August 19, 2009 | 2 Comments

Category: Auto-Biography

The carotid artery balloon angioplasty procedure occurred yesterday.  To get more detailed information on the cerebral aneurysm I have behind my left eyeball, they shut off my left carotid artery for 45 minutes while observing the repercussions.  What was required was snaking two long wires from my groin to my head.  One shut off that blood flow; the other snaked around through my brain to watch that effect from the aneurysm perspective.  The procedure required my being fully awake.

I think they call it a procedure, not a surgery, because there is no attempted intervention.

I was awake the whole time in order to answer questions so that the doctors could make sure the procedure was not causing a stroke.  There were two anesthesiologists.  Their job was to keep me aware enough to answer those questions.  I was told about halfway through the procedure that I would not remember any of it.

Right now it is the following morning.  I remember all of it, clearly.  I’m waiting to be told I can go home from the hospital.

From the time they began until they finished was almost three hours.

At the very beginning, literally while I was being wheeled into the surgery room, I was handed a form to sign by the doctor while being told that there was a 1-3% chance of stroke from the procedure, a small chance of severe stroke.  This was never outlined during the discussions preceding the intervention when great detail was provided regarding possible negative repercussions.  I decided to be angry later.

I’m angry now.

It was not horrible, though it was deeply disconcerting.  They anesthetized the two places they entered my arterial system, so that portion of the experience was OK.  I felt no other places where the snaking mechanisms were doing their thing, moving up my body through my aorta and through my neck and brain.  Three things struck me with impact.

First, for a sizable portion of the procedure, I was freezing.  I shivered violently through almost a third of the event.  The doctors, nurses and technical people reassured me this was normal and covered me.  The covers had little effect.

I have had four panic attacks in my life, the last about 15 years ago.  Each one featured very rapid heartbeat, sweating and dizziness.  The panic attacks were instrumental in my making life changes to address what was leading to the distress.  Yesterday during the intervention, fully awake and aware, I was experiencing the rapid heartbeat but not the dizziness nor sweats.  My pulse was pounding in my neck where the three remaining arteries were channeling blood to my brain.  Meditating throughout the experience, I was struck by my seeming inability to lower my heartbeat.  (Having meditated since 1971, voluntarily lowering my heartbeat is fairly easy.)  Finally, I noted that in the conversation around me there was discussion around my deliberately elevated heartbeat.  I asked when that could be lowered.  The person near me answered soon, and then he signaled to the anesthesiologist to increase the dosage.

After the balloon was deflated, my heart rate went down.

Third, as they began, I was told by one of the half dozen people working over me that this person was going to insert a catheter into my penis.  I strongly objected, saying I had purposefully not had a drink in the last 12 hours.  He insisted.  He inserted.  Never having had this experience, not expecting it during the intervention, I was shocked.

I discovered I was no longer in control of when I peed.  When I peed, it was accompanied by intense pain.  There was bleeding.

This discomfort went on till 10:00 p.m., when the catheter was removed, 10.5 hours later.  By that time I was having back spasms because I was unable to move my back for those 10.5 hours so that the arteries could heal.  I also had a headache and nausea.  By 11:00 it was only headache and nausea.  Several hours later, this morning, I feel fine.

There was one profoundly redeeming aspect of this whole adventure.  The staff, doctors and nurses were professional, attentive and often compassionate.  I felt accompanied throughout much of the experience.  Literally every person I came in contact with felt human, genuine and present.

I feel angry and betrayed regarding several aspects of this adventure.  I’m only beginning to sort this out as I wait for the resident to release me.  It’s hard to trust surgeons with my brain when my dick is feeling so abused.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 6:59 am and is filed under Auto-Biography. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
2 Comments so far

  1. Aneurysm Update | Neoteny, sexual selection, cause of autism, human evolution, social transformation, left organizing and internet activism - how they all connect on September 4, 2009 7:08 am

    […] conducted a procedure (described here) about three weeks ago to gather information that would tell them the best route to go.  They […]

  2. sarah boardman-miller on September 8, 2009 9:19 pm

    you are incredible!

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