My first event today was to have a CT scan (with contrast) at 10:15, “please arrive by 9:45”. As I was headed down in the elevator for the garage, it occurred to me, why use my car? I had a second appointment, the 3-month callback with my aortic surgeon, at noon. I had assumed I would drive to the imaging center near California Ave., then drive to Stanford Hospital to see the doctor. But that would mean parking in the boring underground garage. I could just take a Lyft, and a Lyft, and a Lyft. So I took a Lyft to the imaging center.
The first nurse failed to get the IV properly set in my right arm, so she stuck a cotton ball under a strip of that stretchy stuff and called in her colleague. That nurse had no problem setting the IV in the left arm, and a few minutes later I climbed onto the luge-like sled in the hole in the giant bagel of the scanner. And a few minutes later, I was done. Nurse 2 pulled the IV and stopped the hole with a ball of cotton under a different color of stretchy stuff. (Foreshadowing!)
I got dressed and headed out. It was just 10:30. I walked a couple of blocks to a grocery and bought a bottle of OJ to start hydrating away the contrast fluid. Then I thought of calling the next Lyft when it occurred to me, maybe I could walk? I got out Maps and by golly, 300 Pasteur drive was 3.1 miles away, just the length of a normal Friday walk. So I walked, which was a nice way of killing exactly the time between the appointments.
Dr. Watkins breezed in and her news was good: my aorta is healing around the stents “beautifully”. I asked about the Clopidogrel (aka Plavix). The prior meeting, she had said the false lumen (the gap between the inner and outer lining) was not filling with clot, and she blamed the Plavix, which is an anti-clotting med. It was prescribed because of the cardiac stent that was placed in advance of the aorta operation. Dr. Dibiase doesn’t want to stop the Plavix. So it turns out, my aorta is clotting up and healing despite taking Plavix, so Dr. Watkins no longer sees any need to end it.
Something else showed up on the scan. One of my kidneys has a largish cyst. This has been mentioned to me before as something to keep an eye on. It is large enough, Dr. Watkins says, to be worth a consult with a urologist, so she is going to refer me to one. She didn’t see anything on the scan to suggest it was any danger, or going to turn into anything bad, but maybe a urologist would recommend draining it. I wonder what that involves? Probably a very long needle and a local anesthetic.
Dr. Watkins is looking quite pregnant, maybe 6-7 months? I have no experience with these things. I did not mention it. I was conflicted. One side of me wanted to say, “congratulations”. The other side wanted to say “Noooooo, I might need you and you will be off being a mommy!” I’m a terrible person.
Back home I got the kitchen scissors and snipped off the stretchy stuff from the left arm; dropped that cotton ball and strap in the wastebasket; snipped off the other one; dropped that stuff in the wastebasket. This is exactly what I have done other times after a blood donation. But this time I had forgotten the Plavix. by the time I dropped the left arm’s bandage in the bucket, the right one was running a nice stream of dark red blood. Oh shit oh shit. I grabbed a kleenex and noticed that the left arm too was starting to bleed. Oh shit oh shit. Trying to hold a kleenex on each elbow at the same time I headed to the bathroom. I alternated dabbing at the slowly-bleeding spots with toilet paper, and getting out bandaids. Peeling the wrapping off a bandaid takes two hands. Dab, peel, shit! dab dab, peel.
I managed to get the top off my little bottle of styptic solution, soaked the pad of a bandaid, slapped it on the right arm, the one that bled more (the one that nurse #1 had messed up). Peel, dab on the left arm, peel. More styptic onto the new bandaid and stuck it on the left arm. Hah. Both leaks stopped.