Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bypass Part 4 - "Um, hi Mom!"

So, as the Xanax is kicking in, it suddenly hits me. It is now Easter morning. I’m expected at Mom & Dad’s for Easter Dinner – how do I get out of this without freaking all of North Walpole NH? Crap.

After I hemmed and hawed for a couple of hours, a very nice nurse let me borrow her cellphone around 9:30am to call Mom so I could reverse-RSVP for dinner. As I mentioned previously, between the morphine, the Xanax and whatever else they’d pushed, I was slightly less than lucid. As I recall, Mom was quite calm when I told her I wouldn’t be up for dinner as I was currently in an ER with chest pain, soon to be transported to yet another hospital for an angiogram. Too calm, in fact. I was to learn later that she thought I was “really, really chatty.” I probably couldn’t hear her get worried because I was too busy talking.

I also blame the drugs for my next brilliant idea.

It was now around 10:00am, and I had been told the ambulance to transport me to St. Francis would be there around noon-ish. At which point I came up with a plan stunning in its genius, which I proceeded to relate to the nurse: why don’t I just nip back to my house in the car, pick up some pajamas, etc. and then take a cab back to the hospital? Everyone’s happy, no muss, no fuss, and my car is safe & sound in my driveway. After all, I was no longer in pain, my vitals all looked good and I felt surprisingly happy & capable. Charitably, not one of the ER staff actually laughed in my face, although a couple of them looked suspiciously like they were stifling a chortle or two.

Finally, my chariot arrived. It was time for me to reenact every patient-in-an-ambulance scene I’d ever seen on television. The two ambulance guys transfer me onto their gurney, I’m propped up like I’m on a chaise lounge, still with the heart monitor and IV attached, and rolled through the ER lobby like a freakin’ Pride float. All I was missing was half-naked dancing boys and disco music. Then, into the back of the ambulance, facing out the back window while one of the EMTs sat in the back with me, watching the heart monitor on a laptop. I felt like I should hold my breath or something just to give him something to do. I really was feeling better – no pain, no shortness of breath, and the morphine was wearing off so I knew it wasn’t the drugs talking.

The next time you’re on the highway behind an ambulance, make sure to smile & wave, or make a face, or something. All I saw during the whole trip into Hartford were people craning to see through the back window, I guess hoping for gore or something. Sorry to have disappointed y’all.

So, I get to Hartford, arrive at the hospital, they check me in blah blah blah. It’s now 1pm Sunday, and I’m told that the angiogram is scheduled for 8am on Monday. Which means I have to be NPO (no eating) after midnight. Not a problem.

Until the next morning when I’m told the angio has been rescheduled for 11am. Then it gets pushed to 2pm. Then 5pm. Finally some nurse takes pity on me and gets me some clear broth and Jello late that morning. Broth has never tasted so good.

So the hour rolls around, and I get rolled into the cardiac cath lab. Now, for angio, you’re not out, you’re given “twilight” anesthesia – you’re conscious, but not so much as you’d notice it. I remember being there, I remember looking at the monitor and seeing my arteries, I remember my ears getting really warm when they injected the dye. Other than that, it’s a blur. No pain, not really any discomfort, although I could vaguely feel the catheter in my chest, which is just weird, even if you’re prepared for it.

The results? Hoo-boy.

Coming Up: Short-Term Memory – a User’s Guide

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