. Also went to the casualty OT and found it the same level of activity at 2 pm as it used to have 2 years ago - an intern or first year PG struggling to put a catheter in, the ortho intern proud of the slab he put, and patients with tubes running out of various orifices.

I came back to Saragur in a sunny bus ride and was really hungry. Quickly had my tablets and then a full plate of rice and sambar. The mango pickle these days in canteen is coming closer to real mango pickle from back home.

2 from the big one and one from the small one