My website has been down for a few days–well, it’s been up, but I haven’t been able to do anything with it–but I’m happy to report that the angioplasty went well and since that date I’ve been to LA and back. Plus, I’m out of the BOOT! Got the doctor’s approval to go without it today, and now I’m walking in two sneakers!
The only trouble is, my leg seems to think it’s still wearing the boot. I have this funny little hitch in my get-along, as my grandmother would say, and I can’t seem to walk normally. Ah, well, I suppose I will return to normal in time.
The angioplasty: went fine, and I’d give you all the gory details except that many days have passed and I think I’ve put most of them out of my mind. But I do remember this–I tried my hardest to stay awake during the procedure and to watch the video screens that the docs use to see what they’re doing on your insides. Well, I saw the screens, and I think I asked a few questions (always curious!), but I think my questions came out slowly and slurred, just like a drunken woman’s. So after a while I think the docs just ignored me.
I DO remember feeling this cord like a snake up in my chest, and it hurt, and I gasped, and right after that someone said, “we’re all done,” and that was that. They wheeled me back to the recovery room, where I gave myself permission to sleep for a few hours. My hubby was there, and they told him everything went fine.
Here’s the truly torturous part. In my ignorance, I thought, “You’ll have to lay flat for a few hours after the procedure” meant that I’d go home and spend the rest of the day in bed. Not so. “You’ll have to lay flat for a few hours means exactly that–FLAT, no exceptions, and in my case it was 6 1/2 hours. Why? Because they literally seal your artery with a little collagen plug, and if you lift your head or your leg, you could pop your plug and bleed out in a matter of minutes.
So I lay on the hospital gurney and for the first couple of hours, it was easy–I slept. After that, it got a little tougher. They brought me lunch–two of them in fact–but it was finger foods that you can bring to your mouth, because you can’t bring your mouth to the food when you’re flat. So I ate grapes and tiny sandwiches and a banana. And I drank my diet Cokes and juice and was pretty much having a jolly old time. A little TV hung by my bedside, and I found a channel that must have been having a Law and Order marathon, because a new episode came on every hour.
But after a while, I got bored. Painfully bored. My bum felt like a huge bedsore, my bladder felt like an overinflated tire, and I was dying to MOVE. I turned my head and studied the little monitor that hung over my bed to report my up-to-the-minute EEG, breaths per minute, blood pressure, and heart rate. I was taking between 15-16 breaths per minute, so, just for fun, I practiced my deep, slow breathing until I got the rate down to 3 breaths per minute. The number turned red and stayed red, but no alarms clanged and no nurses came running. Sigh. Since that yielded no excitement, I turned my attention to other things.
Since I couldn’t move my right leg, I practiced moving my left–the one with the broken foot. I bent it. I flexed it. I hung it over the side of the bed. I propped it up, I laid it down. Poor leg, it didn’t want to do much, but I kept forcing it through all kinds of contortions just to give myself something to do.
I watched Law and Order until I wanted to scream at Olivia, whose hair seemed to change with each episode. I predicted who the murderers would be.
And finally I pressed the nurse’s call button and asked her if I could tiptoe to the restroom. No, she said, I had to stay flat. But I could use a bedpan if I had to.
Arrg. I’d never used one in my LIFE, so I told her I’d try to hold out until 6:30, when I could finally sit up.
Two hours later–after more breath holding and leg moving and Law and Order, I had to call the nurse again. Now I know just how to write a bedpan scene, should the need arise.
Finally, the nurse came in and began to unplug my bells and whistles. I could sit up. I even bent down to put on my left foot’s boot, though I really shouldn’t have done that–I wasn’t supposed to bend, push, pull, or carry anything heavier than ten pounds for 72 hours.
But when Friday morning came, I wanted to go see my friends in LA, so I packed light and off I went. I’d have kicked myself if I hadn’t done so.
And now I’m happy to say that I’m almost down to normal. And my blood pressure–the entire reason for the heart procedure–has been below 110 for the past two days. Wow.
So that’s it for the update. Thanks for your prayers. And be on the lookout for a hospital scene coming to a book near you. 🙂