As many of you know I went into the hospital in October of 2017 with heart attack symptoms. I subsequently had open heart surgery and was in the hospital for two weeks. When I got out I couldn't believe how fresh the air felt (two weeks in a hospital is a stretch) and I felt like I wanted to share my experiences as a heart patient. So I'm going to do that periodically- share my experiences in the hospital, and how it felt to come to grips with a diagnosis like that. This is by nature a personal post, but I hope it will be helpful or informative to someone if they or someone they know goes through something similar.
So I'm going to talk about the heart catheterization procedure. This is where the doctor will thread a very thin catheter through your vein or artery into the heart to see what's happening. The catheter has a tiny camera on it that allows them to see the chambers of the heart. I've had relatives who've had it done and they said it was a piece of cake, but I was always skeptical. They commonly go through a blood vessel in the leg or your wrist, and thankfully my team went with the wrist approach. Going through the leg did not seem like a piece of cake to me!
To be honest, it was a breeze. I was wheeled in and the nurses were fabulous- they were funny, joking around, and efficient. They don't put you out but they do sedate you to keep you calm, and frankly I felt very little. They warned me that I might feel a slight pressure in my wrist as they inserted the cath, and I might feel a slight flushing in my arm briefly- I did feel both, but there was no pain at all. It was so easy! And it was over before I knew it. Throughout the process the nurses kept it light and humorous- I joked after word that it was the most "fun" procedure I had the whole time I was there. Now that may have just been that particular team, but I can't say enough good things about that group.
The other thing that cracked me up was that they had classic rock playing when I was wheeled in, and between that and their joking around they totally set me at ease. I thought it interesting that my favorite song- Barracuda by Heart- was playing as I was there. That had to be a good sign right? And sure enough, it went by in a flash and I was done. Now the results did confirm that I had had a heart attack, and I'll get into that at a later time. But the takeaway for me is- if you ever need a catheterization done, don't be afraid. They're very efficient, low- risk, and my experience was very positive. I'm sure there are instances that have not been as positive as mine, but I personally thought it was a breeze. Good music helps though too.