Sunday, February 12, 2012

A light at the end of the tunnel

So, last Monday I went and saw a gastrointestinal specialist who took one good look at my poor, deformed body and wasted no time in getting me for a doppler ultrasound (to make sure there was no blockage on the veins & arteries around my liver) and an abdominal paracentesis, which is fancy medical language for WE GONNA TAP YOU LIKE A KEG AT A FRAT PARTY!

Sloshing around with this huge belly for the last few months, I already knew we were going to have to do this manually but holy fuckballs was I nervous. Twenty-two years ago I had my second open heart surgery and the day after I was released from the hospital I "sprung a leak" on my right side where my stitches (from tubes) were. I went back via ambulance and was drained manually - still awake and screaming my head off in massive pain. I believe in out of body experiences specifically due to this event in my life because I have a crystal clear memory of sitting up in a small examining room as a bunch of staff held me down, me with my eyes closed screaming at the top of my lungs as they did whatever the hell they did then to drain me - probably a tube.

The next day I went into full blown tachycardia. One of the first times in my life, so it was still new and frightening to everyone. So you can imagine how my mom and I were having flashbacks like a Vietnam veteran when we knew this is what was going to happen.

The ultrasound went off without a hitch, that was one of the best tests ever done, due mostly to the fact that my sonographer was made of pure awesome (as most are). Come Friday, however, when it came time for my tap, it really took all of my energy to not bolt.

I don't puss out on medical tests easily but I am a big baby when it comes to
1) ANYTHING to do with my stomach, as it is incredibly sensitive
2) Novocaine/skin anesthetic because it is hit or miss if I will have a bad reaction to it

So, I get an IV in because they're also going to be pumping in a solution that will help keep my fluids regular and prevent (hopefully) vertigo and other bad reactions. We wait forever for some blood tests to get in and then I am escorted to the room it'll be done in. My doctor comes in and introduces himself.

Now, I don't normally give out the names of medical professionals I see because I doubt they ever want to be associated with me or this blog but I have to share this with you.
His name is Dr. Moriarty.
No. Fucking. Shit.
You bet I gave him hell. I cackled right in his face and let it be known that my mom and I are life-long Sherlock Holmes fans. He winced, obviously having lived a very painful life full of mockery in comparison to one of the greatest literary villains of all time. I failed to tell him I'd CHANGE my name to Moriarty if I had to taken on any villainous last name. It's a cool name, for one, and second - it's a cool fucking name!

So they shoo out my mom and get me prepped and I am a big bag of whimpering wuss right now. Jose, the assisting tech, could not have been the more ideal individual to be on duty that day. He set his iPhone Pandora station to oldies for me and held my hand good and tight as EVIL DOCTOR MORIARTY (just kidding, he was super nice) stuck me with that goddamn needle, on the right side of my abdomen.

And golly gee, folks, wouldn't you know it? It hurt like a bitch.

There were tears and screams and I'm sure the rest of radiology was wondering if the good doctor was indeed living up to his infamous name. Which I had full intentions of Giving Him Shit For with every crack under the sun but damned if that pain was so scathing-joke-repellent that I just couldn't muster the brain power to ask him how his evil laugh was coming along or if he had pushed anyone off a cliff lately.

Jose was such a trooper, holding my hand, brushing my hair back from my face, and telling me how good I was doing despite being a total pussy. They were pretty amazed I was in as much pain as my ear-shattering shrieks indicated, but yes, folks, hate to admit it - it was that shitty for me. I know it is a walk in the park for some people to go through but not for me.

It was all over within 20 minutes and three liters had been taken out of my abdomen - can you believe it? I weighed 10 lbs more just SIX DAYS AGO! Wow. I instantly felt lighter, emptier, in my abdomen area. After waiting out the minor dizziness I had and having my IV removed, I headed for the cafeteria and ate a feast before heading home.

I haven't been able to sleep on my right side since the procedure and I have been fighting a little bit with my heart in the arena of palpitations but overall I am doing better. Still waiting for my physical form to "deflate" as it were and go back to normal, but I am one giant step closer to being back to normal.

It still really hurts to laugh and sneeze, though, so once those basic human functions are entirely painless I know I'll be at 100%

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week: Tips for the Professional Patient

I never thought I'd be making a video blog but then my friend Annie foolishly gives me a Flip camera for Christmas and now I'm sticking my face on YouTube. So here is my contribution to Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. Enjoy.