Another Round of Tests and Doctor Appointments and Pre-Op


5:45: Woke up, my wife got something to drink, I then finished up some brief work that I was working on the night before so that the client wouldn’t be using the old data location after I moved over 640gb of data to the new storage array.  I then set my alarm on my phone to 9:00 am and dozed back off to sleep.

9:00: I woke up to my cell alarm, let Buster out, and got ready to leave.

9:30: I left for EJGH.

9:45: I arrived at Dr. Norman’s Office.  Dr. Norman is a general surgeon who will be doing my port placement in which they will administer the chemo drugs through.

The port will be placed in my chest right below the skin, and ran to my jugular in which it will access my blood stream. I am a hard stick and chemo is easier administered through a port. Another reason is that one of the chemo drugs will burn through and eat your skin if the IV isn’t correctly in you, so a port helps avoid such situations. Less pain is also associated with the port because they’ll stick you right everytime and won’t have to go searching for veins like they do when doing blood work and IVs. So while my port is in, I can also have all blood tests done through the port and not my arms.

I gave them my ID and insurance card as usual for new patients, and they gave me a stack of new patient papers to fill out like normal.

10:07: I finished up the new patient packet, paid my $50 co pay.

10:10: I sat down to update my blog on my phone.

10:30: The nurse takes me back, gets my weight, height, and temperature, and I sit in the patient room waiting some more.

10:45: Dr. Norman’s resident comes in and interviews me. He says that he will be with Dr. Norman for three months. He goes over everything that i filled out in the packet, does a quick examination listening to my chestand feeling my neck and abdomen. He explains to me the procedure and possible risks as in every medical procedure, and then leaves to get Dr. Norman.

10:55: I am waiting again in the patient room.

11:00: Dr. Norman comes in and goes over the port placement procedure. The worst thing that can happen he explains is that they can puncture my lung during the port placement, meaning my lung could collapse and they would have to put a tube in me to get my lung to expand again. He shows me a port that they would put into my chest and explains that it would go into a large juicy vein right behind my collar bone. He asks me how soon was I looking to get this done. I told him they the doctor’s office was ready to start treatment and just waiting on the port to be placed so that I could start. The growing lymphs have been affecting my breathing and causing me to be winded going up a flight of stairs and coughing when I am eating, so ASAP would be best. I do mention to him that I know the nurse anesthesist at the Jefferson Ambulatory Surgery Center that Dr. Norman does surgerys at on Fridays whihc is tomorrow. He says he will aim for tomorrow if they have an available surgery slot tomorrow, if not then at EJGH on Monday. He asks if I have any questions and I tell him no, I am just ready to get it done. He then leads me out to the receptionist who calls the surgery center and finds out that a slot is available and that I need to head over to the surgery center for preop.

11:15: I am done at Dr. Norman’s and heading to the van. My friend Brian sends me the following text.

” I see an old old old old blue van on level 4!”. I tell him yeah that’s me and I am just leaving. He said he was too. He also said that I needed to get a new set of wheels. I told him yeah, and I have to pay for treatment too. He replied, yeah, priorities.

I then dropped of a toner cartridge at Dr. Yager’s who is also a client of mine. Now it was time to go over to the surgery center for preop.

11:20: I got in my van and drove out the parking garage and returned a client’s phone call. They were having issues with a battery backup screaming because it needed its battery replaced. I told her I would call her back later today or tomorrow to get the model number of the UPS so that i could order a battery and have it shipped to them because they are about 90 mins away.

11:26: I let my mother know that I am going over to the Jefferson Ambulatory Surgery Center because her friend and coworker is also a CRNA at the surgery Center and he is working today and tomorrow.

11:30: I arrive at the Surgery Center.
Mr. Randy is walking out the door to meet me because my mother called him and told him I was on my way. I then signed in at the front desk and was given 4 pages to fill out as part of the new patient packet.

12:00: I am done filling out the new patient packet.

12:10: I am lead to the back where they take my blood pressure, height, and weight. They also take two vials of blood. They then go over everything for tomorrow’s surgery. Bathe using an antibacterial soap, nothing to eat or drink after midnight, the usual run down I had to follow Sunday and Monday night for ny tests and procedures done earlier this week. Then the anesthesiologist comes in and asks me a series of questions about my medications and past experiences with anesthesia in ny past two recent surgical procedures. I tell her I am a hard stick and the past two procedures and PET scan took three pricks each. She then asked me where they successfully stuck me.She said that they would be using lidocane to numb me up before trying to start the IV.

12:35: I am out of the surgery center, and my phone is almost dead from all the blogging.  I have just enough time to run home and grab my laptop.

12:42:  I arrive home and pack my laptop, tell Buster hi, and back out the door.

1:07:  I arrive at the EJGH and am directed to the Cardiology department.

1:15; I arrive at Cardiology, I sign in and wait.

1:20: I go through all the paperwork with billing in cardiology then told to go to another window, give them my paperwork that they just gave me.

1:25:  I check in at the window and told that my appointment is for 1:30.

1:33: I am taken to the back.

1:35: We arrive at the room.  The nurse’s name is Sharon and she will be doing the ultrasound/echocardiogram of my heart with doppler.

She first has me take everything out of my pockets, and anything off of my left side of my belt and loops of my pants as I will be laying on my left side for the imaging.  She then has me lay down on my left on the table.

She then puts the goey stuff on the imaging device and puts it on my chest.  I get to watch everything that is going on, on the screen.  This is not bad at all.  She takes a few images in this position.  This gives her a view of the heart from the front of my chest.

Then she sticks the probe under my left side which is not comfortable but bearable.  She takes a few pics in this position and a few videos including sound and blood flow direction.  She then has me lay on my back.  This next placement is the most painful.  She is pushing down between my ribs with the probe.  It feels like being pushed really hard by a broom stick.  It is not painful, well a little, but mostly uncomfortable.

The last view will look at the heart from the ground up.  She puts the  probe under my last rib and maneuvers it into a position so that it is facing my heart and capturing images from below if I was standing up.  She tells me to take a very deep breath and hold it.  She does this three times.  She said that that should have been the most painful, but that was nothing compared the last two positions.  The last of the images/video require me to do a quick sniffle through my nose to see if an artery moves in a certain way when i do this, and it does.  She has me do this twice quickly.  Then that’s it, the test is over.  She wipes the gooey stuff off of me and then has me put everything back in my pockets and put my shirt on.  She also gave me a souvenir which is a picture of my heart.  I have scanned this pic and will post it soon.  I also took pictures of the bed I laid on, and the keyboard of the machine which looks like a miniature mixing board for editing music and video, which is what she is essentially doing with the pictures, video, and sound of my heart as she is working with it.

2:35:  The visit is over, I check out with the front desk to let them know my exam is over.

2:45:  I am back at the office.  I run payroll, run to the bank, deposit money to cover payroll and payroll taxes and then back to my office.  My mother who just got off herself was stopping by with a smoothie.  I gave her another deposit to be made at another bank which was on her way home since it was already 3:10 and I had to get to my next doctor’s appointment for today.

3:15:  I am back on the road heading back to EJGH.

3:30:  I arrive at EJGH and find a spot to park in the parking garage and walk into my doctor’s office, sign in, and directed tot he back waiting room.

3:51: Still waiting in the back waiting room.

4:10:  I am in patient room 5 again.  I am the big kid sitting in the little chair as seen on my post last week.

4:25: Dr. Jacob has arrived, time to get the check-up.

Dr. Jacob asked me how I was doing, I told him today I was feeling good.  He asked me about all the test I had been having done, and the results.  I told him that I would know the results probably sometime tomorrow.  I needed to call Dr. Brinz’s office to update them about the port placement.  Today has gotten away from me, I will call the office tomorrow after the port has been placed.  We talked about the long tough road ahead of me and that if I had any questions to just ask him, he would tell me the answer and if he told me he didn’t know, he really didn’t know.  He said he would see me in two weeks for another follow up appointment to just check on the progress of how my neck was healing and to check on me with the progression of what was being done to fight the caner.  I said by then I should be on the chemotherapy.

4:45: Dr. Jacob lead me out and told me to schedule my next appointment with Bonnie.  I did, and Bonnie gave me the run down on what to do once the chemotherapy started and I was making appointments with them, to let them know when I got there and they would put me in a patient room right away that way I wouldn’t have to sit around other people with a weakened immune system and possibly catch something that someone has.

4:47:  I saw Suzanne, Dr. Jacob’s wife and talked to her on my way out.  She asked if I went to St. Patrick’s Church often.  I told her no, but my sister does go there often.  It just so happened that my sister asked me to go to church with her that Sunday, and we just so happened to run into each other after mass.  She said she would say a prayer for me, I said I can never get enough prayers, so please keep them coming!  I told her that I would see her again in 2 weeks.

4:50:  I was back in my van, heading out the parking garage.

5:15:  I arrived home.  I showed my dad the pics of my echocardiogram, but he said that he had already seen it online.

6:00:  I update the blog from the time Dr. Jacob arrived in my patient room to the time I got home.

6:15:  My wife arrived home from work.

6:30:  My mom comes from the back from taking a nap.  She said that my brother-in-law, Bishoy,  said to quit depressing him because he is reading my blog.  Hey the blog is another form of distraction for me, leave me alone…

6:35:  I asked my mother if she saw the text that Brian had sent to me.  My mom said that I do need new tires.  I told her that Brian didn’t mean I needed new tires, he meant that I needed a new vehicle, he couldn’t even see the tires from his car when he passed by.

7:10: We were out the door and headed to Phil’s Grill for some dinner my mom, dad, wife, and I.

7:25: We get to Phil’s Grill and its raining, no big deal it’s just water. I order the Bayou Bengal, which is an alligator burger and really good too with a baked potato as my side. Great Food as always and very filling. We talk about tomorrow’s schedule and the upcoming doctor’s visits and thoughts on chemotherapy treatment. Not the greatest dinner convo, but life doesn’t stop and you gotta be prepared for the next thing coming at you.

8:35: We are done eating and back in the rain to the car to head home. I can’t eat or drink anything after midnight and I have to make sure my skin is cleaned with antibacterial soap again and allowed to sit for 2 minutes before rinsing off to make sure there is no risk of anything being on my skin which could cause an infection as a result of the procedure.

9:15: Time to be brave and take the bandage off my back from the bone marrow biopsy on Tuesday. I’ll let you know how that turns out, if I don’t pass out. I hate seeing my own blood and fresh surgical wounds. I can fix myself and my own blood, but not medical things.

9:45: I am done taking the bandage off my back. Not too bad, I have some before and after shots. I then got my stuff together for a bath as not to get the steri strips wet yet because doc said they where holding on pretty good and not to take them off, just let them fall off to ensure the skin has the most time to heal.

10:05: Time to shave first, oh fun..

10:30:  Shaving is no fun, but a new razor always helps.  I won’t be able to shave with a real blade anymore once my chemo starts, this may be my last time using a blade.  They don’t want you to pick at yourself, shave, or do anything that can possibly make you bleed while you are on chemo, one is the risk of infection, two is the possibility that the bleeding won’t stop.  When it comes to chemo, it is important to keep as much blood in you as possible.  Time to jump in the bath and scrub up good for tomorrow…

11:30:  Completely clean all dialed up and bacteria free 😛  I am ready for a good nights rest and wake up tomorrow and get me some Micheal Jackson.  See ya’ll on the flip side…

© Craig