The Strawbelly Express, with Pictures!

When I lived in Japan, I once saw a little red pickup truck, painted a bright strawberry red. It had alloy wheels (or as we used to say, “mag” wheels), oversized tires and wooden slats on either side of the pickup bed to give it a bit of a stylized rural effect. Written in gold-leaf script along the side were the words, “Strawbelly Express.” The Japanese language does not distinguish between L and R so the mistake in spelling is understandable.

When I had the catheter inserted into my belly back in July to facilitate peritoneal dialysis, I immediately recalled that pickup truck with the memorable name. Except that I am now the “Strawbelly” (I don’t know whether my speed warrants the term “Express,” however).

It’s rather amazing to think that the doctors who performed the insertion essentially used a medical version of an auger to drill a hole into my belly and then tunnel through to create an exit site for the catheter. All while I was awake, mind you, as they had me push out my belly as part of the procedure. It didn’t hurt while it was happening, thanks to a local anaesthetic, but of course, after a few hours and for the next several days, it was not exactly comfortable. By now, though, I’m hardly aware of it, and it can stay comfortably tucked out of the way, except when I do dialysis, of course.

How about those pictures though…

The exit site is all nicely dressed up for polite company. The piece of tape below helps to keep any tugging and subsequent bleeding from occurring.

The exit site is all nicely dressed up for polite company. The piece of tape below helps to keep any tugging and subsequent bleeding from occurring.

The exit site undressed. Note the square imprint from a day of wearing the dressing. Except when I have a shower (no baths permitted) it's always covered up.

The exit site undressed. Note the square imprint from a day of wearing the dressing. Except when I have a shower (no baths permitted) it’s always covered up.

The world's biggest pharmacy delivery! Every month, I get a pallet full of supplies, mostly of the dextrose solution that is pumped into my peritoneal cavity.

The world’s biggest pharmacy delivery! Every month, I get a pallet full of supplies, mostly of the dextrose solution that is pumped into my peritoneal cavity.

And here is the machine that does the work, filling and draining the fluid from my belly while I sleep (theoretically -- the sleep, that is. It does work. I just don't always sleep that well). Notice the 5-litre bag on top of the machine. There is another bag underneath.

And here is the machine that does the work, filling and draining the fluid from my belly while I sleep (theoretically — the sleep, that is. It does work. I just don’t always sleep that well). Notice the 5-litre bag on top of the machine. There is another bag underneath.

And this is the tool used to insert the catheter...not! Just a random auger for your viewing pleasure.

And this is the tool used to insert the catheter…not! Just a random auger for your viewing pleasure.

 

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