Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Getting to the Heart of the Matter - Part II

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. ~Mark Twain

When last we met, I was dramatically relating how I had reached the point of need an angiogram to check for possible blockages in my heart.

Don't worry, everything works out in the end.

Interestingly, the heart cath people have a little different approach than the echo and nuclear folks. They're all very nice, but the cath folks are a little more solicitous, if you get my drift. I mean, you wouldn't be there if there wasn't the possibility of something meaningful being wrong, so they know you just might be a tad nervous.

To begin with, they give you a little cup full of pills that are supposed to calm you down. I'm not a fan of tranquilizers because, well, they make me act goofy, which goes against the august image I try to portray. Even though the Wife knows the august image is a bunch of hooey, I hate letting other people know that. However, I took the pills because, a) they made me, and b) I got a drink of water which I hadn't been able to have for several hours.

Then the nurse started putting little ink marks on my feet. I looked at her and said, "Please tell me you aren't marking them 'R" and 'L' ." She made a face at me, and said, "No. I'm marking them 'L' and 'R'." Actually, she explained, she was marking where she was easily able to detect a pulse. The marks were so that someone could check there later, if they happened to be having a problem locating a pulse.

Oh, swell.

However, everyone was cool. They were so cool, in fact, that they let me keep my MP3 player on the whole time. Not just in the prep area, mind you, but the whole time they were doing the cath, I was bopping to the sound of Dave Brubeck at Carnegie Hall. At least, I was bopping whenever I wasn't dozing. In addition to the pills, they slipped a little something into the ol' IV bag that was very relaxing. Kind of a pity they didn't have anything for the Wife.

At any rate, now we come to the happy ending, because they didn't find any blockages. They told me this while I was in the cath room, but they told me again when I was a little more out of my stupor, in the presence of the Wife, so I'm p/>
My, how times change. The dressing they used had some miracle glue on it that sealed things up. I had to lay on the bed for a while (how long I'm not sure, because I was still dozing and grooving to Dave Brubeck). After that, I got wheeled into another room where I was set down in a lounge chair and handed a basket of goodies and some soft drinks. After about an hour, I was invited to get my butt out of there before I ate everything they had. Well, no, they weren't that way about it, but they were quick about getting me out of there.

All in all, I'd say we were out of there within four or five hours, which includes the original sitting around in the waiting room. Not too bad.

So, while I'll have to go see my original physician and figure out what's next (which I figure is going to have something to do with losing weight and doing some actual exercise), I'm feeling pretty good right about now. Except for one thing.

The only kicker about the heart cath is that they want you to do as little as possible for two days after the procedure. It's that artery business, you know. If that sucker springs a leak, it's not a matter of sticking a band aid on. It's "apply a lot of pressure while someone dials 911." That is not an option that I would care for, and it's one that the Wife absolutely wants no part of. Therefore, I have been watched carefully by both the Wife and the Son for the last two days. At one point, the Wife didn't want me carrying by water jug into the next room.

I have a small roll-around table on which the laptop that I'm using now rests. When I use it, I turn it toward the TV set, because, well, you can't type all the time. I am not allowed to roll the table the four feet it takes to put it in that position, until tomorrow at the earliest. That sort of thing drives me crazy.

It's not that I don't appreciate that my family actually cares whether I start bleeding all over the carpet or keel over from some sort of heart calamity. I really do; it's nice to know that everyone cares. But, I am a lousy patient. I admit it. I don't cotton to not being at 100% (or as close to it as an overweight, 59.9 year-old person is going to be), and I want to get on with things.

Heck, I'm even ready to go back to work. Well, sort of. See, we have Tuesday off for Veteran's Day, so I took Monday as a vacation day.

Hey, if I'm going to be feeling better, I'm entitled to actually enjoy a day off, rather than spend it worrying about my heart.
retty sure that really was what the cardiologist said. Which brings me around to why I am so bored at the moment.

You see, if you are unfamiliar with a heart catheterization, what they do is shoot some die into an artery in your leg. Punching holes in arteries is not a recommended practice unless it is done by a doctor, which, fortunately it was. But, even then, certain precautions have to be maintained. Back when Dad had his, he had to lie quite still for several hours with a heavy bag draped over the dressing on his leg. I fully expected to do the same.

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