The Procedure

by MuchoGroucho aka Michael Cohen

The Procedure

I had a procedure done yesterday, a heart cathiterization. I can hardly pronounce the word cathiterization and need to break it up into 2 parts: catheter – ization. Heart disease runs in my family. As I write my mother is in rehab after having double bypass surgery done. She also had numerous stents put in. They are made of stainless steel and I’m surprised when she goes into security at the airport the bells don’t go off like a pinball machine! We knew when she was getting better when she sat up a little and whispered: “Did you eat?”

My mother’s younger brother died from cardiac arrest at age 60. He was waiting for a heart transplant that never came. He even ran away for a while and it was all over the news in Israel. My uncle David smoked around 3-4 packs of cigarettes a day. At today’s prices of cigarettes one would need to take out a second mortgage to keep up with that kind of demand. My brother got checked out a couple of years ago and they found some clogging in his blood ways as well.

Call me Mr. Curious but I wanted to know what my own situation looked like. So I volunteered to do the cathiter-ization. I told my doctor, Doctor George that my brother complains of pain from the procedure every time it rains and the doctor told me “not when I do it” so I felt confident that it wouldn’t be too bad. But man, I was wrong!

They originally wanted me to show up at 6AM and I called to cancel and said I cannot ask anybody to drive me at 5:30AM. Another reason I wanted to cancel is that I am not a morning person and getting up at 5AM really did not appeal to me. So I was secretly relieved at the thought of cancelling but they accommodated me and reset the schedule and had me come in at 9AM. Great! When I arrived at the hospital and I was checking in they had two different doctors listed who were to do my cathiterization. I objected because my doctor did not appear on the list. When the lady checked into it she said Dr. S would be also in the room. When I saw Dr S. who I will from now on call George because he let me down, I told him “I thought that YOU were going to do the cathiterization and he said he would be with another doctor.

They gave me a valium which in my twenties I would pop like candy so I told them I have a high resistance to the little yellow pill and pain killers in general, hoping that they would give me Oxy-Contin and maybe I could have a few for the road but they gave me different pain killer intravenously. They also shot me up with Novocain in the spot on my groin where they would be going in with a tiny camera. When they were ready to do the surgery, it was the OTHER doctor that made the incision and started burrowing up my artery and did I mention it was done in my groin? Man, did it hurt, even with the Novocain and they gave me another shot of it but it didn’t help. I felt a sharp pain coupled with an intense pressure, which I equate as a pain on top of another pain. It was like they were going in with a knitting needle while an elephant sat on my loins. When they went in, I was able to see my heart, the lap band that was tied around my stomach (it looked like a small Gucci belt) and I could see my arteries. When it was done the male nurse was putting pressure on my wound with his finger like the kid with his finger in a dike to hold back the water. Well he was holding back my blood!

When it was done or almost done Dr George told me that I have 65% blockages in some arteries, 60% in others and 40% blockage in my left major artery. Although 40% sounds a lot better, this artery would not accommodate a stent so if it get’s really clogged I would need bypass surgery. But of course I was doing the math-let’s see it took around 50 years to get 40% blockage that means I probably won’t have 80% blockage until I’m 100 but I don’t believe it works that way. In the end Dr S. apologized for the pain and discomfort I experienced to say the least, and he told me “if I had done it you wouldn’t have felt any pain at all!! Thanks a lot!!! I felt like I got the ol’ bait and switch. If it wasn’t so painful I would have laughed!

They left me laying in recovery for 5 hours and I drifted into a half sleep here and there. I was so hungry and when I ordered my tuna fish on rye I asked for potato chips! I like potato chips with my tuna and a nice sour pickle. It’s amazing! I just went through this ordeal and I asked for potato chips, which they refused to give me. I also wanted to smoke a cigarette but I am pretty sure that would have been a no-no! I was instructed not to drive for 3 days, which totally ruined my Christmas plans. My sister Debbie drove me and picked me up and I can’t understand why I can be a passenger in a car but not drive one. Now, thank God I feel no pain at all but I am not supposed to bend down or lift anything 10 pounds or more. I would like to lift Dr. George and throw him out the window. Now I am going to try to eat better having been surprised that my arteries were not filled with cream cheese. Ice cream is my weakness but I will try to limit that pleasure as well. I don’t feel scared but concerned but like I said I have another 50 years before I need to worry!

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