All I can see is a small section of the room I am in. With my head and chest wrapped in surgical cloth I imagine I am in the process of being turned into a mummy. Thankfully this is not the case and I am instead in the middle of the third attempt to remove a filter from the vein supplying my heart with blood that was protecting blood clots from entering it.
They give me some fentanyl for pain which helps as they then give me a local anesthetic in my neck where they then insert a succession of wires, catheters and x-rays to first of all see if there are any clots trapped in the filter (if more than 10 percent they stop and try again later - this part is called a venogram). Relief, they find that the filter is clear. At this point the only pain I feel is a pushing and pulling at my neck.
They then proceed to try and "lasso" one end of the filter with a wire snare... Yes folks this is the Wild West. After about thirty minutes of this my right side of my back is getting pretty sore from tensing up every time they tug and pull and I ask for more pain medication. It helps. Not being able to see much of anything I focus on the conversation in the room.
Turn the catheter... Okay there now advance... Extend the lasso... Wait wait ok missed the hook lets back out and try again (they are getting visual feedback from a live x-Ray). For me throughout most of this experience I am surprised by my lack of anxiety. Partly this is due to the pain meds and most I think is due to a level of trust I have developed with the docs in the interventional radiology group... This being my fifth or sixth procedure there.
Only when it had been an hour of playing go fish in my arteries did I start to feel a bit anxious. Luckily this was right when they lassoed the filter and were able to remove it. Another wild Wild West experience from the wizards/cowboys in the interventional radiology group.
Dan and Company
We got this... This has been the mantra of Dan's friends and family as they help him navigates a difficult medical rodeo ride. This blog contains entries from Dan as well as his friends and family.