Today we should be waking up in Chile on the first day of the second phase of our journey. We should be regaling you with tales of the great city of Santiago. Instead we sit in the reception of St Andrew’s hospital in Brisbane at 6:30 in the morning waiting to go up to the cardiac day surgery area for my 8:30 angiogram. The last week has been a little surreal as we waited for today. All the tasks to be completed before our original departure became less important. We have considered the various outcomes of today’s angiogram and the likely impact they have on our travel plans. Our specialist gave no indication of his thoughts on what he will find so all options including medication, stent, pacemaker or surgery are on table, although I have my preference which does not include major surgery!
While the Internet can provide a plethora of information on everything today, too many views and options can be confusing. My research has been confined to trying to understand the latest techniques and some general background information so I can try to ask intelligent questions, which I suspect will only show my lack of knowledge on this subject.
After blogging for over nine months it is interesting to find that I am happy to reveal publicly personal medical information, which previously I would have not discussed, as this is pertinent to, and part of, the journey.
Progressing through the system has seen me move one floor up with the first obstacle, my chart moving around the hospital without me, being resolved. The first challenge was to put on the hospital gown, with three ties on the back and a design I had difficultly understanding at first but think I have managed although I suspect if I move too fast the whole thing will unravel and I will be scrabbling to avoid ending up in my birthday suit!
Paperwork still abounds in hospitals with forms and labels being filled and pasted as I wait. I need to have blood drawn and a drip attached. While attaching the cannula to my wrist, I suffer my first vasovagal, a light headed feeling wanting to throw up and generally unwell: it is a reaction to the cannula I am told. This effect only lasts for a couple of minutes as the kindly staff raise my feet, give me oxygen and provides sick bag. The effect is over in five minutes and I am back to my usual happy self. A new experience and one I will hopefully not repeat.
We now head to lab No. 3 where I meet the team who will treat me along with the specialist. Surrounded by hi-tech equipment and a massive tv screen we are ready to go. The friendly staff are happy to pose for photographs and one of the staff kindly offers to take a photo or two for me during the procedure for this blog. I am covered with nice warm blankets which are very pleasant.
The process starts with the X-ray machine above my chest moves backwards and forwards like something out of a sci-fi movie at the command of the doctor undertaking the procedure calling out to the radiologist.
I am wheeled into recovery and my specialist confirmed that there are no problems with the grafts from six years ago. YES YES YES …….! All look good and are functioning perfectly. No cutting and replacing of parts required! A further check is required by an electrician, their term not just mine, to check out the electrical aspect of my heart’s function, so I will be back tomorrow for round 2 at 14:00. Three hours of recovery fly by and I am out on ‘Leave’ which avoids the $200 fee for each separate admission.
My thanks to all the team at St Andrew’s for my treatment today and to all our family and friends for your support via various messages and phone calls.