I had a phone call last Friday. Could I get myself to the heart hospital by 11am Tuesday?
Yes I could.
I spent a couple of hours extra waiting time because some emergency cases had to be dealt with.
I feared they'd send me home as time went by but eventually, with apologies, I was wheeled into the 'Lab'. The team set up the monitors and arranged me comfortably under the scanner as the consultant and his registrar chatted to me about what was going to happen.
I had a sedative to muffle the discomfort and they pushed the catheter into the right arm's artery. I wasn't able to see the screen but could feel how it was going. I was warned about pain and so I wasn't frightened when it came. I started to get visual disturbances and headache from the blue radioactive dye as I did last time but I'd expected that.
It didn't hurt too much and as they'd decided to do only one stent it was over quickly. As the procedure was finishing my teeth started chattering and my hands and legs started twitching too. It was weird and I couldn't control it, even clamping my hand over my mouth didn't stop my teeth from sounding like a Fred Astaire routine. A nurse asked if I was cold, I wasn't so they told me I was reacting to one of the drugs they'd used during their 'fantastic voyage'. I didn't bother to ask which one.
It took about 15/20 minutes for these side effects to wear off, all except the headache which stuck around for another hour or more.
I was treated to innumerable cups of tea and jugs of water over the next 3 hours. I had a pressure band on my wrist to prevent any arterial bleeding and I had a sandwich and snacks once I felt up to eating. Periodically the wrist band would be loosened and my bp checked. I also had 2 ecg's.
I'd been in the unit for 7 hours by the time I was deemed ok to go home.
Everyone was wonderful. They were all cheerful; although the nurses were extremely busy they came to chat often. The registrar came to talk and I had lots of opportunity to ask questions.They had chosen not to do the 2nd stent because it was borderline but said they might do it in 6 months or so. 'Oh gooodeee' said I.
I am on blood thinners now and so can't have my breast op for one month, but today I can breathe freely and I felt really well when I woke up. I'm tired now but I'm on my way to better days.