Another hospital trip today. We were due at 8:00 AM so the interventional radiologist could fix my clogged port catheter.
Silly us. We must have misunderstood. 8:00 AM was the procedure’s scheduled time. I needed to be present at 6:30 AM!
By 7:00 AM I was stripping to my underwear in the prep room. A few minutes later Chase inserted an IV into the back of my hand.
OK — let’s hit pause for a second. If you’ve never had an IV in the back of your hand I know you’re feeling the pain right now. It’s actually a really easy place to get poked with little pain or bruising. Medical lab phlebotomists won’t do it. Nurses will.
Dr. Patel came in a few minutes later. It was he who originally put in the port. Now he was going to fix it. It was going to be easy. Nothing to it.
Doctors like to compare whatever I’m about to get to my Whipple surgery. I get it. Everything is weak tea compared to the Whipple.
While Dr. Patel was trying to be reassure me all I could think about was I don’t hurt now, I will later.
We left the holding area a few minutes before eight. My gurney followed another down the hall. It was like a ride at Disney with the vehicle ahead briefly coming into view before turning away.
Today’s OR was a new one for me. Lots of stainless steel. Retractable gas lines extended down from the ceiling. CRTs, not LCD screens. They were large, high res and probably ridiculously expensive when installed.
That’s pretty much all I remember. They opened the IV and let me have a little Versed. I commented it was very pleasant high as I drifted off.
I was still on the table when Dr Patel came to tell Helaine there was a change of plans. The easy tug to fix my port hadn’t worked. Instead they’d be attaching a new catheter to the existing port.
This meant two incisions. The first was in my groin for the tug that didn’t work. The second is in my neck. It did the trick.
What was supposed to be a half hour ended up as two hours in the operating room. More minutes meant more anesthesia. I slept another two hours after that.
I am told my port now works. It won’t be tested until my next chemo session next week.
As for pain, this produced much less than expected. When I think about things too much my fear turns real. I should be smarter by now. I should be.
We got home around 2:00 PM. I went to work. It’s very cold in Nebraska.
Having cancer really is like having a second job.