A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

My Photo
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Cuddles and the Cardiac Catheterization

As this is being published, I am most likely lying on my back in the Cardiac Department of Lankenau Hospital. Honestly, it was not my idea to start my work week in this position. It was my cardiologist’s idea that I should have a catherization performed to see if I have any blockages that need attention. For any of you, dear readers, who do not wish to be exposed to a lengthy discussion about medical procedures performed on a middle-aged male body, then please scroll down to the bottom where I have prepared an alternative blog selection for your reading pleasure: It’s a very short story about Cuddles the Teddy Bear.

Anyway, for those of you who have never enjoyed the pleasure of a cardiac catherization – for the record this will be my third (!) - I should briefly explain the procedure. The patient is given a sedative that puts him into a state of semi-sleep. A dye is injected into the bloodstream that will allow the heart to be viewed on a television screen via some sort of imaging process. An incision is made into the groin (ow!) that will accommodate an ultra-thin tube inserted through a major artery and eventually into the arteries of the heart.

Once there, the surgeon will determine if the blockage warrants an angioplasty. This procedure involves blowing up a teeny, tiny balloon on the edge of the tube, which opens up the artery. Next, a stent, which resembles a teeny, tiny meshed Slinky, is inserted. The stent will support the walls of the artery and allow blood to flow freely again.

As I stated before, I underwent two of these procedures nearly six years ago and I have not-very-fond memories of the immediate recovery period. First of all, you could not so much as lift your head for a period of six/seven hours after the procedure, because that could break off a clot from the healing incision and send it straight to the heart. In this case, the result would be, as my college biology teacher would have phrased it, “Soft music and flowers.” My college biology teacher was not at all subtle on this point.

I had no problem with that part of the recovery: I can lie on my back and nap like there’s no tomorrow. Okay, that may be a bad choice of words, but I’ll stick with it. I also don’t mind that my skin turns pretty colors at the sight of the incision. As I recall, my skin turned yellow and at least three shades of purple. An interesting effect, but I couldn’t help thinking that this was the last stage of some sort of plague and that my leg would just fall away from my body at any moment.

The worst part is the constant pressure on the bladder during this same six/seven hour time period. Even if you do relieve yourself and you feel like you’ve pissed away a gallon of fluid, the feeling of the full bladder exists. There are several options to remedy this – unfettered pissing, which would soak the sheets and the bed; having a nurse stand over me with the urine bottle for six/seven hours, or insert another catheter into the penis.

Option one has an obvious drawback. Option two involving the nurse...yeah, right! This is exactly the reason he/she went to college all those years: just to hold the piss bottle against your private parts. Of course they live for this! No matter that they have hundreds of other things to do and dozens of other patients to look after. No, the catheter is the only way out. Just a momentary sensation of extreme discomfort (ow! ow!) to shove a tube (the same size tubing Dad used to send oxygen to the guppies in his aquarium years ago) up into the urethra. There is nothing subtle about this procedure either.

My cardiologist has told me that there have been advances in catheterizations in the last five years. For one thing, I may not have to lie on my back as long as I did in the past. With any luck, I should be back blogging about the affairs of vice presidential candidates by the end of the week. Worst case scenario: soft music and flowers. Damn that biology teacher!

Blog Entry #291- Part B

Cuddles the Teddy Bear Gets Snuffed

One day, Cuddles the Teddy Bear was foraging for food in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge when he heard a helicopter overhead. He looked up and saw the governor of Alaska seated in the chopper. She was aiming a rifle with a high-powered scope at his head. “Oh my,” he thought as the rifle exploded...

(Editors note: In the name of everything that is holy and good we have deleted the remainder of this story from the blog.)


Post a Comment

<< Home