“There’s no sensation to compare with this, suspended animation – a sense of bliss.”
Pink Floyd, Learning To Fly, Primarily written by David Gilmour, 1987, per Wikipedia
I was going to begin this “chapter” yesterday before the cryo ablation. But, in all honesty, I was so damn nervous, all I wanted to do was throw up. All I could think about was:
Scared Deb:”Deb, you haven’t had an “episode” in a month, it’s just idiotic to go through with this. You will probably never have another episode, just have some coffee and do something fun today.”
OTHER Deb: “Yeah, what about that little short run of tach I had a few weeks ago, I had to cough hard and long before it went away. What if it happens mid 5 hour flight over the ocean, and it doesn’t go away on it’s own. Do we really want to endure that? Huh, what then?”
Scared Deb: “Well, you got me there. I still think there’s time to make a run for it. What if something goes wrong and we’re on a pacemaker the rest of our lives? What if we aren’t able to care for Larry if he needs it, what if we let him down? What if we die? What if, what if????”
Other Deb: “Then so be it. That bridge isn’t anywhere in sight. So we can’t cross it yet. Maybe not at all. Shut up and go to your “brave place” scared girl.”
I took Kichee dog for a very short walk.
Larry drove to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital. I will always call it just “Good Sam”. It’s a pretty good size campus, for Phoenix. Sprawling is a good descriptor.
We wait in line to wait in line for registration. My Fight or Flight senses are kicking in. My urinary bladder shrinks to the size of a walnut, and I feel like I’ve drank a 12 pack and a gallon of water even though I’ve been NPO (nothing by mouth) for over 12 hours.
After registration, it’s off to another waiting area to wait for outpatient services: I get the fashionable “one size fits all” gown with the double tie in the back, snap sleeves and “front pocket” for any cardiac monitor or, I suppose, a pack of smokes. They offer me neither. The nurses are extremely funny and efficient. One likes the smell of my hair. NO I have not been given drugs YET! Although I wonder about HER! The other is reminiscing about her time spent at the “real” trauma hospital that my husband works at, St. Jo’s. It’s all good for me, it keeps my inner “frightened” child back in the corner.
Next comes the “pre op” EKG. The guy comments that he’s “counting the days”. I wonder out loud :”To the Apocolypse?”
EKG guy:”No, until I’m done here.”
Me:”Oh, are you terminal?”
EKG guy:”Haha. Aren’t YOU the funny one? No, I’m leaving medicine for a career in broadcasting. I’ve been in medicine all of my life.”
Me:”Oh, for 5 years huh?”
EKG guy:”No, I’m 34.”
I think to myself, I remember that age. I’d been in my “career” 4 years, and was living in Hawaii. Hmm, how it all goes so quickly.
Next comes Jake, the Murse. Male Nurse. He has a “sleeve” along his left arm, short hair and odd sideburns, but seems to know his stuff. That’s all I care about. That and my “drug tender” is Allie. Dr. Wilber Su at the helm, Nic is the projectionist, and a factory rep for Medtronic Hall (the makers of the device that will deliver the “cryo balloon”, is the first mate.
As Jake wheels me down the hall, my husband in tow, as that little scared girl pushes her way from the corner trying to take center stage. I keep pushing her away. It’s not working very well. We get to the Cath Lab, Jake asks me to walk over to the “table” where I’ll be spending another few hours.
Allie and Nic begin placing leads and, what I swear they have dipped in buckets of ice water, patches on my back and chest that will guide Dr. Su through the channels and rocky crags of my heart. (I’m sure there are some “hard hearted Hannah” areas in there.) At this point the “scared little girl” is in the spotlight screaming her solo performance. Allie starts the I.V. and gives me drugs. The last thing I remember is giggling at what I believe was the c-arm X-ray melting into the white tile ceiling. Hence the picture at the beginning of this blog.
I do recall a rather unpleasant pressure/poking sensation in my right groin that was quickly overcome by a sensation of complete bliss. No, I’m not a masochist.
I woke up in recovery with my husband patiently waiting for me. I’m not sure where I am, what odyssey I’ve been on, or how long I’ve been at sea. No recollection of what has been done, or for how long. Only a small piece of gauze trapped by a piece of clear plastic lying over my right groin. A red mark across the right side of my upper chest and a feeling of wanting to sleep some more are the only signs that things were a bit different today than yesterday.
“Most of all, I want to sleep. I want to sleep like I slept when I was a boy.”
The above, a quote from the character Red Reddington, played by James Spader, in The Blacklist. I believe it was from an episode in November 2013. I think we can all, as adults in this fast paced, too- much- to- do- and -not- enough- time world can identify.
Sleep as if you were given a large adult dose of Fentanyl and Versed my friends. It is truly, a state of bliss.