Tuesday has come and gone. And oh what a Tuesday it was.
Tuesday, of course, was the day I had my procedure to finally take care of my WPW Syndrome. SYNDROME!
And it was a long Tuesday coming. Back and forth with the doctor and the hospital and the insurance people to finally get THIS Tuesday. First my doctor wasn’t ON my insurance, then the hospital I was going to go to didn’t accept my insurance, then my insurance wanted more paperwork to prove that I should have the procedure, and then, finally, Tuesday.
Tuesday. Deepti and I met at a park near Macy’s and went to the hospital together. By this point, I wasn’t nervous. I had made the decision to be curious rather than nervous. It worked a little bit.
We get to admittance. I check in. They check my blood, four vials they take from me, FOUR VIALS, then another EKG. And then it’s up to Cardio.
We check in there, lots of checking in at a hospital. Joan, a gruff no nonsense wicked sense of humor loves her job nurse, yes, Virginia they do exist, gets me to put on the silly robe with the slit in the back. And socks with little rubber stuff on the feet. I hop into bed and Joan starts the questions.
Do you do this? Do you do that? How often do you do this? Why do you do that?
I answer them.
Deepti clarifies my answers. Deepti and Joan got a long.
And then I wait. I wait some more. Deepti calls my parents. We wait again. There’s a patient on the table…because it’s a special table…ok, really, it’s a special table in a special room, and he’s taking a while.
Finally. He’s done. Two hours after I was supposed to go in…he’s done and up and a few beds from me.
One of the doctors whose going to do the procedure comes in, introduces himself, talks me through the procedure and then asks me some questions: Do you do this? Do you do that? How often do you do this? Why do you do that?
Do Doctors read?
We find out that the procedure could last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. We tell Deepti to go see a movie. She’s not sure, she doesn’t want to wait at the hospital–and really, it makes sense, waiting there would be maddening.
Brian, another nurse, the sassy kind, and Paul, a nice guy, quiet, come to wheel me down, and Deepti follows. She mentions that she might go see Mamma Mia…Brian tells her not to, that it’s bad (Sorry ABBA fans.)
I say good bye to Deepti and then it’s into the room.
It’s a small room, with an even smaller room inside…which is a monitor room for the x-ray machine…or a DJ booth, either one. In the center is a narrow table with the flat disc above it, the x-ray machine itself, and surrounding the table are computers, monitors, etc.
I’m wiggled onto the narrow table and that’s when they start slapping on the patches…cold, cold patches, which will be hooked up to the monitor so they can…monitor my heart rate, blood pressure etc. Beep…Beep…Beep…
I got oxygen, some meds, and then…they shave me.
Well, they shave me after Brian convinces the little Coffee Klatch that was going on at the door…people chatting, catching up…to perhaps close the door. I appreciated that.
The catheters were going to go in on both sides of my groin muscle. Two on one side, three on the other. Two shots of meds later they started putting in the catheters. Which I could see. Up to my left was the tv monitor for the x-ray…and up they went to my heart.
Basically, the catheters were going to produce electrical signals in order to find out where the extra node was that was causing the problem.
(Just a quick reminder…we all of a node, Bundle of His (or Kent?) that controls the beating of the heart by sending out electrical impulses. WPW syndrome are for those of us that have an extra node, the electrical signal sometimes gets stuck in a loop between the nodes and produces a rapid heart rate…the solution, destroy the extra node.)
So the catheters were going to poke around in my heart trying to produce the tachycardia or rapid heart rate.
And you can feel it…it’s weird…generally you don’t have a LOT of control over your heart rate, but to have someone else control it…with a computer…the doctors were sitting on my right staring at a computer, poking a keyboard making my heart beat in strange rhythms…it’s just weird.
At this point the Black Eyed Peas song Don’t Funk With My Heart passed through my head.
I also found the experience intensely funny…could be the meds…but I was pretty conscious…and perhaps a little to chatty. But I was seriously trying hard not to laugh. Not just because of the song in my head, but this image of a doctor poking my heart with a stick trying to make it beat funny.
Which it finally did. He found the node, caused the tachycardia and then turned it off. More whispers from the doctors…and the whispers weren’t good. I knew they weren’t good…because they kept saying “this is really interesting…” No one wants to hear that…because that means your case is extraordinary. In this case, I want to be the most ordinary cat in the room.
And here’s where I learned a dose of irony…after MONTHS of getting this arranged, after YEARS of having this, here I am, on the table, plugged in, naked and shaved, and the Doctor says to me, “We aren’t going to do it.”
Here’s why. My extra bundle is about 3 mm from the Bundle of His, you know, the important one. The catheters they have are about 3 mm, and if they try to burn away Mr. Extra Bundle there’s a good chance they would burn the Bundle of His. Which would mean, I would be left without a means to regulate the beat of my heart.
In other words, I would need a pacemaker.
They decided at my youthful age, I didn’t really need a pacemaker, that my particular case wasn’t life threatening, that…well…it wasn’t worth it.
So, they took the catheters out. And if I didn’t know irony before…then I knew it again. Because on the way out, the catheters triggered an episode.
At least in the hospital they have a med that can stop it…and it’s a freaking rush through your body. But, yeah, it stops it right away.
Up to Cardio. Because now…I have to recover from the procedure…even if they didn’t actually do…anything. Because they went in through the femoral in my groin, I wasn’t allowed to sit up for a few hours, I had to lie flat on my back…or I would bleed.
They called Deepti, who didn’t go see a movie, and she got there as quickly as she could…and we hung out. And hung out…and hung out. There’s really not much to do when you’re lying flat on your back. With tiny little wounds in your groin. In the hospital.
So. That was the day. Lots of waiting. Lots of laughs. Lots of electrical impulses into my heart. And not much else. Back to where I was…except NOW, I have an inOPERABLE Syndrome!
FEEL FOR ME!!!!!
ps–yes. I kept the socks.