The prayers worked. Seriously, thank you, thank you. Today was a little rough and long but could have been so much worse. Again, the nurses and Doctors who attended me today were so kind and gentle...always a reminder to me that I am being watched over and blessed during this process.
I got to the hospital at 7 am and was prepped for the right heart cath. There are a few different approaches to this procedure, the best being going in through the neck and threading the scope down to the heart. The most difficult approach is going in through the groin and threading up to the heart. In that case, you have to be laying completely flat (which is a difficult position for me to breathe in) and the recovery is about 6 hours as opposed to a 2-4 hour recovery if they can go through the neck. Needless to say, I was praying the Dr. would decide to go for the neck and to my great relief, he said he would attempt that first.
After I was all prepped, they let my mom come into the big waiting area and wait by my bed with me. They were very busy and I wasn't wheeled back to the operating room until 10:00. Because I was nervous and a little restless, I decided to pass the time by saying a prayer for each person who was wheeled out of the waiting room before me. It honestly calmed my nerves and I eventually fell asleep until it was my turn to be wheeled back. My mom snapped the above picture of me right before I left and to quote my Grandpa, I am only smiling because "I didn't understand the situation!"
I was given an aspirin and a Valium orally, and a sedative in my I.V. They also gave me a local anesthetic in my neck and then proceeded with the catheterization. I was awake but felt very foggy. I had a wonderful nurse with me for the duration. He maintained eye contact with me and reassured me through the whole procedure. It was not painful but I did feel pressure in my neck as they inserted the catheter and thread it down. The entire procedure took about 45 minutes to an hour but then I had to recover in the bed for 2 hours. They brought me some fruit to snack on and then I slept. Finally they transferred me to a chair and let my mom come back to sit with me for a while until I felt stable. I felt pretty strong and was able to dress myself and walk to where the car was waiting out front.
I was so relieved they were able to go through the neck and although my neck is swollen and sore now, I know it could be worse and I am so grateful it's not!
My mom and I head home tomorrow. I am anxious to be reunited with my family, get some good rest for a few days in my own bed, process this week in more depth and get as ready physically and emotionally for what is to come.
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