Up at 4:20, quick shower, dress. Make sure I have all of he needed paperwork and cards for admission. Down to the lobby where Dr. Margaret soon appears and we are off down Alma to the hospital where she drops me off with warm wishes. Seems my neighbors like me which is nice.
Registration and prep go smoothly. Jorge, who shaves my groin hair, has a slick electric razor with a vacuum attachment.
(Ok I am writing this with the WordPress app and its editor is TERRIBLE, just doing bizarre things. It gets really confused when a paragraph goes over four lines. I’m switching to the Notes app then pasting here.)
Dr. Rammahan stops by for the usual pre-op check and he has fresh news. He has studied the notes from my original valve job and the recent images. He explains (what I originally knew but had mostly forgotten) that Dr. Gaudiani installed not just the pig’s valve but its whole aortic root as a unit – like a 4-inch tube with the valve closing the end. So in present images that ascending tube is, quote, “calcified like crazy”.
This raises the chance of stroke, a known but usually rare side effect of TAVR. To prevent that he will do an additional piece of work. He will put a catheter in through my right radial (wrist) artery, up to my carotid, and install a filter to catch any trash that might get loose and head for my, um, head. When the TAVR is in place he will take the filter out before closing up. I’m cool with this, not being a fan of stroke.
An IV gets installed in my left arm, about six vials of blood are drawn from the right, then I am left alone to do a couple of sudokus, and at 7:30 Tyler comes to escort me to the toilet and then to wheel me on a gurney to the OR.
Here I find about six people all being very busy and professional. They prep me from all sides somewhat like multiple chefs prepping a rack of lamb. Zack the anesthetist says he is putting in the juice. I have just time to say, “I taste it on the back of my tongue,” and Zack says, “Oh yeah that’s the Lidocane,” and then…
I’m In a different room and Zack is saying “All over, and it all went according to plan.”
After half an hour I am transported to a regular room. I get my glasses back, and my phone, and my head clears up and basically it’s all over but the shoutin’. I have two small purple wounds on my groin, one I assume for the camera and one for the business, plus a clear plastic inflatable cuff on my right wrist.
And a strange quiet in my chest. This is odd. I never notice my heart beating (except at night sometimes). It’s definitely beating now, I can find my pulse in my wrist or neck. But somehow there is a sensation of stillness in my chest, as if I had changed from a gas engine to battery power. Was I sensing the back flow, AKA “heart murmur”, before? And it’s gone now? Or maybe it’s imaginary. Not a bad thing, anyway.
I exchange texts with several people, have lunch, take a nap, all very normal except I’m wearing a backless gown and bright green bed socks. Jean drops by to visit (to my surprise there are no Covid restrictions on visiting).
And that will do for now. Medical adventure proceeding nominally!