Thursday, February 23, 2006

Take another little piece of my heart now, baby

Had a biopsy this morning. I usually have one every couple years, but today they chose to go through the jugular. Less invasive that way, rather than the femural artery, something that will keep you bleeding for an hour. I didn't think I would ever have a neckal (all terms highly technical) biopsy again because, for reasons of self-preservation, that particular vein seems to retract whenever a scalpel gets near it.
Anyhow, I spend last night going hungry, drinking lotsa water, because the docs want your blood vessels thick and liquidy. No coffee this morning, no food in the past 12 hours, and off to the hospital I go. Sign in, strip to my (clean, thanks for the childhood advice, mom!) skivvies and go to OR. Get prepped by three really hot nurses (I swear, they hire young, attractive nurses in order to give us something to hope for) and get laid out like a slab of meat.
The doctor is training a resident, so I get to hear even more about the procedure. "So, we freeze this part of the neck, but we have to find an area that isn't scarred. Oh, and we only freeze partly, so that the vein doesn't retract even more." They then cut into the jugular, and stick in a tube. This tube is used to guide the biotome (a wire with clasping hooks at one end) to the heart. When this biotome is inserted, you can actually feel it passing under your lungs, bumping against your sternum and, worst, your oesophagus, causing a slight gag reflex. It then travels through the right atrium of the heart, and presses against the tricuspid valve. Watching via a monitor, the doctor waits for the valve to open and, when it does, pushes the biotome through, reaching to the bottom of the ventricle. And then, grabs the heart muscle and tugs, until a piece pulls off. You can't feel that, because there are no nerves in that part of the heart, but you feel the muscles and other body parts around that area react as the heart is pulled upwards. Repeat. Again. And again. Those little pieces are then sent off to a lab, and I'm sent off on my merry way.
But, damn, my neck hurts.

11 Comments:

At 4:06 PM, Blogger Martine said...

Yowser! :-(

 
At 4:07 PM, Anonymous five blue said...

mmmmm. i'm kinda traumatised now, thanks. i had a cervix biopsy once and am due for another in a couple months, and i thought *that* was rather unpleasant... youch!

 
At 4:23 PM, Blogger Michel said...

Well, it becomes old hat after about the tenth time. ;)

 
At 4:39 PM, Anonymous five blue said...

uh-huh... i'll take your word for it...

when i get blood tests nurses always freak out because my veins vanish. that, and they ask if i'm ok because i'm naturally rather pale (honey if i was afraid of blood i'd be a much different woman...). if all that was happening in my neck, i'd... i'd probably actually faint. in fact i'm going to stop thinking about it right NOW.

 
At 4:43 PM, Blogger Michel said...

Um, so I didn't mention that one of the nurses looked like Scarlett Johansson?
No way was I going to pass out for that.

 
At 7:20 PM, Anonymous mare said...

Um, so I didn't mention that one of the nurses looked like Scarlett Johansson?

Yes, and in the same sentence you also mentioned that you got laid. So I chose not to believe you.

 
At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Patrick said...

lol. Good one Mare.

Otherwise, yikes!! I hope I never have to hear "cut in the jugular".

Then again, if you need someone to drive you there (you know, in case of qweesyness and stuff after), I wouldn't mind seeing Scarlett in person ;).

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger Maggie said...

Ow! Here's keeping my fingers crossed that the whole process only reveals nothing, if you see what I mean.

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger Michel said...

The only thing that was revealed was my derrière in the hospital gown.

 
At 1:16 PM, Blogger Martine said...

I bet you that made Scarlett blush.

Patrick: you don't even have a car! ;-)

 
At 3:02 PM, Anonymous five blue said...

he could give him a ride on his bike! never underestimate male lust. well, no, scratch that: never underestimate lust.

 

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