Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I'm fixed!

I am cured!

Monday was my surgery to map my heart and see if they could close that pesky extra electrical pathway. The surgery was a success and the pathway was able to be closed even though my doctor said it was in a tricky spot.

But what a journey it was!

First, I got a cold the week before. Last Monday I went to bed with a sore throat, but I thought it could just be that I ran 5 miles outside that day and it was slightly chillier then usual. No such luck as I awoke Tuesday with a stuffy nose as well. I spent the rest of the week pumping different meds in my system every 4 hours on the dot to try to rid myself of this cold. I got it down to a dull cough, lost voice, and no longer stuffy nose by the day of surgery.

It was a bit stressful the morning of as we got lost on the way to the hospital. I kept my cool until, as Nick was helping my mom re-route via Google Maps, we missed the final turn for the street the hospital was on. That was the point I yelled "YOU GUYS, GET IT TOGETHER!" I ended up being only 15 minutes late for my 6 am check in, which was fine because my surgery was scheduled for 7:30 am and I wasn't even taken into the operating room until 8:30.

Once checked in I was taken back to bay 13 (lucky number, I lied to myself) and had to stop in the rest room for the obligatory give-a-urine-sample-to-check-for-pregnancy-because-you're-a-young-female then change into my lovely hospital gown and slippers. No tiara again. Hospitals, rethink your dressings and add a tiara to this mix! Another nurse came in to run an EKG on me, so I got to show my boobies to the first stranger of the day.

After that the nurse that came to start my IV got mad because I left my urine sample in the bathroom at the direction of the other nurse on staff. I told her I'd be happy to go again if she thought the other was tainted and assured her I wasn't pregnant, but she said it was fine while still muttering angrily under her breath. She came back a little while later and said that the test was negative, which I knew it would be.

My mom works with some of the nurses on staff so I got to meet the head anesthesiologist by chance when he walked by and recognized mom. We shared pictures of our dogs and he took information from me, noting that he would be down to check in during the procedure. My CNA was going to be another one of my mom's co-workers so I knew I was in good hands. Plus my mom showed me her dog via Facebook, and I knew that being they were all dog lovers I was being cared for my some good people.

At around 8 am my OR nurse came down to wheel me to the operating room. He was amazing taking this big bed around sharp corners and didn't even once hit the wall! I told him as much, and he said it was so refreshing that I wasn't nervous. When I got down to the holding area he gave me a newspaper to kill some time. I was reading about the Philadelphia Marathon which was the day before, and wouldn't you know that the one runner they interviewed was from Poughkeepsie, NY?! I had all good vibes at that point.

My doctor came around 8:15 am to go over everything with me. He then mentioned how there is the possibility that if this extra pathway is too close to the heart valve and that valve ends up getting closed too, I'm going to need a pace maker. OH, OKAY WAY TO DROP THAT ON ME RIGHT BEFORE SURGERY! He assured me this had never happened to him, but since it's a slight possibility he had to advise me of it. FANTASTIC BRO.

The OR nurse came back, said he'd be wheeling me to right outside the OR as I'd have to walk in, and wouldn't you know he hits my bed on the wall! One of the docs called him out on it, but I took the blame and told him I jinxed the poor guy by commenting on his smooth bed navigation skills earlier. It felt like a walk of shame as I tried not to moon everyone on the short walk to the OR while clenching the back of my hospital gown closed.

I did have to moon everyone in the room as I got on the table for them to prep me. I told them to enjoy the view which made them laugh and comment that I was going to be a fun patient. The drugs they gave me were magical! I remember they put electrodes on my back, but apparently they put some on my front too. That must have been after the drugs so if you don't remember a room full of strangers seeing your boobs, did it really even happen? I digress.

My CNA told me she'd be injecting something that would make me feel like I had a few drinks. As we were discussing my favorite drink of the moment (dirty martini) and I was describing the different amazing olive types (blue cheese stuffed or gorgonzola stuffed oh my gosh so delicious) that shit hit my brain and it's the last thing I remember. Apparently as the nurse was prepping me I thought it was my dog. I'm guessing the sterilizing agent was cold and wet, just like his nose in these chillier months. I'm sure they had a good laugh over that.

For some reason I didn't realize they were LITERALLY going in for this procedure at my groin. I had thought my leg would be the access point just close to my groin. Negative, I have two tiny entry points on either side of my lady bits. I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I was to have gotten that bikini wax. I told my recovery nurse as much. I'm pretty sure she thought it was the drugs talking. It wasn't.

Overall I feel really good I'm just sore at my incision sites. Due to my sensitive skin I've got the blotches outlines of ALL the electrodes over my back and chest which itch like hell and look incredibly sexy let me tell you. I can't stand for too long as it's uncomfortable, but if that's the worst part for a couple days I'll take it!

I have to say THANK YOU to everyone for your prayers and well wishes! They truly helped me and I felt all the love! A special thank you to my husband, mom, and aunt who served as my entourage at the hospital and helped me through the day. My doctors and nurses were just fantastic at the hospital; I couldn't have gotten better care. I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have such amazing people in my life.

This cold though, has outstayed it's welcome. Get out of here now before my husband kills me with all the hacking and nose blowing I'm doing. It's too early for Christmas but I really don't need Santa to confuse me and my red nose for Rudolph.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Winner: Fastest Stress Test!

My 86 year old grandfather and I had a unique bonding experience earlier this week as we apparently go to the same heart practice. My stress test was Thursday so he was giving me the low down of the last time he did his stress test on a treadmill. My dad asked me twice if I'd be okay to drive myself. I told him and my mom there's no way I'm going to feel any worse after as stress test then I do after a half marathon. I was right and I didn't lose any toe nails (the two from my September half marathon are barely hanging on).

The stress echo was not bad at all. Granted this is from a girl who bikes 65 miles and runs half marathons for fun. And if they really wanted to see what my heart could do they should strap a monitor on for one of Rhonda's kettle bell classes. They'd probably have a heart attack just reading the results, amIright?!

That being said, I was the youngest person in that waiting room by at least 40-50 years. I'm pretty sure all the other patients thought I was just waiting there for someone. Imagine their surprises when they call my name as the patient. Needless to say the nurses and doctor were just not ready for this jelly.

I knew I had to be on a treadmill so as instructed I wore my usual gym attire: workout pants, running sneakers, sports bra, and t-shirt (a nice one, without holes or stains! My mom would be so proud!)

I got to the back room and my lovely nurse Jackie tells me I have to take everything off on top. EVERYTHING. No bras allowed. I have to do this test bra-less. I was thoroughly unprepared for this situation and hoping I wouldn't be leaving with a black eye.

Fine, I take off my top. At least at the GYN your mentally prepared to show your boobs to a stranger. Then she wipes me down with rubbing alcohol and gel for the nodes. My skin is ridiculously sensitive so all I'm thinking about is how splotchy I'm going to be later. She proceeds to stick a billion 8-10 different nodes on me.

I then have to put on a crop top gown, opening front, and trot to the testing room. The lights were off but the monitors in the room gave a romantic glow. She strapped a fanny pack type reader on me and connected all the nodes to wires which transmitted my heart beats to the faaaaaancy computer. The tech told me to lay on my left side with my arm up. I told her to just wake me if I fell asleep. She took an ultra sound of my heart from the top of my chest and rib cage. It was too short for a nap, I told her as much when she finished.

My nurse told me to sit up and informed me that she'd be putting another other crop top gown on with the opening in the back in order to cover me more for the testing. I asked for a tiara so it would match my lovely gown, but she laughed and said they didn't have any. I told her I want to wave to my adoring people from the treadmill and that they should have one! The blood pressure cuff just completed my attire. I spared you all photos. You're welcome.

Then the doctor came in and asked if I knew why I was here. I told him I have WPW Syndrome, and my doctor needed to see if the valve was closing. He looks at me, eyebrow raised, "Well valve doesn't sound right", and I was all, "maybe to see if the extra pathway closing?" He said that sounds correct, and I told him I sell insurance so medical terms go over my head. My nurse informed him I wanted a tiara, and he started laughing. After reading the notes, he confirmed it was the pathway closing to watch for, and he'd monitor me closely.

They said I had a great attitude as I was all smiles and jokes on the treadmill. I mean, it's not like I planned to have a heart problem, so what can I do about it other then what the doctor recommends? It's just my personality I suppose (if you don't know me, my clients constantly ask if I'm always like this or do I 10 cups of coffee a day? I don't. I'm just overly happy. Or positive. Or crazy. I don't know I haven't been officially diagnosed). They essentially offered me a job right on the spot because they loved how happy and bubbly I was, but I don't think insurance knowledge translates to whatever nuclear medicine is (unless I get to blow stuff up, then I'll make it work!)

The doctor monitoring me is a composer by night and serenaded us through the whole stress test....WHICH TOOK ALL OF 5 MINUTES. I don't mess around. After they got my heart rate up I jumped back on the table for them to ultra sound my heart again. The nurses said I was the fastest and most fun stress echo of the day. But hey, when you work with old, grumpy people who don't want to be at the doctor's in the first place, I guess I'm just a breath of fresh air.

The doc said my heart muscle looks good but he has to study the scans closer to see about the extra electrical pathway. He said I will get a full report. But while I was sitting post test and they're letting my heart rate come down, something happened on the screen that made the doctor go, "well that's interesting." Which is totally fine and nothing to worry about, right?!