Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Heart Cath

If you read my previous post about the patient advocate then you know I went in for a heart cath.  I want to write about my experience WITHOUT Versed to alleviate any concerns my friends and readers may have about the procedure.  I myself had turned down this procedure out of concern for getting Versed "the wonder drug".  I finally broke down and had it, more as a way to rule out my physical problem as stemming from my heart.

I had spoken to my cardiologist about the procedure and Versed and he AGREED with me about sedation with Versed.  Unfortunately for everybody, especially me, my previous experience with medical care was that they used lies and subterfuge to get me to the hospital and once there they proceeded to do anything and everything THEY wanted in defiance of my wishes and the law.  They were all in on the attack together so I trust NOBODY affiliated with the health care machine.  It's a bad situation to be in, when you know something is wrong, but are afraid to get necessary treatment for fear of Versed.  It's agonizing.

So, after I consented to the procedure I went home and looked on-line for a patient advocate and hired one.  She was there at the hospital with me, helped me fill out the advanced directive and cross out the parts I objected to in the "informed consent".  She monitored the input the nurse put in the computer which allowed me to relax.  She knew what I wanted and didn't want.  My nurse was on board with it too.

They took me to a room and threaded the tube into a vein.  I was surrounded by machinery and some really nice nurses, both male and female.  The pain was minimal, even though the tube was inserted in the tender groin area.  Of course I had a little Fentanyl on board to augment the local anesthetic, so it really was quite comfortable.

They threaded the thing right into my heart, injected some dye and looked around.  Part of the time I could watch the screen.  Fascinating.  I listened to the doctor's remarks.  All the while I was completely relaxed and comfortable.  I wasn't even bored, which is quite a feat.  Some of the stuff they gave me caused strange sensations.  One was heat which diffused through my body from head to toes and was gone.  One of them caused me to breathe hard.  I mentioned that it was getting progressively harder to breathe and was reassured by a pat on the shoulder and comforting words from my nurse that was handling the Fentanyl.  Once again she offered me Benadryl as a calming agent which I refused.  She was enough to keep me calm.

There was no pain from any of this.  I did feel a twinge, not to the point of pain, once.  Then it was gone.  As it turns out I had to get a stent.  I was not happy about this because I hadn't really given permission for the stent... I had been convinced that my problem was non-cardiac, but I certainly wasn't going to spring to my feet or argue with my cardiologist.  I had to trust that he knew best...and he did.

The most pain I felt was when the doctor removed the catheter.  I asked for, and got, a little more Fentanyl.  In the recovery room I got some Oxycontin in a pill and some more Zofran.  Couldn't be better.

I grumped about the stent being inserted and being FORCED to take Plavix.  I get injured all the time on my job and I don't need to be bleeding all over the truck.  I was NOT happy about taking a drug in this catagory.  I have a friend who is on Coumadin and his legs look competely black and purple.  He can't work any more.   The whole idea of having the tests was so that I could continue my physical job.  Plavix is different and I have zero complaints so far.

Once the Oxy wore off I couldn't believe how much better I felt!  Taking Plavix is a fair exchange for feeling so much better.  Getting a surprise stent is worth feeling 10 years younger.  The additional favorable thing is that I will be perfectly fine going to that hospital again with my advocate.  No more being spooked.  My doctor didn't lie to me when he said I would not be given Versed.  The nurses didn't lie to me and then give me Versed anyway.  Everybody treated me like I was a normal adult, not a "nutcase" like the crna's pretend I am.

I also got to go home the same day.  The hospital had started sending otherwise healthy stent patients HOME instead of making us stay overnight.  They started that in November of last year, so I was the recipient of that common sense idea as well.  The rest of my family didn't have to worry about me being gone and my dog got his "mom" to snuggle.

As usual I would be happy to answer any more specific questions, all you have to do is drop me an e-mail at

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