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Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Two weeks ago (Thursday, Feb 27) my angiogram procedure went well and the news received afterward was very good. 

The nuclear stress test I had about 3 weeks earlier showed up abnormalities in both the ECG and the imaging. That news was not something I had expected because I completed the rigorous treadmill part of test problem free and pain free. An angiogram was quickly scheduled for another look.

About 20 minutes before the surgeon started, he informed Kie and me that depending upon what he found, he would put stents in if needed, and if so, then I would stay in overnight. This last minute news was unexpected but made sense. Nonetheless, he also told us about the possible risks doing the procedure; heart attack, stroke and/or death, and then I had to sign the consent form.  Not the best things to hear just before going in the operating room.

I was awake the entire time and the sedatives given to relax did not work at all. I tried to pretend nothing was going on but I was gripping the table with both hands as if holding on for life. The technology and the imaging on the TV screens were amazing. I could see my own heart and arteries perfectly clearly; not indistinguishable like an x-ray or ultrasound.

"For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother's womb."
(Psalm 139:13)

This image was selected at random from the internet but does accurately reflects the type of images that I saw. If anything, the images I saw on the screen were actually sharper and clearer than this example.

The results came very soon afterward (within half an hour) directly from my cardiologist and the news was actually better than I had been hoping for; a very welcomed surprise.

My stent is clear and no sign of clotting. No additional stenting was required and the other two artery blockages are not severe and not a concern. I do have some permanent mild to moderate heart damage from the heart attack but hearing this was not new. In time I should be able to resume and continue with most normal activities. Going for a hike again on the Appalachian Trail in Maine is very unlikely though, but I can live with this.

I did have one minor problem afterward (which was an expected possibility) when the nurse got me up to get ready to go home. I went to the bathroom and the wound opened. The nurse got me back into bed; clamping the artery for 20 minutes. That hurt quite a bit.

After a few more hours of resting I tried getting ready again and everything was okay the second time. I also got home okay. Not very much pain afterward and certainly almost nothing compared to tooth nerve  pain, but I did feel as if I had been punched in the groin.

Upon arriving at home I went to bed and stayed there still until the following morning. I did not move all night. Maybe those sedatives finally worked! Regardless, I did not want the wound to reopen, which would have meant a 911 call and trip back to the hospital. Kie stayed at home the Friday following; I was not supposed to be home alone for 24 hours in case of possible bleeding.

Honestly, within the hours of a day that nurses and doctors have to work, I do not know how they are able to do what they do, working with so many different people with differing problems. I have no complaint. My only negative comment about hospitals is they rush patients out too fast; but this is not new.

I am very grateful to God for the good news I received and I am truly happy to be home.

The Oddblock Station Agent

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