Twist of Fate

I apologize for not updating my blog recently, but unlike in the past, I actually have a good reason. I am convinced that this past weekend someone created a little “Daniel Doll” and stuck pins in it voodoo-style. I don’t really believe in curses or bad karma or astrology, but sometimes there are certain events that make you go, “Hmm”. Such was the case this past weekend. 

The prelude to the weekend extravaganza began last Tuesday. I had been experiencing some chest discomfort so I went to see a cardiologist. After a thorough examination, he decided to perform a stress test. So, I cranked on a treadmill for 10 minutes and then the doctor studied my EKG. He noticed some irregularities that are often associated with reduced blood flow to the heart, so he thought it wise for me to undergo a Nuclear Scan, which more accurately shows blood flow. That’s when the real fun began. 

Without expectation or insight, I checked into the Scripps Mercy Outpatient Radiology Department. The staff treated me with compassion and did their best to make me feel comfortable. Unfortunately, I have stubborn veins and it took three technicians 5 sticks to find a suitable vein for the IV. Needless to say, I felt like a pin cushion. 

The procedure involves injecting the patient with radioactive material and then imaging their heart function through a special camera. First, they scan your heart at rest, and then they inject you with a drug that makes your body feel like you just worked out on a cardio machine for an hour. Then, they scan you again. It is a terrible feeling. If you’ve ever had an anxiety attack, this is what it feels like. 

So, Friday afternoon—only a few hours after I underwent the nuclear scan—my cardiologist’s assistant calls me to let me know that the nuclear scan was positive. Now generally speaking, “positive” means good, right? But not in the world of medicine. The assistant goes on to tell me that the scan showed reduced blood flow to my heart under stress, and the only way to absolutely, positively confirm if there were any blockages in my heart would be to perform an angiogram. While I was still catching my breath and processing this information, the assistant said that the doctor wanted to do the angiogram on Monday

It goes without saying that this little bit of information and the anticipation of what awaited me Monday morning ruined my weekend. But wait; it gets better. Late Sunday afternoon, I decided to make a pot of potato-broccoli soup. While chopping away at the potatoes, a bit preoccupied with my fate, I sliced my ring finger on my left hand. After numerous attempts to stop the bleeding, I realized that I needed stitches. So, my wife chauffeured me to an Urgent Care facility, conveniently located a few blocks away from our apartment. We arrive there at 5:00 and are greeted by a pair of locked doors. They close at 4:00 pm on weekends. Are you kidding me? 

We scurry back home and scan the Yellow Pages for another Urgent Care close by. Fortunately, we found one only 10 minutes away. Three stitches and 2 hours later I walk out of the place with a heavily-bandaged finger.

After a restless night of tossing and turning, I check in to Scripps Mercy hospital a second time. The staff in the cardiology department swarmed around me like busy bees. Everyone had a specific function and whisked me through the process and prepped me for the procedure quickly and efficiently. 

They delivered me to the surgery room and the pampering continued.  Once completed, the doctor made his grand entrance. They administered some drugs to relax me, and 30 minutes later the procedure was completed. I’m happy to say, the doctor informed me that my arteries were clean and blockage free. I felt like the weight of the world was lifted from my shoulders. 

Because the angiogram requires that the doctor cut a major artery in the groin area, recovery takes awhile. You lie on your back for several hours and a nurse periodically checks the dressing to monitor any bleeding. Once they’re confident that everything is fine, you are discharged with a list of do’s and don’ts and warnings. They told me I could return to work the next day depending how I feel.  I, of course, want to go to work on Tuesday, because my colleagues organized a retirement party for me. But guess what? I awoke Tuesday morning and felt really crappy—crampy stomach, woozy—I just didn’t feel like I could shower, get dressed and go to work. So, I was forced to call my boss and cancel my retirement party. 

And that’s how my weekend ended. Now if I can just find the evil-doer who is sticking pins in that little Daniel-Doll . . .

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