Bloody Mess – Part 1
After a couple of weeks of nauseating symptoms and a half dozen doctor’s appointments, I was admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital under the advisement of the neurologist I visited Thursday morning.
Immediately after reviewing the images of my two MRIs, she sent me to get a CT scan. After reviewing the CT scan images with a radiologist, she then transferred me to the care of a neurosurgeon. The neurologist explained that they needed to conduct a couple of more tests, so I needed to be admitted to the hospital.
Now it seems like I should have gotten a huge clue when the neurologist admitted me to hospital and referred me to a neurosurgeon, but it didn’t. Though I use humor as guise for grief, I also use good old-fashioned denial. Denial will never go out of style.
With each doctor and each test, I knew the stakes were being raised, but I didn’t know what they were holding. With pokers faces firmly in place, they didn’t verbalize their concerns, but I heard it in their gentle tones and sympathetic eyes.
Also another red flag should have been how quickly the neurologist, radiologist, neurosurgeons were seeing me. The neurologist alone was booked solid for a month, but after an urgent call from my doctor, she saw me two days later. A heavy sought after neurosurgeon took my case within the same day as the neurologist. Why was I being passed along so quickly?
After being admitted to the hospital Thursday evening, I was told that I was going to have another MRI and an angiogram. I felt really at ease by the thorough investigative approach the physicians were taking, but at the same time, why did these doctors still have so many unanswered questions that they needed me to take even more tests?
I breezed through the 45-minute MRI late night Thursday, returning to a dark empty room, wondering why I was really even there. Though I have felt bad these last couple of weeks, my condition hadn’t worsened, yet I was hooked to an IV, blood pressure monitor, inflating and deflating pumps on my legs to help ward off blood clots and an EKG machine. I was strapped down to a bed, completely alone, in silence.
Luckily, my angiogram was scheduled first thing Friday morning, so I figured I would be out in no time. That is until I learned what an angiogram was. While prepping me for the procedure – mind you it morphed from a test to a procedure in the less than 24 hours – a young doctor explained to me exactly what the procedure would entail. Even then, I still couldn’t grasp it.
They would make an incision in my groin to access my femoral artery, in which they would insert a catheter to carry a contrast solution to my brain. This process will allow doctors to take pictures of my brain more vividly than an MRI could.
All the while, I would be awake, twilight anesthesia, this way they could monitor my cognitive state ensuring that I did not have a stroke during the procedure. Why would I have a stroke? The catheter could loosen up some plaque in my artery which could travel to my brain, causing me to stroke out.