Another of life’s little lessons. Yesterday I was admitted to the hospital for an angiogram to see if I needed a stent put into the artery leading to my left kidney. It was an experience I’d rather not have to repeat, much more complicated and awkwardly painful than I thought it would be. I did my registration paperwork at 7:30 Friday morning, was taken to the prep area at 8:00, stripped and into one of those ridiculous hospital gowns, a bp cuff attached to my right bicep, a catheter tube inserted into the back of my left hand for a saline drip, lines attached to chest and one leg to monitor my respiration and heart activity, my groin shaved. Then another set of questions and answers about past medical history and current prescriptions. My main nurse was a young woman, a very attractive woman named Denise. I wondered again why nearly all the nurses in Del Webb and Boswell were young and attractive. Dr. Rai, my nephrologist, had once explained to me that the work load for most nurses was such that the average burnout rate was about ten years, thus the youth. But what about the beauty? At 8:40 I was wheeled into the operating room where Rod and Colleen got me ready for Dr. Agarwal, the cardiologist who would perform the angiogram. I had expected to be anaesthetized through my catheter tube, you know, the wonderful sleep during surgery. But no, just a local shot at the site of the tubal insertion in my right groin. Colleen, the surgical nurse, said it would feel like a bee sting when the tube was inserted into the femoral artery. Yes indeed, a very large bee. Dr. Agarwal then sort of manually manipulated my belly and upper thigh all through the procedure, which lasted almost an hour. Then I was slid back onto my bed and taken back to the prep room, where I would lie motionless on my back until the tube in my groin could be removed, after which Denise applied two-handed pressure on the site for fifteen minutes until a clot was formed. Dr. Agarwal stopped by to tell me that he had placed a stent into my left kidney artery, that there was a 95% blockage, but nothing even close to that in the right side. Good news, but also the possibility that the right side might have to be taken care of sometime in the future. Yikes! His good news was that he wouldn’t be keeping me overnight, that I could go home later in the afternoon. By this time, it was 12:30 and I was told that I’d have to remain motionless on my back for another four hours. Four hours! And this on a bed so narrow it was hard to find a comfortable place for my arms. And I had to pee. Really bad. I finally asked Denise if I could have a urinal, thinking I’d be able to turn on my side enough to get the job done. She brought a urinal, put it on my belly, positioned my penis in the opening, and said, “Okay, let ‘er go any time.” Oh, yeah, me on my back, a lovely young lady holding my penis, and I’m going to “let ‘er go.” I don’t think so. Without gravity, there’s no way I was going to be able to urinate while lying on my back. I finally told her it wasn’t going to work. She said, “Well, you know your alternatives—either pee in bed or let me insert a catheter.” Since I didn’t think the first alternative was even a choice, I told her I’d take the catheter. This was another experience I think I’ll pass on in the future. She told me to relax, that it might hurt a little, but the more relaxed I was, the easier it would be. She put it in and I felt my back arch, the muscles in belly and back and arms and shoulders about as unrelaxed as possible. Oh, my, the pain. But it was in and I could feel my bladder go to work. About half an hour later, Denise showed me the bag with what looked like nearly a half gallon of urine. She removed the catheter just before it was time for me to get dressed to come home, and it was as painful coming out as going in. She wanted me to use the bathroom to see if everything was still working but I told her I’d wait till I got home. She warned me that there’d be some bleeding and pain for a while. I found out when I got home just how true that was. My instructions were to limit my movement, to avoid straight chairs, to take my Plavix and baby aspirin once daily for three months, to remove the groin bandage the next day and clean the site thoroughly. My reward for being a good boy, a large chocolate DQ shake on the way home. Rosalie had filled my prescription for Plavix before she picked me up—ninety pink pills, for $120. Damn these pharmaceutical companies.
My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.
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