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All clear


This is the nicest place to eat the best fish and chips in Wells. I am now an old person who eats theirs sitting in the car looking out over the boats.

Since those fish and chips last weekend the week was going ok. I was pleased with my efforts at the painting group and even got down to doing some drawings. I had some delicious figs from Robert's garden, as good as any in France. I also had a pedicure in readiness for my angiogram; I think my logic is that if they think you take care of yourself they'll be sure to take care of you!

Then I had my angiogram which was great as my arteries are all clear but - spoiler alert! - the actual procedure was horrific. My ‘lesson learned’ from it is never to agree to do something without sedation that most people are sedated for. I agreed on the grounds that the doctor didn’t want me to have any respiratory depression caused by the sedative drug. There’s a reason they sedate you and in this case it must be to alleviate the terrible pain. They give pain relief too but the sedative also means that you’re less aware of the pain.

After a five and a half hour wait I was laid out on a narrow gurney with my right arm stretched out palm upwards on a special board with a bar going under my fingers which curl round it effectively trapping the arm/ hand and allowing access to the artery in my wrist. Which the doctor then stabs with a sharp implement and inserts, or makes a first attempt at inserting, a tube but failing that has to quote ‘dig around’ a second time to get it in. At which point I have severe pain shooting up the inside of whole length of my arm. The tube is then waggled around until all 3 arteries are seen. Removal of the tube involves some tugging around which I could feel with considerable discomfort on top of the already agonising pain.

Once it’s out the nurse then clamps an inflated plastic cuff VERY tightly around the wrist to stop the bleeding, but not before looking flustered and getting another nurse over as she couldn’t feel a pulse. All this time I’m unable to move my swollen, bruised and agonisingly painful hand and arm. Once a pulse was thankfully located (the pain was so awful I thought they could have caused some serious damage) I was then helped to stand and shuffled the few feet to collapse into the chair (reclining thankfully) where I crumpled into a weeping wreck.

A nice nurse gave me some water (to increase my at this point dangerously low blood pressure) and made me reviving hot chocolate, and at least reassured me that as there were no hard lumps I wasn’t bleeding to death under the skin. I then stayed for another three hours (practically catatonic with shock) while they gradually release the pressure in the wrist cuff.

I suppose I should be pleased that my heart’s ok (I am) but it was all rather gruelling and not what I expected. Or maybe they hadn't seen my pedicure (in the end I didn't have to take my shoes off)!! Other good news is I saw the rheumatologist and my bones are not as bad as I thought.

Now I’ll wait for my next assessment appointment at Papworth. Next week we have our Vitsoe installed so we can unpack at last! Hopefully I'll be a able to use my right arm by then.......

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