Saturday, July 30, 2011

Meat and Potatoes

We walked (wellllll, you got me - Jason walked and I glided along in front of him in my handy dandy wheelchair). Ha! Nothin' like starting a blog out with a lie. I promise to keep all tall tales to a minimum from this point forward. Anyways, we went from the third floor of our swanky motel across a walkway and into the third floor of the North Campus of the hospital.

Forgive me for lack of details as this doc is only serving a few patients, BUT he is serving them well. This guy cares y'all! CARES I tell ya! And why do I know this? He had me on the table for just over 3 hours. 3 HOURS I said, but let me get back to the beginning. Okay? Okay! After finishing my last blog entry I visited the potty and was whisked away to LIBERATION Land, we'll call it.

Our swanky hotel only got swankier as we found our way to the hospital. I wore my America's Next Top Model "T" and black capri sweats. And Jason had on his torn Carhartt jeans and faded out maroon company issued polo. A bleach spill on the front – no biggie – today was to be about comfort. Out of place much? Yeh. I felt like I was lost in the White House. Marble d├ęcor, regal executive blue and gold carpeting – nice place, we covered that already tho, eh?

On with it then. We asked directions at an info desk just once. Then we were greeted immediately at Interventional Radiology, gave some insurance info and waited all of maybe 5 minutes before nurse Jim came to get me. Can I get a, "Yeehaw!" y'all? Things was going good. No time for a before video. Oh well. These peeps were all business. I'm cool with that. Very cool! Not cold tho – I DO NOT NEED A WARM BLANKET – thank you very much.

Huh? I tend to shiver or shake or spasm uncontrollably when nervous. And everyone and their brother wanted to bring me a warm blanket. Nice but HEAT WILL KILL ME! Anyways, during this prep time I undress and 'gown up' as I've come to call it. Again with the stretching of the truth. Jason undressed and gowned me. HE IS THE MAN! Jealous ladies? It's okay. You should be. Hehehehehe. I LOVE YOU, BABY!

Carry on nurse Jim. Commence with the standard questioning. No I don't have dentures. Do you have dentures? Funny guy tho cause he asked if I had kicked my marijuana habit. Jeez 'o Pete, ummmm, uh, yes I guess I had. Especially considering I've never partaken of the wacky tobaccey. Funny guy. I don't drink or smoke or do drugs but that marijuana – I'm alllll over that – NOT! Had a girlfriend in high school that was, but that perhaps is a blog entry for another time. Anywhooooo . . .

The doc comes in to be sure I hadn't come up with any questions from last week's appt. and goes over his game plan. He's gonna look at the left jugular and azygous and definitely balloon the right jugular. Sounds good to me doc. Let's start this party! Are you cold he asks? Nah, just eager! And I think he may have been the only one in the entire building not to rant and rave about the availability of heated blankets. Smart man, I tell ya!

Exit doctor. And Jim commences his desperate search for an IV site. As Willie, my favorite character from Swamp People, says, "Well good luck to ya." He looked and looked and the clock was nearing 11. Guess what? My procedure was scheduled for 11. After one unsuccessful try he went to fetch some help. Bring in the cavalry, I'd thought. And boy did he. Nice enough woman nurse but geesh! I would preferred Jimmy give it another couple of gos.

I refer to her as woman nurse cause she didn't give her name. She said she wasn't gonna give it 'cause that way I couldn't complain about her later. I thought she'd been a jokester like Jim but after our meeting concluded I had mixed emotions. She stuck me, ummmm, I believe it was four times. And I'm not even bitching about the number of times. It was the darned location! Square in the middle of my pee pickin' wrist. In all my years of IV'n . . . I NEVER . . . nor will I ever again. HAVE MERCY, that hurt.

30 + hours of labor, 2 C-sections, a bladder reconstruction complete with bladder spasms, being thrown from various horses, having my feet stomped by, yes, prolly those very same horses, getting a concussion having a basketball slammed into my head, getting rear-ended in a car accident – none of these things hurt nearly as bad as that woman nurse going in both, yes both of my wrists and fishing both aggressively and unsuccessfully for an IV site.

Was it my screaming, moaning or yelping in pain that prompted Jim's return? O.K. - I didn't really scream but tears were flyin' and teeth were grinding. The second wrist hurt the worst. Thank you, God for only giving me two. Seriously, I'd been praying for strength and veins since Jim informed me in the beginning of this ordeal that I musta left my veins at home. So now as bad as I wanted this procedure, needed it even, I was considering telling them thanks for their time but I was READY to go home. Seriously? Yes, seriously.

So then Jim decides to assist the woman nurse. They think maybe they've found one. They do this one together. The underside of my right arm between my elbow and my wrist. I begin to shed tears of joy. I even say, "Praise Jesus!" out loud and proud. And then they leave the room. Woman nurse returns and I thank her. She manages a "mmmhmm," and exits. Enter Jim shaking his head no. Then he exits and Jason approaches. And he shakes his head no too. I say, "What's everybody shaking their heads for?"

Jason tells me it ain't lookin' good. Well what's HE know, I'd thought to myself. And then Jim re-enters to find Jason eyeballing the site and Jim reaches across me to show Dr. Spindler the site is failing. "See how the fluid is bunching up outside of the vein?" Jim asks. Well duh. Of course he sees it. He's been around the block with me a time or two or 10 or 200. Anyways, had I not still been writhing in pain from the last wrist stick I'd have prolly known it hadn't worked too. As noon approached more tears followed as I couldn't help but wonder if I'd be able to get my procedure at all now. Please God, I need your help!

During this lull in time I got to meet Paul who introduced himself as my photographer. Very nice guy. Very talkative. We talked sports. Why, I dunno. Surely I can't after all these years still appear to be an athlete of some sort. Of course not, nah, he was just tryin' to somehow connect to a girl from Indiana. So you must be a Colts fan? Nah. Pacers? Nah. NEW YORK JETS! Well, how does an Indiana girl come to like a New York team? And with that the pain in my wrist started to subside.

And then Jim introduces me to my new nurse, Albert. It was no big deal when Jim said his name, but when Albert said, "Hi. I'm Albert." Again with the waterworks already. For those of you who truly know me you'll completely understand, but I lost it at this point. I flashed to my cousin Albert's face looking down upon me and smiling, just as the nurse was doing during his introduction. He looked perplexed. I bet the poor guy thought he'd done been assigned to a looney tune.

Why on Earth would such a warm welcome hello result in tears? A blog entry for another day I suppose. Or maybe not. I will say I miss you Albert, prolly my most funnest, favoritist cousin ever when I was only a little tree climber. Aggravated the crap outta me he could always go higher. Just sayin' . . .

Anyways, back to the vampires. I mean nurses. Finally just before 12, a whole hour past when my procedure was scheduled, they decided I was to be medicated/sedated after access to my femoral vein. The plan was to lightly sedate me via oral meds first. Yippeeeee! If only they'd have thought about a little sumthin' for anxiety nearer to the beginning. Finally some good news. I'd have gotten up and danced a jig if I could have. So Jason kisses me and assures me it'll all be fine and he'll see me in a little bit. My God I love this man!

Then Paul, Albert and myself sashay down the hall to the LIBERATION lounge let's call it. Paul introduces me to zillions of other technicians as they hurriedly prep and or fuss with whatever it is they are there to do. And in comes another nurse to get an IV started. WHAT THE HELL? Paul explains to her yadda, yadda, yadda about oral meds and she explains to him that my doc will not do it that way. Yikes! Will not, eh? Even after what I'd already been thru? Don't make me get off this table lady!

The woman nurse from earlier had already said if she couldn't get me I couldn't be got. And I sure didn't want her back in on this. More tears Angela? Really? No doubt dehydrated, I had no idea how producing any more tears was even possible at this point. She stuck me. A swing and a miss. "We'll try the other arm," she said. Yeh, ummmm, I'd heard that before but I at least liked this one's style. Stick and go. If ya didn't get it, move on. NO FISHING! And especially no violent deep wrist fishing. Pleeeeeeaaaase, God. Please.

And with stick number two and photographer Paul and nurse Albert's confirmations I was successfully IVed up and ready for prepping. Again with the waterfalls gushing from my eyes. I praised God again out loud and thanked the nurse who had finally won the war. I told Paul I thought maybe it would take 8 times since that is Mark Sanchez's number. (Jets' Quarterback for the non-sports fans out there.) But I sure was grateful it had happened in 7. "Seven sticks?" the successful nurse asked, her eyes nearly popping outta her head. No way she'd have ever let anybody stick her that many times. Huh, well, yeh. Me either. But what else was I supposed to do?

Sticky heart monitoring placements, a sexy cap (specially made for me Albert says), oxygen on, area sterile and we are a go. Huh? I still ain't got no meds y'all. I can feel it ALLLLL. And hear it all. Thank God I couldn't see it too. Well, I prolly could've had I kept my eyes open but a girl's gotta draw the line somewhere. So I listen as my doc directs the learning doc on how to begin. Details, details. Questions. Answers. And then a little silence and I ask, "Should I be awake for this?"

Immediately Albert is at my side asking if I need anything for pain. And although I wasn't really hurting, at least no more than normal, I promptly replied, "Yes, please!" I prayed this would put me to sleep. I knew the left side was picture perfect and the right was … "a problem," he said. "We'll figure this out," I remember the doc saying. Oh my God! Ummmm, Albert? You still there? And sleep.

Then in what seemed like no time at all I woke feeling someone or something on the outside of my neck. Huh? Where was I and what was going on? Maybe they were done and were doing an ultrasound to check flow. Or not. Once awake enuff the doc explains to me he was going to be entering from above the blockage too. HUH? Was he asking permission or what? This my friends I'd never heard of and had done no research on whatsoever. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Oh my indeed! Oh my God they were going in and I was still awake. Still awake I say. God? Albert? Somebody? Anybody. Pleeeeeaaaase knock my ass out! I bet the woman nurse from earlier woulda had she been there. Just sayin' . . .

So what seemed like seconds but were actually hours later I awoke to good docs voice explaining it had been a tough one but that he got thru. Through as in finished or through as in past the block – I dunno. But I was relieved to have been blessed with sleep thru most of it, either way. So as the doc exits telling me he'd share the good news with my husband and me later I ask Albert how things really went. I reckon my cousin Albert woulda gave it to me straight and thankfully so did this one.

He told me I hadn't really rested until he'd given me a healthy dose of benedryl. Thank you kind sir. And thank you benedryl. So "the parts I missed," he said the doc would go over with me in detail with my husband but he could report that it had been after all that time – wait for it – wait for it – a success! Praise the Lord! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus! Amen! Unhooked and unharnessed we made our triumphant return to wince we started. And the hubs looked relieved. Had he been nervous? Should I be then?

And before I could question him or him me, in comes the doctor. He apologizes to Jason immediately for it having taken so long. Soooo long? What the hell time was it? 4? After 4? WHAT? So let's start on the left. The left looked good. No treatment needed. Small abnormalities in the azygous so he ballooned that a few different places which by the way, for those following the whole story, I'd never had done before. Sidenote: This left me very excited about possible new improvements.

And finally the meat and potatoes. The right jugular was not only severely narrowed as the earlier ultrasound indicated, but just at the collar bone apparently it had closed off completely. For the mathematicians out there that'd mean 100% blockage. 100%. You hear me? Sooooo. He said he almost gave up trying to get thru at all but decided to try coming in thru the top down as well as from the bottom up. Made me think of a teeter totter. Up down up down up down.

Looking exhausted but relieved he explained that once he'd finally gotten thru he ballooned the area to 14mm vs. the 12mm I had done in Atlanta. So he'll see me back in a month and should it be blocked again we may have to re-visit having a stent placed. Yadda, yadda, yadda. I'd done well he told Jason. And after we both thanked him and he had left the room, I told Jason that the doc had done well! What kinda doc woulda took allllllllll that time and worked so hard to get thru that occlusion? Praise God! And praise Dr. _________! Thought I was gonna slip and tell ya, heh?

Next up was to lay flat. I've got that down cold my friends. Problem was tho I'd been laying flat on my back perfectly still for nearly 7 hours already. And they wanted four more? Uhhhhhh!?! Albert's pain meds and benedryl had completely ceased to work by 5. And in come the shakes. All I could think of was how that couldn't be good on my newly opened jugular. Could a girl at least get a Tylenol up in here? I know I got Advil in my purse. Just sayin'. Fast forward thru an hour or so more of moanin' and groanin' and in no time at all we had returned to Hotel Swankville and were discussing our dinner options.

Calls home were made and pizza was ordered. Had I made it in time for the Project Runway premiere? More on that later. "Make it work!"

Meat and Potatoes

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Make it work.

No Food Or Drink After Midnight

Sooooo, I may have had to shut down my nervous eating and drinking last night but shutting off my brain was a whole 'nother issue. After a late Applebee's dinner fetched by my gorgeous husband and served to me in bed, we curled up and caught up on episodes of Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, and Suits. "Pleeeeeaaaaase, can we watch just one more?" I begged at 11:57 p.m.

"No," replied the hubs. And although I immediately deployed my puppy dog eyes and pugged lips, he continued, "You need to try and get some sleep. You've got a big day tomorrow." A short silence followed as I contemplated whether or not to commence further conversation on the subject. Hmmmpf. Guess he was right. (Don't tell him tho, okay?) With that followed kisses g'night and my listening to him fall asleep. Sleep well my knight in shining armor. I LOVE YOU!

What next? Prayers of course. And tears. Emotional much? Yeh, wellllll, sue me. I had a come apart – aka breakdown, earlier this week when I'd become too hot and was consequently rendered a complete invalid. Scary shit. Heat intolerance is no joke. The well lit room I found myself in went dark. I like to call these 'dark moments' as a homage to Dexter's dark passenger. Only difference is I don't kill people – hehehehe . . . inside joke! Sorry.

Anyways, everything stopped working. I seriously wonder if that experience is anything like actually dying. Morbid stuff, heh? Sorry again. But I go there from time to time. MSers on Facebook droppin' like flies, my condition worsening . . . I go there. Can't help it. Again, sue me. Where was I? Ah yes. Prayers. Got a call from Aunt Ann earlier. She wanted to wish me well and let me know our entire church gathered around the alters in prayer for me this evening. Again, I began to cry and she assured me everything was gonna be alright.

Soooo in my prayers I always try to thank God for stuff first before I ask for anything. Harder and harder to do these days. Selfish hussy! After my usual rounds of thanking God for all those near and dear to me and praying for each of them – everyone at Pt. Township Church included tonight – I found myself greedily asking/hoping for all that I'd been blessed with after my last procedure. The mantra has been that we want the same good stuff this time – we just want it to last longer.

But guess what sports fans? I've gotten MUCH worse than I was before the first procedure. MUCH, MUCH, MUCH worse. Not to mention since then Msers have died. Some from MS and one weighing especially heavy with me who died just after her procedure. Sure she may have had other stuff going on they say, BUT that other stuff may be the same as my other stuff. Who knows really? Point being there is risk!

How dare I be asking to walk again when I should be asking to survive it. I should be asking to see my boys again. I should be asking that my family not be hurt by my having made the decision to risk my life trying to get better. How dare I be so shallow! God's will, Angela! God's will! How 'bout don't ask for anything. Just be thankful for what you have. I am already so blessed. As bad as I may feel there are always people worse. Always indeed but that doesn't really make things better now does it? Nooooo! No indeed! Jeez 'o Pete. Worse even! Thanks for that Angela! And with that I had to wake up the hubs and ask him not to forget to say his prayers.

And you know what that goober did? He recited word for word the prayers the boys say each night. "As I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep . . . Amen." Not exactly what I'd had in mind but adorable all the same. And then a moment later he assured me he prayed for me every night. And I'm sure he does. Just as sure as I am that I thank the Lord for him each and every time I pray. And in no time at all he was back asleep. Grrrrrrr . . . lucky sucker!

I couldn't sleep. My mind was racing. Football sign-ups are upon us. Will I be able to go to practices this year? Games? How? Greedy? Shouldn't it just be enuff that I am blessed with two healthy boys that are able to play football? Damnit Angela! Thank Him and move along already. So fast forward thru hours upon hours of this kind of thought. Unable to toss and turn even. Weak ass loser. Lay still and get over it. Eventually I suppose I musta fell asleep 'cause here I am – just now awake and askin' for a Coke and my lap top.

SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP! It's a new day!

But, geesh, this fat girl is thirsty! For what? Ice cold Coca-Cola my friends. The very same drink she is giving up this very day. And the very same drink whose sexy red and white 2-liter exterior is at this very moment beginning to glisten from the newly risen sun peeking in the tiny crack between the lush drapes hanging in our swanky hotel room this beautiful morning . . . this beautiful morning that God has made.

This beautiful morning given to us by Him – where miracles are plentiful, and especially so today of all days. Why on Earth should I be frettin' over a Coke when I'm zero sleeps and only a couple of hours away from a potential life changing procedure? Jeez 'o Pete I gotta lot on my mind. What'd I ever do before I discovered blogging as a way to release all this, ummmm, errrrr, ehhhh, CRAP for lack of a better word? I gotta blog before I explode.

What else is on yer mind, Angela? What else could there possibly be? Well, I'm so glad you asked! There's a whole heck of alot I tell ya! There are even more wayward thoughts rattling around up there than there are pesky lesions left by my MonSter friend – multiple sclerosis. Yeh, let's focus for a tic on the subject at hand instead of blathering on as I'm know to do about with goofy poems, lists, analogies and such. FOCUS!

MS sux. Neigh. I mean CCSVI. After all, with my whole heart and soul I believe it is to blame for my MS. It seems to me without a shadow of a doubt that if the freeway that's supposed to take blood from your brain back to your heart is blocked with construction or cluttered with stop lights like the Lloyd it would make absolutely perfect sense, at least to me, that it would be the primary reason blood was being forced to hangout in said brain and wreak havoc whilst waiting on an exit ramp.

So okay I can't write but so many words without spewing forth an analogy of some sort. My baaaad. How bout a poem then to pass the time 'til LIBERATION? Roses are red. Violets are blue. I'm wasting time. And if yer still reading – so are you! Good one, heh? Could you tell that's all I've been up to is wasting time? Will 10 o'clock ever get here? Anxious much?

I WANT THIS SOOOO BAAAAAAD! Pray for me people! Right now, pleeeeeaaaase! And I'll pray for you. Lord please help the people that have read my blog this far. Please give them something better to do with their lives. Cure them of the boredom of which they clearly must suffer. Hehehehe. I tried to make a funny. So what have I left out of this blog entry? "Nothing, Angela, nothing at all," you say – desperately hoping that I will conclude this installment and put you out of yer misery.

And alas, maybe that is what I should do. Put 'er to bed as they say . . . nah. I got nearly an hour to go and, ahhhh yes, I've yet to include a list. So here ya go:
Top 10 things Need Fixin'
Number 10 - This frickin' "HUG" needs to go the frig away.
Number 9 - I wanna go to the potty alllll by myself like a big girl.
Number 8 – Ahhhhh, screw it . . . Number 1 – I wanna walk!

I'm over it. Maybe I'll make another sad ass before video. But I'm getting' off here. Time is dwindling. If these are my last moments should I be spending them blogging. Noooooo! Pray for me, k? I love you all! Peace out!