Monday, March 22, 2010


This winter Ellie started swimming lessons at our local YMCA.

How, you might ask, is the same girl that didn't take baths is now swimming at the Y?

The answer lies somewhere in the land of technology, calculated risk and a healthy dose of normalcy.

The technological side came with our fine-tuning of a way to keep Ellie's central line cap and dressing dry even in a pool. We started experimenting last summer in Abby's sister's pool and had some miserable failures but since we have gotten much better and have a waterproof system that works very well.

It starts with a piece of Press n' Seal from the supermarket. We wrap that around her cap and press it to seal it. Water against the cap is the big risk for infections and s it does sealing food in your fridge.

Once the cap is sealed, we take a piece of tegaderm, a very sticky, waterproof film that comes from the medical supply company and cover her whole line, dressing and cap under a canopy of plastic.

Voila, we are waterproof!

We think that the biggest thing is that now Ellie's chest is finally big enough to fit a sheet of tegaderm onto her chest without any folds. Folds are bad and let water in. That isn't to say that the solution is fool-proof and we are quick to come home and change her dressing and cap before her next IV infusion but it reduces the risk and lets us get her doing things that other almost-four-year-old kids do.

It was time get her wet and this does the trick nicely even if Abby and I both keep personal 72 hour clocks after she gets wet to watch for central line infections.

We can now focus on getting her to let go of the pool wall by summer.


Ben April said...

Ah the power of teg'! The cool part is removing a patch of this stuff is nothing like pulling off a band-aid. 3M makes it and they use the same trick that use to make the sticky hooks that pull off the wall without damaging anything. You pull sideways and the adhesive breaks down.

Looks like Ellie is enjoying it!

nurse 8 said...

yay! way to be creative problem-solvers! I've been following your blog for quite some time now, and I'm so happy to see Ellie smiling and doing normal kid stuff. good for you all! keeping you in my thoughts :)

K8 from CT said...

How awesome! I continue to be in awe. I am doing swimming lessons with G and have a hard time managing getting him into a swimsuit by, you shut me up! Go swimmer girl, go! That's fantastic.

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Sarah Thomas, Nora's mom said...

Nora loved seeing Ellie in her bathing suit and said "I want to meet her one day"!
I like how Ellie is pointing her toe striking a ballet pose in the pics, too cute.
So happy for you all enjoying a healthy dose of normalcy. :)

Lori said...

WOW!!! So excited for her! Good job mom and dad!

Anonymous said...

wow! So tegaderm keeps the dressing dry? who knew! Ive been going to much much more extreme lengths. Hmmmmmm

~Renee(Marissa's mom)

Allison said...

If you are paying out of pocket for the Tegaderm, I have something I'd like to send you. Because the top layer does not have to be sterile, we have been using "Tegaderm Roll". It comes in a roll 4" wide and 11 yards long. I have a few extra rolls right now, if you want one, e-mail me your addy and I'll get it in the mail.