May 21, 2008
Spent almost all day at the Arizona Heart Institute. Left the house at 6:45, got there at 7:30 and had a carotid artery ultra-sound at 8:30 then an angiogram at 10:30. My doctor warned me if they found significant blockage (and a CT scan already hinted at it) they would immediately wheel me across the street for bypass surgery. Tried to remain calm and stay in the present ("Are they poking me now? No. Are they using a chain saw on my sternum? No, not yet. Then stay focused on now. I am fine. Look at the ceiling tiles. Ain't they a pretty sight?"). When they finally wheeled me into the "germ free" operating room at about 10:45, guess what the four nurses were talking about while they started to prep me?
Indiana Jones opens tomorrow. All four (who ranged in age from, I'd guess 22 to 45) got so excited and all four had plans: "I'm going to be in Show Low and I'm debating whether to see it there on a small screen or wait until I get back to Phoenix." Another debated whether to cheat on her boyfriend and go see it alone, or wait for him. As I laid there with a freshly shaven groin area (a pretty blond nurse from Iowa came in earlier and said, "I'm going to shave your groin on both sides," and I said, "Not unless I get to shave yours first."), I started staring at a new set of ceiling tiles as I continued my inner dialogue ("Are they poking you yet? No, but they shaved me pretty close to the family banana.") Still, I had to marvel at the genius of the promoters of this damn movie and the strength of the IJ brand. What are the odds that four nurses were all dying to see the same movie starring a guy who is eligible for social security?
Of course they soon got down to business (I was the second of five scheduled angiograms for today) and I saw my heart on a big, HD style TV screen. Although it was in black and white (I wondered how big the cable would have to be—that they inserted in my groin artery and ran up to my heart to take pictures—would have to be to transmit in color?). Frankly, it looked like bad science fiction from the 1950s of some exotic African frog covered in mud and bloating dramatically every second or so, with floating vines turning dark and emanating a spray at the weakened joints ("Don't start the chain saw! I'll be good! I'll never even look at a chimichanga again! I promise!"). In short, it looked pretty bad. Worse than I could have even imagined. The doctor, with his mask still in place, finally leaned down and looked in the crevice of the massive machines over my head and said, "Mr. Bell, your arteries are fine, the stents are holding and there is no further need to schedule any other procedure."
I was so thrilled I offered to shave both sides of his groin!
Got home at four. Can't drive or lift heavy objects.
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