Thursday, September 8, 2011

All Is Well

Whether Catherine's procedure was a success or a failure depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, we know her heart is healthy and ready to handle some serious stress. On the other hand, the doctors were unable to induce any irregular beats and therefore unable to perform the ablation, so the possibility remains that Catherine's condition could come back in the future.

We got a late start this morning, but only because of some miscommunication. The appointment was at 6:30, but somehow I thought it was at 6:45. Catherine couldn't understand why I was so relaxed and sure we'd be on time until we figured that out. Despite the mix-up, we were only a few minutes late, and really we were there with plenty of time to get set up.

Catherine's mom was there to watch Elliott, which was a huge help. She and Elliott stayed in the lobby, while Catherine and I headed into the bowels of the hospital. The prep went quickly. Catherine was lucky enough to have a fantastic team working today; the nurse set up the IV without a hitch (often a much bigger problem than you might expect) and the anesthesiologist was excellent. At about 7:30 they wheeled Catherine out and that was the last I saw of her for a couple of hours.

I knew Catherine would be gone for at least 2 hours and possibly as long as 7 hours, but there was no way to know for sure until the procedure was done. So after they took her away I went and ate some breakfast at the hospital cafeteria, then I hung out in the lobby with Elliott for a bit while working on a law review article. After about an hour I headed back to the hospital room so I would be there for sure when they brought Catherine back. Right as I got there, one of the nurses came in and told me they had been unable to induce a bad beat after one hour, so they had put Catherine under a general anesthetic so they could try some heavier stuff. The nurse said that the last thing Catherine did before going under was ask her to go find me and tell me that she loves me. I thought it was very sweet.

About an hour later, the team brought Catherine back, and I knew then that there had been no ablation. The plus side was that I got to see her sooner. Also, she's pretty funny under the influence of anesthesia, although she doesn't remember much of anything she said. When they came into the room, the anesthesiologist tested her alertness by asking if she knew who I was. She told him I was her "awesome sexy husband." He thought it was hilarious. I was embarrassed.

While under the influence, Catherine was pretty convinced that she could still make the procedure work. Back in the room, she was actively bargaining with the nursing staff to see if she could get them to try a few more things. (Catherine: "He has a few more tricks, right?" Nurse: "What?" Catherine: "You know--the tricks. That he has up his sleeve."

The staff and I had a great time laughing at the things Catherine said. I guess it was so funny because even though she wasn't making much sense, she was so serious about what she was saying. At one point, a nurse told Catherine there was nothing more they could do. Catherine emphatically declared, "that's crap." The nurse explained that the reason for her earlier arrhythmia was the hormones related to pregnancy. Catherine thought about that for a minute and then suggested that if they took her back in she would pretend she was pregnant. Eventually the nurses managed to explain why that wouldn't work.

When the nurses were leaving, Catherine asked her favorite to go "advocate" for her so she could try another procedure. The nurse tactfully told her that she would tell the doctor everything she had said. Catherine thought about that for a while and decided it sounded like a fair compromise.

By the time the doctor came in, Catherine was still coming around, but not there completely. We discussed future options (if Catherine gets pregnant again and the arrhythmia returns, they can operate without x-rays), and then somehow the conversation turned to the lack of cooperation between the IHC hospitals and the U and how it's been that way for more than 50 years. With a very serious expression, Catherine suggested to the doctor that he could change that by inviting someone to lunch.

Anyway, after the doctor left, I went out and brought Elliott and Catherine's mom in. An hour later they let Catherine go home, and that was it. On the one hand, I'm happy that her heart is healthy and that she didn't have to have surgery. On the other hand, it would have been nice for them to resolve the problem once and for all. Of course, after today they say there's a good chance that the condition may never come back, so hurray for that.

1 comment:

Abominable's Main Squeeze said...

Let's hope the condition never comes back. Anyway, we're so glad that Catherine is doing well.

I love the picture! Look at Elliott holding her head up. She's growing up so fast! Sigh.