Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Friday was to be a fairly easy day appointment wise because I ran all over yesterday to make it that way. The only test I had for this day was the Right Heart Catherization. This is were they thread a wire through my vein to my heart to measure the pressures there and test its strength. I was only having to have the right side tested, so this should be easy. The only part of this test that had me nervous was the sedative as I have never been sedated for anything. I have no idea how I’ll react, and since I’m allergic to just about everything short of water, I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. Plus I had been warned it would require anywhere from 4 to 8 hours of recovery time. In case you havn’t noticed from reading here, I don’t do lie around and wait well.

Since my 24 hour test had been such a fail yesterday I was told I could check in at the hospital at 7 am, which to me screamed GO HOME 2 HOURS EARLIER, so we were hot on that and arrived at the admitting room at 7am! It was colder than a refrigerator in there. They were reconstructing the area and I don’t think there were any walls at all behind that plastic. From admitting (Do you have your 250 deductible? Oh lady trust me, that’s covered, I had a 3000 prescription arrive at my door two days ago!), we headed up to the cardiac unit for the test. From the fridge to the frying pan. It was like a 40 degree temp jump on the elevator ride up. Mind you this whole time I’m carrying this green bag, the type you can get at most stores this day to bring home your groceries and be all eco-friendly, in it I’m packing my wallet, nebulizer and meds, and a gallon jug of urine. I’ll give a second to let that sink in.


So at some point I need to drop this at a lab. I have the grand idea I’ll try to talk the nurse I get into it. Nothing says How are you today like asking someone to walk around carrying a jug of your urine. At least I sealed it up in a plastic bag, sheesh!

We check into the waiting area and wait to get called back into the “holding area”. My nurse comes to get me, and he’s very formal. Frankly he’s a little bitch and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to try really hard not the eat him alive. He turns me into the bathroom and gives me the gown speech and the “how to properly lock the door” speech, and today I don’t bother to hurry him along. I learned my lesson yesterday; I just tune him out instead.

I’m into a bed before 8am. Doctors start to pour by and I’m just not paying much attention. All the while my nurse, Brad, is hooking me up to heart monitors, blood pressure cuffs, and his sidekick gets the job of handing off the “bag”. Once she comes back she gets to hook up my regular IV, for fluids and the sedative. At this point one doctor decides they are going to try to get this done through an arm vein and not my neck. This makes me happy, he also tells me it’s exactly the same procedure as when they set my port lines for the IV’s I normally have. So I question the sedative and he says I shouldn’t need it! YEAH! This means I get to go home as soon as they are done!

Brad and I are yakking about their unit goals and teasing around, he’s really a nice guy. He prepped my neck for an IV with lidocane just in case, this is important later. Totally gay, but really sweet and not the complete bitch I thought he was going to be.

Now, Brad, gets to set the IV into a larger vein for them to switch out for a catheter in the procedure room. He nails it no problem in the big vein in my elbow of my right arm. (Keep notes on this folks, you’ll loose track soon.) He’s flushing it with fluid and can’t get the syringe unscrewed, and I can’t help him because he’s holding down my good arm. While we wait for the unit head to come over to help him, he explains that he doesn’t have any grip in that hand from surgery that he had to have after saving a patients life holding off an aterial bleed for 45 minutes, resulting in nerve damage in his wrist. Suddenly I’m pretty happy to have him as my nurse. This also explains his tick. He does this hand wave, finger flex, wrist twirl that I really thought was just his tick, turns out it’s because his hand is numb.

Now we wait. I had to wait for someone else to be done before they can start me, so they go get Bill, and I send him off for breakfast and to chill for a while, but let him know we won’t have to be there as long, YEAH!

Another nurse comes to get me at about 9 and we walk back to the procedure room. They lay me out on the slab and ask me if I’d like any happy juice and I decline, the IV is in dude, the worst is over………

In come the two wanna be doctors who are going to do the procdure. They look like they are about 12 and 13. I’m good with that, the hard stuff is done, all the have to do is follow the lines. So they switch out the IV for a catheter, which is not a job done without pain, but it’s manageable. In goes a wire guide. I can feel it go through my shoulder and I tell them that, and they say, “You shouldn’t be able to feel that!?”, umm sorry… I can? I tell them where the end currently is, and they both get rather quite and say, um, wow, she shouldn’t be able to tell that. Again, sorry, but I can. And Oh, SHE isn’t sedated, and SHE can HEAR YOU. They root around in there for a few minutes and conclude that the vein is occluded and they need to set another IV.

In comes supervising doctor, because tweedle dee and dum aren’t sure how to proceed. Another vein, into the neck…. One of the two is holding pressure on my arm where they took out the catheter, and saying to the others, Um, she’s still bleeding, A-Lot.


And, you don’t have to whisper I can feel the blood.

So he tries small talk instead. I tell them not to worry they are doing fine, I’m fine, go ahead and try for another. Super doctor thinks they should try a vein in that same arm and use ultrasound to be sure it’s not occluded.

One of them drew the short straw and trys to set another IV, while the other one holds pressure on my arm that’s still gushing blood. There is a lot of, right there, no little more, no back out, forward, to the left, right there, no too far. Then the debate is on as to how to hold the IV in place, as it’s barely in the vein, and sterilize the area, while one holds the IV. Turns out they can’t do it, and they lose that spot too. So the other one trys. About 2” below where the first one had, thinking the problem was that the IV needle was too short for the area of my arm that they were trying to access. I suggest a longer needle while they are cleaning up and getting ready to start again. You know, mostly to remind them NOT SEDATED!

That one? Fail. He rooted around and came up with what appeared to be a good stick, but by the time they sterilized everything, it was occluded. More consult, what to do, where to go now....

Now super Doctor says switch to the other arm, and we’ll have a nurse set the IV by ultrasound. Best damn idea all day. Plus he swung by my head to offer happy juice again. I decline again. I’m no martyr, I am just really freaked about the sedative and would rather deal with the pain. Which really isn’t all that bad at the time. I mean I didn’t cry at all. After having someone try, and fail, to shove a catheter up your nose, this is a freakin’ cakewalk. Super nurse comes in, nails the IV and we FINALLY get a good stick that isn’t in a vein that’s shot.

It takes appox. 15 minutes to get the data they needed. I’m making them a little nervous by telling them where the wire/balloon is the whole time. They blocked the screen thinking I was looking, until the nurse told them my eye were closed anyway. Haha. Poor guys. I bet they hope all their future patients are nicely sedated. I did joke with them at one point that they probably wished I had been sedated.

My nurse helps me sit up and the room takes a spin around me. Lying flat on my back on a hard table for 2 hours had done in my vertigo, not to mention I had no feeling in my legs or feet. We head back to the “holding” area and plunk me in a bed. Looks like I get to rest for a while after all. My neck is itching like bitch, my stomach is lurchy,, and my head is loopy. One of the nurses grabs me a jello like product in a color that isn’t anything close to orange and I eat that. That settles the tummy and will eventually help the head. They let me get dressed, pull out the fluid IV, cut my tags, and let me free! Well, actually Willy Wong (no shit I can’t make that crap up) gets the honor of wheeling me out. Good thing I was sitting on the elevator!

On the drive home I find I have 6 bruises from IV attempts or blood draws, my neck is swollen and itchy from the lidocane (I’m allergic, goody!), my torso is broke out in a rash (I’m allergic to the contrast dye too!!), and the two spots where Dee and Dum tried to put in my IV are already black. Like BLACK BLACK, and the size of a golf ball.

I didn’t take a picture of those two but they look like eyeballs. Black ones. The really weird part is this bruise is it will “take” a pattern. While I was sleeping the bruise took on the pattern of the wrinkles of my pillowcase.