Brain Update

The Arteriogram was yesterday. It went well but it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. I now have a hole in my upper leg/groin area that hurt like a @#%(!.

The day was very long. Originally we were supposed to be there at 11:00 to sign in and prep for a 12:00 procedure. It got bumped back several hours due to an emergency. The scheduling nurse came out to talk to us and offered to let us walk around and she’d call when it was close to time for us to come back. We live five minutes from the hospital, so we just went home for a little over an hour. I watched an episode of Dr. Who and caught up on some email.

We got the call and went back to wait some more and then finally went to the prep room where I changed into one of the wonderful backless robes and got all plugged in. We waited some more for the room to become available and then I was finally being wheeled into the operating room. I met some very nice folks who explained everything clearly and even gave me a nice bikini line! She told me a story about an 80 year old gentleman who she had prepped a while ago. He was obviously very nervous and uncomfortable and while she was shaving him, he asked why they had to do both sides. She replied that they might have to switch entry points and besides his wife had entered him into a bikini contest! He laughed and was much more talkative and comfortable after that.

The procedure itself was weird. I was awake with very mild sedation because they wanted to have activity going on in my brain (yeah, I know what your’e thinking now…) They ran a very small tube up into my neck where they would inject dye that would make it’s way into my brain as they were shooting x-rays. Every time they injected the dye, I had to be completely still, with my eyes closed; no breathing, no swallowing, no moving. My neurosurgeon was the one running the procedure and he would repeat that, mantra-like every time. It was almost hypnotic. The dye made my face feel like it was on fire. I could feel it in the back of my throat and at the bottom of my ears but it spread to my cheeks and nose a little. It was kind of like a wasabi rush, very uncomfortable for a few almost unbearable seconds then gone. During a couple of the shots I could see what looked like a million shooting stars. He also said they might make me feel dizzy, but that was not terribly accurate; it was more like the entire world twisted in incomprehensible ways and I was at the center of it.

After the procedure, I had to lie flat for two hours to make sure there was no bleeding or excessing swelling. Never in my life have I had so many different people check my groin so many times. We came home around 7:45 and ordered a pizza. I hadn’t eaten anything in twenty-four hours at that point; I was so hungry! I’m very glad I took a couple of days off from work, I’m feeling okay, but it’s very sore and I’m supposed to be off my feet as much as possible. Walking around is okay, but bending over kills.

I’ll meet with the neurosurgeon next Wednesday to go over the findings and figure out what’s next. He did say after the procedure that he was correct in his initial assessment; it IS a dural arteriovenous fistula. He said it definitely needs to be taken care of soon. I do feel like I’m in very good hands with him. Besides the obvious risks of the fistula, I am really looking forward to not hearing this damn pulsing in my ear any more.

One thought on “Brain Update”

  1. Well written, it will be a comfort to anyone who needs this procedure in future. Good luck with your health. Your mother’s friends from South Africa – Willem and Amies

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