By the time we got to the hospital my nervousness had faded to just wanting to get the whole ball rolling and get it over with.
Do you think this is enough armbands??
Finally they called me in for the prep. The nurse was great. She popped an 18 gauge into my hand without any problem. It hurt a bit, but only needing one stick was very nice. Then I went for my perfusion scan. I’ve been very happy with the care I’ve gotten from the staff at Sunrise Hospital.
Then back to the pre-op to await the cath lab. The anesthesiologist visited me and told him how I have ALWAYS gotten sick and vomited the next 12 hours with anesthesia. He was a great guy and said he’d do his best to keep me from getting sick. I had my doubts, but also my hopes. How great would it be to not be vomiting as soon as I woke up!
Dr.Rothman came in and gave us all a big hug. He’s such a fantastic guy and he genuinely seemed happy to see us. He had been discussing my case at a conference the night before. He feels like the data he collected from this angiogram with me will establish a sort of guideline for interventions with people with fibrosing mediastinitis. He said the technique he uses is not new, but the application for my disease is new. “There’s not many of you,” he told me. Twenty physicians at this conference had never heard of my disease or interventions for it. There is very little data and everything is sort of an experiment. He said that my willingness will help other FM patients who would not otherwise be helped. How could I refuse? He has given me 10 productive years with his skills AND I would be helping others with this disease. He’s so modest. He said that he is used to doing right heart caths to get to the pulmonary artery because he has done so many procedures on babies while most adult interventionalists are used to doing left heart caths for coronary artery disease. I never really understood why most cardiologists did not want to take on my case. Even getting the artery open a little more keeps the right heart from overworking, which was the main cause of my fatigue, he believes. It also helps me to not develop pulmonary hypertension. I have great pressure readings and clean coronary arteries, which is a huge plus. All in all, I’m going to be around for a loooooooooong time.
I woke up from the anesthesia and immediately noticed that I wasn’t vomiting or even nauseated. I was, however, pretty cold! I remembered I had to keep my right leg straight. Someone had put me on a lovely fracture pan and I wondered how they knew I had to go to the bathroom. Later, Monica told me I had asked for it, but did not have any recollection. I kept asking Monica the same questions over and over for a while until I finally got my bearings.
Before the angioplasty the opening of my artery was 8mm, but a far cry from my last angioplasty which started out as 2.5mm. Today Dr. Rothman expanded my stents to 11.5mm with a 12mm balloon. He said the danger of rupturing an artery from the balloon is very slight because my artery has scar tissue built up around it where as a ‘virgin’ artery might rupture more readily. The material he squeezes away basically dies, but is not free floating so it won’t cause a thrombus. One thing he did say was that if my chest pain continues I should consider that my lung itself may have scar tissue and will probably have to have a pulmonary function test. The good news is that I won’t have to have an angiogram for probably another five years.
I counted every minute of the 6 hours I had to lie in bed. My nurse, Imelda, was excellent. Couldn’t get anything past her. She took wonderful care of me. Finally at 8:15p she let me get up, ever so carefully then laughed at me. “Why are you walking like a duck?”
“A duck?” I said. “Because you have bulky dressing around my groin and the tape is stuck to my pubes.” That got a chuckle out of the rest of the staff.
We got back to the hotel at 9:30pm where I am trying very hard to be a compliant patient and keep my leg straight. Monica went back to Bahama Breeze and got me some baby back ribs and they were delicious. I never thought I ‘d be back at the hotel, eating ribs tonight.
Thanks for all the kind notes and phone calls! I’ll see you soon!