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More from the paddock

July 27th, 2012 2 comments

A warning. This post could be quite long as I am very pleased to find that I am alive, that I still have a brain and that I am able to think and write about my recent adventures.

The groin. Now I always thought that it was only footballers who had a groin, as in “did me groin”. A euphemism for being kicked in the testicles. But it seems I was wrong. Ordinary humans have them too. But I can report that the groin is actually an area adjacent to the testicular region, a bit more north, and a bit to the side. I know this now because Fay shaved it for me in preparation for my procedure. She did both sides – a kind of Brazilian for men. And it was quite heart warming when I was studying the hairs on the floor that they seemed to be long and dark, no short and curly ones, and no grey ones! And did you know that the groin is the pathway to the heart? As lads we had an intuitive understanding that this was the case, but had heaps of trouble convincing the girls of its veracity.

I’m up for an EP study and an RF ablation procedure. The main risk of course is a stroke, so I’ve been on Warfarin, the rat poison, for the last three weeks, with a blood test every other day to check the levels. An EP study is an electrophysiological study of the cause of my arrhythmia, which has now been diagnosed as atrial flutter. Sparksy is going to bung a catheter up my femoral vein and stimulate the heart to reproduce the problem. Then he will ablate the rogue areas of tissue with radio frequency. Normally it is just a local anaesthetic but I’m going to get a full general. At least it’s the vein and not the artery that they use for angiograms, so hopefully, my chances of a stroke are reduced.

I’m wheeled into the cath lab at 2 pm. There must be 8 to 10 people here, all scrubbed up to look after me. Brett the anaesthetist says I will wake up with a sore throat and maybe a bit of bruising on my wrist. I ask him to look after my brain. He cannulates me in the middle of my left bicep and says he’s going to give me a sedative. It will feel just like a glass of wine. The last thing I remember is asking him: “Is it a good red?”

I wake up being wheeled up to the cardiac ward. 4.30 pm. Two and a half hours. The Missus is pleased it’s all over. My throat is sore and my voice very scratchy from the endo-tracheal tube. And I’ve probably had a transoesophageal echo probe poked down as well. Look that up on Wikipedia! I’m only allowed ice, but it’s a blessed relief. No moving for four hours, gradually perking up. The Missus keeps watching my heart rate monitor and gets panicky when it slowly rises from 66 to over 100. She accosts Sparksy coming out of the lift. He says it is not asymptomatic and don’t look at the monitor. She rings my brother and he too says don’t look at the monitor! The monitor is removed. At 10.30 pm The Missus is kicked out of the hospital, protesting. She wanted to stay all night, but they threatened to charge her for a room. But I’ll be fine. I’ve loaded my iPhone with an eclectic mix of Enya, Dire Straits, Pavarotti and Vivaldi. And I’m searching for the magnetic south pole with Douglas Mawson in Peter Fitzsimons mammoth book about the Antarctic ice men. There’s no point trying to sleep, so I amuse myself trying to count all the sites where I’ve been cannulated or jabbed. Bicep, elbows, forearm, hand, wrist, belly, groin. I’ve got tracks like a heroin addict. And I explore my bed to find out why my backside feels so sticky. I’ve been sitting in a pool of half-dried blood, about two feet in diameter, for over 8 hours. They must have lifted me in this sheet from the operating table in the catheter lab onto the bed. Eventually I drift off for half an hour between 2.45 and 3.15 am! I’m still awake so they ECG me at 4 am. I watch the sun slowly rise on a new day. Isn’t that one of life’s pleasures!

Counting cannulas

Sparksy lobs in at 9 o’clock. It was a successful procedure. He found the rogue electrical circuit and ablated it in three places. It was one of the quickest he’s ever done. I’m fixed up!  See him again in 3-4 months.

There are a lot of people I’d like to thank. The ambos, Jade and Andy, for rescuing me. The Epworth Emergency Department staff for saving my life, Dr Paul Sparks and the catheter lab team for fixing me up, all the nurses in the cardiac ward, The Missus for staying by my side, my kids, brothers, friends and neighbours for all their support, the Bristol crew for their concern, and of course, all horse watchers. My Mother had some famous sayings, including: “Not everyone can be a professor, Geoffrey”. I’ve just about come to terms with that. My grandmother had a couple of good ones too, including: “Count your blessings” and “If you’re healthy, you’re wealthy”. Now that one could be good for a chapter title in the next book: The horse watcher rides again!


2 Responses to “ More from the paddock ”

  1. AJ says:

    So glad to read that you appear to be on the mend. Seems a spell might be in order? If its good enough for Black Cavar?? Hope the recovery proceeds smoothly for you!

  2. AJ says:

    Argh! Java inflicts spelling errors again!

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