The Magical Mystery Tour…
Just a quick update because I’ve gotten a few people reaching out wondering the outcome of the cardiac catheterization.
I had it done on December 30th at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It’s always comforting when I have the chance to have procedures/tests done there, I feel like I am in the best hands and trust my medical team implicitly. Plus, I get to hand pick my nurse. That’s you, Car!!!
Steve and I arrived to CHOP at 8am, and I was already cranky because I hadn’t eaten since 10pm the night before. I chatted and caught up with Shea, the receptionist, and soon I was taken back to the cardiac prep area.
Carlee, who was my preceptor in my Cardiac ICU days at CHOP, was the lucky one who got to be my nurse. It was nice to be chatting and gossiping with her and it almost felt like I never left. Eventually I had to change out of my clothes, and Carlee had to get up close and personal and stick a giant padded, heart-shaped sticker on my tailbone. No pressure sores for this gal! Poor Car got to see parts of me she probably never thought she ever would. I guess she should be glad I didn’t need a foley.
Butt sticker in place, someone from IV team came in and got an IV on the first try (victory!), and Carlee went out to see if she could give me my pre-meds. She came back in without the meds, and that LOOK that every nurse who was ever had to give this news knows what I’m talking about.
There was an emergency in the Cardiac ICU, a patient had to go emergently to the cath lab, so I was bumped until that case was finished.
My stomach rumbled in anger, but what could I do? I’ve been the patient who had to be rushed to the cath lab, I’ve been the nurse taking care of the patient who was rushed to the cath lab, and I’ve been the nurse who had to tell the parents that their child was being bumped for an emergency case. None of those are ideal scenarios, and all I could do was wait.
I put my clothes back on and Steve, Brie and I ventured down to the first floor so they could get something to eat. I may have snarled at them both as I watched them chew their breakfasts and drink their hot coffee.
We wandered to the main atrium where a woman was playing on a baby grand piano (true story), and relaxed as we listened to the beautiful music. Steve played a game on his cell, and Brie and I watched YouTube video clips of john Oliver Last Week Tonight and laughed hysterically. Eventually, we ventured back up to the cardiac prep unit.
2+ hours later I finally got my pre-meds, and was wheeled back to the cath lab. In my Valium haze, I remember giggling and warning the nurses in the room that I didn’t have any nipples. Didn’t want to scare anyone, especially Dr. Rome. Just thinking about him being surprised when my gown was removed made me crack up.
Despite trying to find something that would explain why my oxygen saturations have been dropping with exercise, Dr. Rome found nothing, which, in theory, is great. But, there is documentation indicating this drop, so it all remains a mystery.
I did my 6 hours lying flat on my back, and I was home in bed by midnight.
I spent New year’s Eve resting and recovering, and I’m pretty sure I woke up on the couch at 11:57pm, batted at Steve saying “It’s almost New Years!” and at 12:01 we went up to bed. Exciting stuff.
I heard from my cardiologist last week, and she spent some time speaking with my pulmonologist to see what the next plan of action would be. They’ve both indicated there is in fact something wrong causing this drop and cyanosis, but neither can put their finger on it. Another case of Mystery Diagnosis for yours truly, and what’s coming up in two weeks sounds like something out of the Saw movies.
An Exercise ABG test. ABG stands for arterial blood gas, a test that measures the acidity (pH) and levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, and it’s used to check how well your lungs are able to move oxygen into and remove CO2 from the blood. An ABG test uses blood from an artery, where the oxygen and CO2 levels can be measured before they enter body tissues.
So OK, arterial stick doesn’t sound too bad. Yes, they cause more discomfort than a venous stick (when you have blood drawn, it is taken from a vein) due to the thicker walls of arteries, they are deeper than veins and contain more nerves. After blood is drawn from an artery, pressure needs to be applied for 5-10 minutes until the bleeding has stopped. but all in all, I’ve had much worse.
But this is an exercise ABG. I will lay on my back and one of my arms will be strapped down so it can’t move as I’m stuck for each arterial blood draw. Some sort of bike contraption will be placed at my feet, and I’ll be told to pedal on said bike contraption to get my heart rate up. A cardiac stress test of sorts, while on my back with an arm strapped down. EKG leads will be on my chest, a pulse oximeter and blood pressure cuff on the non-strapped down hand.
The best part? I’ll be stuck a bunch of times in my artery WHILE PEDALING so my doctors can get accurate readings of my O2 and CO2 levels.
Pedaling. On my back. With an arm strapped down. Hooked up to a million wires. Needles stuck into an artery while I’m drained of precious blood. Done at the ADULT hospital.
Just when I think I’ve endured pretty much every test out there, a new one comes along. I spoke to Dr. Kim (my cardiologist) yesterday and she said “Marla, there IS something wrong, and Dr. Carstens (pulmonary doc) and I both agree this is the next step to figure it out.”
Oh thank goodness, I was worried they were making me do these tests for shits and giggles.
Never a dull moment.
Love you all <3