I had hit the snooze button on my iphone 4 times before deciding to actually get up and get ready to head to Day Surgery. The clock read 6:20am. Today was finally the day of my third angiogram. This was to follow up on my surgery for the removed AVM and hopefully, tell where any more bleeds were in my brain that could possibly cause my brain to swell and cause the Post-Ictal symptoms that I experience regularly. I needed to be registered at Shannon by 7am so I got up, combed through my thick curly hair, and put it up into a high ponytail.
I had already decided to wear one of Ricardo’s Polo sweaters to keep me warm in the 50 degree weather. I checked the time again and was running late so I grabbed my purse and went out the door to meet my mom. It was cold outside. I began to lose more and more feeling through my right side and decided to use my cane to walk in the building. Hospital volunteers asked if my family would be meeting me before the procedure and it almost shocked them when I would reply with a No. “If you will sign this paper, this is showing the total procedure cost and your co-pay that is due..” The $0 copay made me feel so much better about being there in the first place. It was one less thing to worry about.
I routinely signed my life away and was walked to my room on the 3rd floor. I met the nurse, got into my gown, and was then connected to IV, EKG and oxygen. I waited. And waited.. And waited. I was watching my black and white movies when the nurse popped in to bring in fresh warm blankets. My room was freezing and I could barely lift my leg. When I’m cold, my right side gets heavier. It takes more strength and concentration for me to try to move and walk correctly. The nerves are going wild trying to figure out whats going on and moving becomes a workout. She began to ask me about my tattoos when the transporter came in to take me down to Xray. “Are you ready to go down to Xray?” He asks. I smiled and said “Yes, but first… Let me take a selfie..” He and the CNA both laughed.. and 3 very quick seconds later.. I was in the familiar angiogram room.
It’s like a reunion every time I go through those doors. I am greeted with the warmest smiles and kindest “Hello’s.” I quickly signed everything and told the nurses and the Dr performing the study that I was nervous about the pain. They walked me through the process again and told me that hitting the nerve nearby was also a risk that would also cause that pain. I agreed to go on with the procedure. How could I hold myself back from such an important study? I was laying on the table when the lights were turned off.. and I started to pray. I prayed for strength and I prayed that I would not face the pain that I felt the last time. The Dr began to warn me of the burning I would feel from the anesthesia and the procedure began.
I was staring at the ceiling when I felt my neck muscles tense up from the small test injection. “OK Here we go try to be as still as you can.” The first spray was incredibly hard to deal with. The room turned 45 degrees and I almost lost consciousness. Ill have you know that never happens to me. “Alright now we are going to do 1 more spray right here sweetie. Hold very still ok.” The room tilted and my collarbone began to feel it was being pushes downwards.. The doctors came back in and began to feel nauseous. I joked around with the nurse while she set up suction, saying that I felt all these side effects because I had absolutely no narcotics in my system. The 2nd sets were worse. He moved the catheter to the artery on the left side of my neck and I immediately felt like I had been thrown against a wall. My neck, collarbone and back felt like they were swelling up and it was really hard to keep my jaw and body still.. but I had to stay as still as possible, the Wall-E looking machine had to be re-positioned every time the doctor would inject more dye. The doctor reminded me that these were the last 2 that I was going to half to deal with, and everyone exited the room again. I can’t even begin to explain how odd everything felt. My muscles felt like they were being stretched and burned at the same time.. These two sets were so painful to my right eye that I even went half blind. The staff came back in and I was so focused on my right eye being out of focus that I didn’t even realize that the catheter was out of my groin and the procedure was over.
Half of my vision out of my right eye was fuzzy and I was curious as to why it wasn’t going away. I stared at the new images of my brain while the nurse called the doctor back in. I lost focus of my blurry vision and began to concentrate more on the new findings on the screen. It doesn’t happen everyday, but I learned that the pain bothered my eye so much that it caused an Ocular Migrane, and my vision was going to be blurred until my eye basically felt better. i was happy with that news and focused on the pictures I saw while the staff got the room cleaned up. I was placed back on my bed and felt a little sad when the double doors opened and everyone said their goodbyes.. “We wish you the best of luck, Brittany..” I smiled and thanked everyone.
I closed my eyes and woke up in a new room covered in warm blankets. Not even 30 minutes went by before I was woken up by the pain. Any movement made me feel like I tearing the muscles in my leg and groin. The nurses couldn’t contact the doctors and I was not allowed to have anything just yet.. I stared at the clock and felt more and more of my pain spread and disappear. It took me an hour and a half for the pain to somewhat go away before I realized that I had lost feeling in my leg again. Ricardo couldn’t be at the hospital with me, but he let me know how angry he was at the Doctors for not giving me any pain medication. I was discouraged. I thought about how I was possibly going to have to deal with the angiograms causing the problems in the future, and how I lose progress that I have made in Rehab because of the loss of feeling that I experience.. Any movement hurt, so I fell asleep.
I woke up to my mom opening the door with one of the worlds greatest ideas in her hand. Banana milkshakes. I finally felt a little better and were discussing my upcoming lymph node biospy when my doctors assistant walked in. As always I smiled and said hello, anxious to hear the news from him about the angiogram. I wasn’t expecting what he had to say.
“We have found another bleed in your brain that was not there before..” he said. “We are seeing a draining vein in an area that we did not operate on. It is not hemorrhaging, but it is bleeding. We are going to make the referral and get you in with the specialists there..”
I don’t remember much after that. I could see my moms face begin to crinkle and blush out of the corner of my eye. I nodded my head while the PA spoke and heard my mom ask him questions with fear in his voice.. My blood pressure began to rise while whooshing sounds began to fill my head. I was shaking when he left the room. My mom was trying to hold back the tears and I wondered why I didn’t pray to God for everything to be ok with my scan..
“So what did he say again?” I asked.