Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"IF" Question #2

"If you had to describe your worst medical experience, what would it be?"

Fortunately, I was somewhat pre-drugged before this procedure, but I was way more awake than not.   

Back in 1997, I started having what a cardiologist thought was a spasm in my main artery.  He put me through a battery of stress tests and on a nuclear x-ray he saw what he believed to be a spasm.

The Doc scheduled me for a cardiac catheterization.   In a nutshell, my "heart cath" involved the insertion of a guide wire into the artery in my groin and then it got pushed up into my heart...enabling the cardiologist to view my innards.   He injected a chemical into my artery to replicate the spasm.  

Here's the part though that made this my worst medical experience...even worse than child birth in some aspects...

I was about 35 yrs old at the time and I was just lying there, as the anesthesiologist began my Valium "drip".   A young man came over to me with a small, metal cart and announced that he would have to shave the area where the needle would be inserted.   It didn't matter how clean-shaven I might have been by my own standards; I needed to be super duper cleanly shaved by hospital standards.  

I've had my legs spread in front of male doctors for the births of both of my babies, but this was the most awkward I felt because it was just me and this young man there the time.  Everyone else was walking about or checking monitors off to the side.   It was just me, lying on my back...looking at him...all 23 years of him (at the very most)...standing over me...looking rather nervous.   He looked so nervous that I wondered if it was his first time shaving a woman's "groin" and I was praying to the saint of groins that he didn't miss and knick me somewhere else..........

I spoke first, as he just kept smiling sheepishly at me and by doing so, he was making me more nervous.   I usually make the most of awkward situations by joking my way through it, and this time was no different.

I asked him if he wanted me to do it and then we could say that he did it...that seemed to relax him a bit...and me...as it broke the silence. 

Here's something about me.....I am VERY ticklish.   Very.  As he began to shave me; I began to laugh and move about.  Now he really didn't know what to do with me.   It was the most excruciating 10 or 15 minutes as he would begin to shave and I would begin to squirm.  Then, we'd both laugh nervously...and he'd make another go of it.    He would begin to shave and I would begin to squirm and giggle.  Shave, squirm, giggle, stop.  Shave, squirm, giggle, stop.   In thinking about it all now; I'm sure to any onlookers it had to be a hilarious site to behold.

At times, I felt my reaction probably came off as a bit sexual, but I was trying to reassure him that I was just very, very ticklish.  I went so far as to tell him that he was welcome to go to the waiting room and ask my husband to verify that I was in fact, very ticklish. 

We finally got through that.   I was glad that I would very likely never have to go through that again, but for the young man...I wondered how many times he had to shave the groins of men and women having operations.   What a job, huh?  Hope there was room for advancement in his career field...whatever it was. 

It was awesomely cool to watch on the big screen as the doctor inserted the wire into my artery...even though I was mostly out of it due to the Valium.    The annoying part for me and the doctor was that the hospital had forgotten to have the prescription sent over of the stuff he wanted to inject in me to mimic the spasm and thereby determine if that is what was wrong.

Consequently, he had to abort the rest of the operation.   While his assistants got me ready for the recovery room, he, in a fit of anger, went out into the waiting room and pitched a fit....in front of my husband.  This caused my husband to believe that the doctor had "lost" me.   That I had died.   When the cardiologist realized he wasn't alone in the waiting lounge, he did everything he could to let my husband know that I was fine, but that the operation had more or less been done in vain.  He was able to determine that my arteries were clean and clear as a whistle, but he wasn't able to complete his experiment.

The worst part of recovery was that I had two people standing over me, pushing down on the groin, where the needle was inserted to stop the bleeding.  They had to do this for 20 minutes...at least... and they stood there, while I pretended to be asleep...talking about football and girlfriends and private bedroom matters, etc.    It was the longest 20 minutes of my life.  

Every so often, if I overexert myself through physical exercise...I will feel a slight twinge in my groin...and it will remind me of that young man who had to shave me and the two guys who talked "shop" as if I wasn't even in the room.  I often wonder what the young man with the razor is shaving these days?   lol.

Monday, January 3, 2011

and I quote......

"There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of the imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don't work."
Anaïs Nin