This was my first Pre-Transplant Assessment Test and I don't mind confessing that anything involving a needle sends shivers up my spine. So with this in mind I started worrying about it days before it was actually happening. Now I know I am probably not the only person who does this and I really wish I wouldn't - but that is me. When I worry - I can't sleep either so all in all it is not the greatest start.
Well the Day finally arrived. Had to be up early because I had to have my breakfast at 6am. Nerves were now kicking in even though I kept on telling myself that 1,000's of people have this procedure but when it's "you" rationalisation seems to fall by the wayside. I was quiet as we drove to Papworth. We found the Cardiac Day Ward and were warmly greeted by the staff. They have a wonderful reassuring, calm disposition. Just what is needed. I was shown to my bed and soon after the Sister came to chat to us both. She explained what would be happening and when. High noon. She said that a nurse would be along shortly to do an ECG and a "Papworth Brazilian". In all my googling about this procedure that was never mentioned!
Now I am very modest when it comes to my body and I know the nurses have seen 100's of bottoms before but this is my bottom. But in truth I need not have concerned myself as she was so careful and the half Brazilian was done with such dignity for me I hardly knew it was happening at all. More wasted energy. When will I learn?
Time can pass so slowly. Clock watching doesn't help either. And as noon approached I found myself wanting to go to the loo more and more. I must have gone at least 6 times. My mouth was getting drier and drier. Nerves. If only I didn't have them.
Eventually it was my time. I walked to the Theatre - slowly. Roy was by my side. It must have been hard for him as well. We said our goodbyes - kissed - and he left. I went through the doors. A large room. So many people. So much equipment. There was a mini step ladder by the operating table. I climbed it and laid down. What was a lovely touch was each of staff involved in the procedure came over and introduced themselves and told me what they would be doing. They were all so warm and friendly and I know I always knew it - but I really did know I was in very safe hands with them by my side and I just knew they would look after me.
The surgeon came over as well. He looked like a kind man - and he was. I told him that I would be closing my eyes and counting out aloud continuously for the entire time I was in there. He asked if I wanted to know what was happening. I told him the only thing I wanted to know was when I would get the "hot flush". And that's what happened. I closed my eyes and got counting.
Then it started. My groin area was cleaned. Then the bit I was dreading the most. The needle going in with the anaesthetic. The surgeon had to placed his fingers in that area and when I'm nervous I seem to be even more jumpy. And jump I did. I felt awful as I wasn't making his life easy. Whilst I was counting I was also trying to tell myself to relax. As if that was going to happen. Was it painful? I would say it was more discomfort but counting really does help me as I have to concentrate and that helps me to keep my breathing stable. And then to my delight the surgeon said "T - that's the worse bit over". The area was now numb and they could do what they had to do. I didn't feel a thing.
The next best thing was when the surgeon said it was all over. I stopped counting. I opened my eyes. I wriggled myself across to the bed that would take me back to the Ward. Roy was waiting. Test 1 was over. Tick. I had to lie flat for an hour. Then I was raised up. I was being checked very regularly. The staff really couldn't have done anymore for me. Eventually at about 4ish I was discharged. I was on my way home.
Now I was warned that I might have some bleeding. And I did. I was told not to panic if that happened. But I did. I was just to lie down and press hard and it would stop. However, once again I shouldn't have worried because the bleeding did stop very quickly. As the evening went on I started to feel a bit sore and stiff. To be honest even though I was really tired I didn't sleep very well. I was scared that if I moved too much the bleeding would start all over again. Sometimes I hate the nights.
Morning came not a moment too soon. I was still a bit sore and stiff. Moving around a bit helped to ease the joints so that's what I did. I stayed in my PJ's all day as that was the most comfortable and watched TV.
So having been through it I do have some tips I would like to share just in case they are of any use.
Firstly - bed socks. My toes got a wee bit cold - probably the nerves but popsocks weren't much use.
Secondly - for some reason I wore my jeans to go in and let's just say they fit me snugly. Not the most sensible thing to wear when you are trying to get dress to come home and you have just had a procedure in your groin.
Thirdly - high heeled boots! What was I thinking?
And finally - the upshot of it all is my heart is in good working order. Terrific.