A New Heart...A New Life - Part 2

On the third day after the thing they liked to call a stroke, but I was still calling "my left side refusing to cooperate", the doctor told me about the hole in my heart.  He said that, if I didn't have it fixed, that my chances of having another stroke were 80-90%, but with the little piece of nickle patching the hole, my chances went down to less than 10%.  So, of course, I agreed and he planned the surgery for December 15, 2016. 

     Right before the surgery, the doctor told me that, because of the fact that I only have one kidney (a very old story that will be told another day), that he would be "flying blind" with only a heart sonogram to guide him to the correct part of my heart. ( A little explanation, usually, the doctor can put a dye into the IV that sort of acts as a little series of arrows, pointing in the right direction.) So, with that knowledge stuck somewhere in my brain, they loaded me on to this little board that holds you completely still while the doctor puts a thin piece of wire through your femoral artery and up into your heart. As I am laying there, awaiting my voyage into the best sleep EVER, he tells me, "I forgot to mention the fact that I cannot have you completely under anesthetic for the procedure. Since I have no use of the dye, you have to be awake to tell me if something doesn't feel right." How would I know?  What is this man doing to me?  He gave me a small amount of Ativan, to "take the edge off".  Let me say this right now - there was no pain that I have ever felt as much as having this man cut my femoral artery, snake up into my body, and PLAY in my heart!  He told me later that he was very proud of me, because I did not scream, and he only saw a couple of tears roll down my cheek. I wanted to tell him that those were tears of frustration that I could not put HIM on the table and use that snakey thingy on him!

     As I am laying on the table, immobilized, he looks at the monitor and says "uh, oh".  So, me being the lady I am, I looked up at him and said, "What the FUCK is 'uh,oh'? He explained in a pretty hysterical voice (I thought, given his bravado earlier about being "the best" cardiologist on the Central Coast.) "Well, the hole is bigger than I thought, and the left side of your heart is smaller than I thought.  If this doesn't work, then I have 10 minutes to get you into the surgical suite and open you up.  Just hold on....there is going to be a little prick when I let it go." A LITTLE PRICK????  That is what I thought that he was being, but I held my tongue as I felt what it must feel like to be shot in the heart with a high voltage of electricity.  However, as soon as it passed, I noticed that all of the men in the room (there were about 20 of them, and no women.) started fist bumping and cheering like their team had won the Super Bowl.  So, I guessed that it fit and he wasn't going to have to make me into his science experiment.  His last words to me before they wheeled me back to my room were, "You are good to go now.  If you hadn't had the stroke, I would send you home in a couple of hours.  As it is, we will send you to rehab tomorrow." So, I thought it was all over.  Now, I could start getting back to walking and feeding myself.  Or, so I thought...there was a little bump in the road waiting about two hours away.


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