Monday, February 23, 2009

The Case of the Missing Blockage

Jim had his cardiac cath done last Friday, suggested as a result of an abnormal stress test. The only reason he had the stress test done is because he and his partner at SWT applied for additional life insurance protection in the event one of them dies. Despite the economy, business has been really good and the company is growing. All good news, except for the stress test. Due to his age, the insurance company required Jim to take the stress test in addition to the usual and customary check-up. Because of the stress test outcome, his internist referred him to a cardiologist. Based on family history and some chest tightness, the cardiologist recommended the cardiac cath to see if there is any blockage in the arteries.

We arrived at the outpatient center, conveniently located next to the hospital in case further surgery would be required, at 8:30. He was taken fairly quickly to a room to change and be prepped, and then I was allowed to sit with him until the doctor was ready. My sister met up with us so she could keep me company during the procedure. By 9:30 he was taken away, and we went to the cardiac cath family waiting room. If all went well, the doctor should come in to see us in about a half hour and let us know what, if anything, he found. If blockage was discovered, Jim would immediately be wheeled to the hospital so any surgical procedures could be performed. As 30 minutes became 45 I was beginning to worry. The doctor came in, and he is a poker face. I could not tell from his facial expression, or lack thereof, if he had found anything or not. He brusquely said, "The procedure went well. I didn't find anything. You can see him in about 30 minutes." I thanked him, and he turned and left. That was the last we saw of him. Some chairside manner...After 30 minutes we went in to sit with Jim, and he had to lay flat on his back for a total of 2 hours. At that point they would get him up to walk around and, if he wasn't dizzy, could eat the lunch they were providing for him and me. Funny story on the lunch - when they offered him the choices, one was a prime rib sandwich. He said, "This is a test, isn't it? I'm not allowed to eat beef anymore!" He ordered us turkey sandwiches.

Jim said he was awake for the whole thing. Apparently people react to the anesthesia in different ways. Some people go totally out, some are awake but don't remember anything, and some are awake and remember everything. He actually watched the procedure on a monitor. Yikes! I would have passed out. I remember when I had an amniocentesis done while pregnant with Katie, and when I looked at the screen and saw the needle in my stomach I got very light headed. I could never work in the area of healthcare. At any rate, he did well and we enjoyed the lunch they brought, and we were home by 1:30. A good result all the way around, and he did fine over the weekend. Not to borrow trouble but what threw off the stress test?

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

Hi Kim,

I'm glad that Jim got a good result. Next time, he needs to study a little harder for the stress test.