Yesterday, around 1 PM.
I watched my feet wriggle around under the blankets, making little shapes out of the sheet over top of them. My back was starting to hurt just a bit from 4 or 5 hours of lying on this hard bed, but nothing that would make me complain, really. The nurse was talking but I wasn’t really listening. One leg clamped to the bed, the other free, I was restricted somewhat in what movements I could make, and what shapes I could coax out of the sheet. I was numb all over, but not from the procedure, really.
The procedure itself was pretty simple; the prep takes longer than the event itself. First they make you get into the hospital gown and lie on the bed and a nurse comes over and shaves the area about to be toyed with. A bunch of questions are asked, and then you wait. And wait and wait. Finally a nurse comes over with 8 pills and a small cup of water to drink them with. It’s apparently 800mg of some blood thinner drug; it’s so you don’t clot. You get an IV device put in but not hooked up to anything, and some blood taken. Then you wait some more.
Finally they wheel you into the room. The only part of the actual procedure that hurts is when they jab your inner thigh with the local anaesthetic. After that it’s just a series of warm sensations as they pump dye through your body and look at you’re blood vessels on the xray. You’re awake for the whole thing, but unfortunately the monitors are out of your sightline, so you don’t get to see it. The best part is when they put in a different dye for your heart itself; the nurse warned me “you will feel a bit warm for a couple of seconds here, then it will go away”. What an understatement. For about 2 seconds my whole body felt about 30 degrees hotter, from the inside! It was a very groovy feeling; I told the nurse they could market this rush on the street! That part alone kinda made the whole procedure a bit interesting. We look for small victories when we’re in a losing war I guess 😉 .
Afterwards they wheel you out of the operating/xray room back to that waiting room, and a nurse comes over and clamps your leg to the bed. They use a large c-clamp, and basically they want to keep pressure on the femoral artery so you don’t bleed out; it is a major artery and they did just put a tube in it, leaving a small hole… This was really the most unpleasant part of the whole procedure; it doesn’t hurt, but it’s annoying as all get out. After 30 minutes they come and take the clamp off, but you’re not allowed to move that leg or lift your head for 2 more hours…keep strain off the wound… Being someone who hates being completely immobile for periods of time, this created alot of stress for me. Then they tell you to go home and keep chill for a couple days.
The stress was only increased by the results of the test, which were told to me basically 2 minutes after I was wheeled out of the procedure room. I have four major blockages, one of which is 100% blocked. Which means I will be going for open heart surgery sometime in the next couple of months, to get at least 3 bypassed, possibly all 4. The good news is that if there’s one organ which our medical system has had practice fixing, it’s the heart. But still…I’m 40, mostly healthy, and have alot going on…quadruple bypasses happen to old guys not me! I can’t take 2 months off work! Sitting around doing nothing, being bored and punchy…I get bored and punchy after a long weekend! Which is why I was a bit numb and not really listening to the nurse yesterday, around 1 PM.
Open heart surgery…wow…