Thursday, February 11, 2010

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (Dictated to Kari)

Around 11:30 Tuesday morning, nurse Camy came to escort me to the procedure room in a double wide wheelchair. Unfortunately for her, manuerving the wheelchair and Dirk (what I have named my constant companion IV pole) proved to be difficult. By the time we had run into the wall each side of the elevator and a door, Camy was snorting with laughter and another nurse saw her distress and came to rescue us. Together they were able to get Dirk and me to the TE room. When we arrived I was greeted by a nurse who quickly became nicknamed "Tasky Jen". Because of the bumpy wheelchair ride we had arrived late and she had many things to do before the doctor arrived for the procedure.

As Jen tempted to focus on the details of the procedure, I attempted to distract her with humorous antecdotes and silly stories. However, Tasky Jen was indistractable. At that point I told her that I had a very funny story for her but that I would wait for her to ask me to tell it to her because I was afraid I would distract her. I was quiet for a very long time. When I could tell she was done with everything I had to remind her to ask me for the funny story.

At that point in time I began to answer the questions she had asked a half hour earlier. She had asked about problems with sedation which gave me the opportunity to discuss the thrill of projectile vomiting. Before I had my breast reduction several years ago everything consistantly landed on my chest. However, immediately following my breast reduction surgery I sat up and projectile vomited onto my toes. I can clearly remember a sense of sweet satisfaction that finally the things coming out of my mouth would no longer be landing on my chest.

I'm not sure that Jen fully appreciated my story or felt that it was worth waiting for, but hey, this is about ME. I have a frickin' blood clot in my heart. So if I want to tell a funny story, you'd better listen, babe.

The doctor finally arrived, a new guy whose name I never learned, who though he smiled tolerantly was eager to sedate me and shut me up. First, however, he had to numb my esophagus. The first thing that he did was to mention that the stuff he was about to spray in my mouth was vile tasting. I quickly turned to "Tasky Jen" and said, "I guess you left that out." (She had indicated before that she had thoroughly prepared me for the procedure.) He underestimated the vileness of the taste and it left me gagging, wretching and attempting to throw up into a small blue puke bag. However, since I had not eaten in 23 hours there was nothing to puke up. I mentioned at that point to the doctor that I had a highly sensitive gag reflex. So he smeared gray gel on a popsicle stick and shoved it down my throat. He then instructed me to "Suck on it." They insisted that I wrap my lips around the stick and continue to suck. However, the irony of a doctor shoving a popsicle stick down my throat immediately after I explained my sensitive gag response had me chuckling and unable to explain my giggles. I'm sure by this point both "Tasky Jen" and the doctor were wondering if I had come down from the psych floor. When the popsicle stick came out and my throat was numb they were both relieved that it was finally time to sedate me.

The next thing I remember was waking up feeling a tube down my throat and the doctor telling me it was almost over. He pulled it out and explained to me the results. "Tasky Jen" told me I needed to wait about a half an hour before coming back to my room. About 20 minutes later I realized that I had no clue what the results were because I couldn't remember what the doctor had said. So I called Jen in and had her repeat them. Apparently the blood clot in my heart was very evident but they could not detect any trouble at all with the structure of my heart. The valves were all working properly and everything, other than the clot, seemed to be fine. I was wheeled back without event to my room and the nurse wrote on the board when I could begin to eat and drink. At 3:54 I could have my first liquids in 26 hours and at 4:54 I could eat a meal. By this point in time the beloved Kari had arrived and was able to count down with me the minutes until I could do those things.

Note: It is now Thursday morning at 10:50, nearly 48 hours after the procedure and my throat still hurts so much from minor discomfort.


nancy said...

Believe me, I feel for you! I had a TEE w/out any sedation bedause "I couldn't fall asleep or I might not wake up" scenario. I failed the humor test, however. God bless you - and Bart!

Little Wonder said...

I had an emergency one of these when my oldest (now 10) was about 3 months old. They are no fun! Hang in there! I will wave to you from across the hospital today---I'm heading over to the clinic in about an hour. Need anything?