Monday, August 9, 2010

#247: A Close Shave...

They installed the IVC filter in me today. Not as bad as I feared. They shaved my groin, (no photos, please) and shot me with lidocaine, then put a big needle in me and stuck the wire through. It snaked up through to a spot just past my renal vein and the doc popped the filter into place. The procedure was over in about ten minutes, and I got to watch on the fluoroscope (not unlike the one these handsome German engineers are posing around) while they did it. That's a live X-ray image machine. I watched my innards live on TV! It was pretty cool. Jake the nurse chatted with me during the procedure and it was over before I knew it.

Fluoroscopy image
c/o Northwestern Radiology
The time consuming parts were before and after. We arrived at 6:30AM for our 7:00 appointment. They drew blood. Then we waited till 10:00 for the lab to decide if my blood was OK to do the procedure. After it was over at around 10:15, they rolled me down to recovery where we waited until noon to make sure I didn't spring a leak. Easy as pie.

I've never been awake in the recovery room before. Usually I'm gorked out of my mind and judging from my reputation, I'm hysterically funny in that state. Today I was wide awake and was struck by the surreal nature of the conversations. To my right was a woman recovering from an angioplasty. Not too groggy there. Two or three stalls to my right, a woman kept saying, "Dad. Daddy. Are you ready to wake up?" It got to be eerie after a few minutes. Then they brought a young boy into the stall to my left. He had just come out of surgery and he was having full blown hallucinations -- terrors, actually. He was sure that his family had abandoned him and that he was surrounded by strangers who wanted to kill him. Complete panic mode. When his mother finally came in, he didn't recognize her and they both freaked out. It was a very disturbing scene. The good news is, the kid is not going to remember any of it. On the other hand, mom may be in therapy for years.

It occurs to me that a lot of people would have considered this a pretty eventful morning. Heck, getting your bikini line shaved by a guy named "Jake" should be memorable, all by itself. But to me, it felt like just another day at the office. Nobody died. Nobody discovered any life threatening mystery lumps inside me. All in all, an ordinary day.

Well, except for the shave. That's really going to itch in a couple of days. My sister says to keep the corn starch powder handy.



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