Pharyngula

A fistful of stents

Here’s my status right now, for those who have been wondering.

First of all, I’m not dead yet. Let’s get that out of the way.

Yesterday morning was the big event here in hospital-land: I was to get an angiogram, this procedure where they thread wires up your femoral artery to you heart and start poking around with dyes and things to figure out what’s going on. You’re conscious, mostly, through the procedure, so thought I’d live-blog it, if I could, but it turns out they don’t want you monkeying around with anything while the doctors are examining you from the inside out, and there were going to be occasional sprays of x-rays, and I was going to be on some mind-altering drugs. So I resolved to use my keen scientific mind to observe and report back later on what it was like.

They wheeled me in and a nice nurse named Phil leaned over me and told me he was going to put some drugs in my IV that would make me drowsy, which was silly — it was 8am, I was wide awake — but he gave them to me anyway. Then someone else appeared on my right side and shaved my pubic hair. Not everything — he left me a short wide rectangular patch for a landing strip that looked like Hitler’s mustache…and then I noticed that Hitler had a very large nose and two big pink hairy eyeballs, and that kept me amused for about 10 minutes. I think that was my last lucid thought. (Well, it seemed lucid at the time.)

The Jawas came in. They might have been doctors, but they were all covered in robes and hoods and speaking animatedly in some language that wasn’t Englisth — it was very buzzy and abrupt. They didn’t talk to me anyway, but sometimes told Phil things that he would translate for me. They descended on my right thigh and proceeded to build an airlock so they could crawl inside and party on my left ventricle. I tried to tell them that the Left Ventricle was not some trendy nightclub — it’s just a storage unit where I keep my Jesus-shaped hole — but I think what came out of my mouth was a kind of mumbly moan in Ewok, and everone knows Jawas don’t understand Ewok.

And giant cameras just glided by majestically on motorized trackways above my head.

It hurt quite a bit, in a very remote, distracted, distant way, especially then the anaconda in my leg writhed awkwardly, but I was mostly unperturbed. I actually fell asleep a few times.

Then Phil’s giant head floated into view — I think it was mounted on one of the camera tracks—and he announced, “Good news! No cabbage for you!”, which was very cheering, since I don’t particularly care for cabbage. And then the Jawas stomped on my heart for another hour or so. While I napped.

Later, after the cotton swabbing drained out of my cranium, I realized it was very good news. The threat hanging over me was an angiogram followed by chest-cracking and open heart surgery and prolonged pain, but the clever doctors had looked me over and decided they could patch me up with set of stents instead of that elaborate bypass surgery. Yay, doctors! It’s the difference between 8 weeks of ouchy hurty messy convalescence and less than two weeks of taking it easy.

The last fun bit was when they had to strip the hoses from my thigh, which involved a quick yank and then a doctor with very large strong hands holding my naked thigh in a death grip for half an hour. I tell you, that’s a very awkward situation for small talk.

So, I might be getting out today. They’re doing more tests, checking out my kidneys (which had a lot of extra work to do clearing out the contrast dye). Right now, my life consists of lying abed while a pretty nurse comes by every hour and says, “I need to see your groin!”, whips off my skimpy robe, and coos about how good it looks. I think she’s probably talking about my bloody wound, not anything else (and I hope it’s not because she’s a fan of Adolf Hitler caricatures!)

But soon enough I’ll be off to resting at home, beginning the cardio therapy the doctor will no doubt be putting me on, and back to classes and writing. Expect blogging to be on the light side, though, while I catch up on rest and other pressing projects that were interrupted by this surprise event.