Hi, all. So here’s how the day went:
8am: report to the lab for pre-angio blood work. This is where they test you for kidney function and blood clotting factors. The dye they use can hurt you if you have impaired kidney functions.
8:30: report to the interventional radiology department for the angiogram prep. Gotta take off your clothes and put on one of those god-awful gowns- everything goes. Its a treat when they bring the warm blankets and hospital socks to keep you warm. A nurse comes in and asks about meds I’m on, when I’ve eaten or drank last and ask about drug allergies. She also reinforces that she’s got good drugs to take the edge off during the procedure, but I will definitely be awake during the angio.
The radiologist comes in a little later (looks like he just graudated from high school) and goes over the consent form. Nice guy- makes me feel confident. I ask him how many of these he’s done. He says, “hundreds”. I have a hard time believing he’s had time in his life to do a hundred of anything, but I can’t worry about that!
Funny thing- he has a student with him to observe. The student’s name is Sword- I kid you not. Appropriate for a surgeon, eh?
9:30: they wheel me in to the treatment room, slide me onto the table, hook up the IV. Sort of looks like the bridge of a starship with all of the screens they’ll use to see the catheter and dye inside me. The nurse is friendly, we chat to ease the anxiety, she gives me drugs, I love her even more.
9:50: the radiologist and Sword come in, say “hi” and are ready to get started. I feel a little sting as they start the catheter in my groin. For the next hour I sort of float in and out of things as the drugs work their magic. I feel pain a couple of times. The radiologist apologizes, says “Sorry, we bumped a bone.” I really don’t want to hear that, would rather not know. I only feel a flush one time in my head. Really isn’t a bad experience at all.
11:30: they are finished. The radiologist steps over to my head and says the procedure went well. He says he sees that one of the veins of the AVM has ‘inappropriate blood flow’ meaning that the radiostactic surgery hasn’t shut down the blood flow to the AVM yet. (Damn).
11:40: back in the recovery room. They order lunch for me and monitor me for 4 hours. They check my insertion point for bleeding or a hematoma, my blood pressure and pulse every hour. It’s boring, but I sleep a little and pretty much just zone out for the time.
3:30: we can go home. I get instructions for changing the dressing, strict bed rest for 24 hours, no lifting, what to do if it bleeds or becomes swollen. They remove the IV from my hand, I get dressed and we head home.
I have a follow up MRI in 2 weeks. My neurologist will look at the 2 tests and we’ll see where we go from here. Seems as if my options are (1) wait longer to see if the radiation works, (2) get another dose of radiation, (3) consider embolization for any remaining AVM feeders or (4) the radiologist was mistaken and things are proceeding just fine.
I refuse to stress about it. I think having a guy named Sword in the room is a portent of good, unusual things!
Today, I am just hanging out in bed, watching TV and doing some work on the laptop. I have a little discomfort when I walk, but its not a big deal.
I’ll update you all on Part III after September 4th’s appointment.