Two and one-half hours later...
Trip Start Jul 25, 2010
20Trip End Aug 03, 2010
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"I was met by a serious Bulgarian hospital orderly (somehow parts of that statement is redundant - you choose the redundancy). He asked me what area I was from. When I replied Canada he said he had friends in Montreal and Toronto. I immediately thought if there was a possibility that I could get him to Canada to visit his friends, I would - - as i would bestow any favor at that moment.
Down the elevator to the operating theater where I was met by different Inga and Ingas - with slightly better dispositions than other Ingas. The Ingas helped me onto the operating table in the theater and they explained to me the purpose of the x-ray machines. They hooked me up to pulse and blood pressure monitors and the surgeon showed up a minute later.
After introducing himself, the Dr. took a serious stance and asked me the question, "Do you have a heart problem?" I wasn't sure how to answer because I've never had a heart issue but I also didn't want the procedure to be jeopardized by my answer. So I said "No, why do you ask?" He pointed toward the monitor and said "you're on an operating table and your pulse rate is 50. That is not normal".
I told him I've been swimming an awful lot . He produced a broad grin, patted me on the head and said, "We're going to be just fine". Then they froze my groin and then but a dilutent into the IV line and then made an incision in my groin and started work on my left jugular.
The severe stenosis that was discovered earlier in the day was further explained to be almost 100% narrowed and he confirmed that my right jugular was also completely narrowed as well. This verified that I have, for the last decade, only had trace levels of blood flowing through.
The Dr. stated that because of the severe stenosis, he was going to apply aggressive treatment. I told him I was OK with that. He then asked "how tough are you, and how much pain can you withstand?" I told him I'm pretty tough... lol. He relayed that in terms of balloon angioplasty (sp), he was going to as high as 8 atmospheres (sp). I said OK.
He "ballooned" me 10 (ten) times on the left jugular., It took concentration not to black out. So I found my 'Happy' place' and when the nurse asked if i needed any pain meds and I didn't respond till the third time she asked the question, I heard the Dr. say "I don't' know if he's conscious".
But I was... lol.
After that, he duplicated the procedure to the right jugular and ballooned it 10 times as well. But, I accepted their offer of pain medication at this point. He check my azygous (sp?) vein located in the chest and found it to be 70% narrowed. He ballooned it 6 or 7 times and then thanked me for 'doing my job' which meant listening and responding to everything he asked me to do.
This ended the procedure and he asked me if I noticed any changes right then. I told him that the fingertips in my right hand -- there was feeling in my fingertips for the first time in a decade. As far as measuring success - that's the only appendage that is either NOT bandaged up solidly or immobilized, so that is the only thing I can measure right now. But I can feel sensation in my fingertips that hasn't been there for 10 years!
The nurses disconnected me from all machines, and the Dr. helped bandaged me (in Bulgaria, the surgeon is part of the team from beginning to end - helping with all aspects of the procedure including bandaging - - - because you are 'their' patient). He kept asking about any changes in sensation - he was very interested in any physical changes I was experiencing.
He followed along with me from the operating theater to my room".
Kim here again now...
Doc just took a few sips of water and fell asleep soundly. Guess he is not ready for the coke, souvlaki and salad that nurse Inga put there BEFORE his procedure - remember - he hasn't eaten since last night (so I'm thinking this is some sort of weird torture).
Doc's hooked up to a bag of blood thinner and has his right leg strapped immobile. He was instructed to not move at all - until tomorrow. I heard him tell the orderly that he's really good with bedpans - so it won't be any problem.
It's 11:00 p.m. here now. I think he's out for the night.
Special thanks to everyone for reading and responding to the blog responses - helps break up a sort of long day and connects me/us closer to home!