Wednesday, March 23, 2011

CCSVI - Round Two: After the Procedure

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...
“There…we are done. I’ll see you in recovery,” said Dr. Siskin. One more CCSVI procedure was now in my rearview mirror. I don't dread these- it’s not like real surgery- but still, it’s a relief when they withdraw that wire from your groin.

I was wheeled back into the prep room, which doubled as the recovery room. The same group of nurses was waiting to take care of me again. For the first hour of recovery, the rule was that I had to lie flat on my back. Nurses stopped by frequently to check on the tiny incision in my groin. I wasn't allowed to eat, drink, or empty my bladder. Because I was still coming down off the sedative, I spent most of the time just lying there with my eyes closed, chatting with Kim, and reading a little on my Kindle (I love my new Kindle, shown on right).

The rules for the second hour of recovery were that I could sit up in bed, and eat and drink a little. I could pee into a urinal as long as I kept my butt and feet firmly planted on the bed. I tried that, but my bladder muscles simply refused to relax while I was in bed. No big deal. I devoured a turkey sandwich and drank some ginger ale, but not too much because of the full bladder thing. Oddly, hospitals and airplanes are the only places where I drink ginger ale.

After the two hour mark I emptied my bladder, had the IV removed, put my street clothes on, and transferred to my wheelchair. But I couldn't leave until I was debriefed by Dr. Siskin. While waiting for him I accomplished two things. First, I gave the nursing staff an iBot demonstration. I showed them all the cool features except stair climbing, as there were none nearby. Everyone was appropriately amazed, especially by the balance mode.

The second thing I did was to speak with a fellow patient. A couple of weeks before my treatment I learned that a friend of a friend would be the person treated by Dr. Siskin immediately after me. I'll call this patient "Jane." I said to my nurse, "I know that there is a patient here by the name of Jane who is a friend of a friend. If you are able to, without violating any HIPPA rules, please ask her if she would like to speak with Mitch."

The nurse correctly pointed out that, "Since acknowledging that any particular patient is here or not here would be a violation of HIPPA rules, I'm afraid I can't help you."

Enter technology. Jane and I each, independently, contacted our mutual friend using our cell phones and found out where one another was located in this large recovery area. I wheeled over and introduced myself to Jane and her friend. They are wonderful people, and we had a delightful chat.

Then Dr. Siskin sat with me and gave me a thorough explanation of the procedure, complete with hand sketches.

I recovered quickly. Kim and I returned to our hotel room, rested up a bit, caught up on our e-mails, and phoned a few people. I skyped with my friend Marc. We then went to the hospital cafeteria for dinner, watched American Idol, and turned in. Within a few hours I'd completely recovered and felt the same as I felt before the procedure. Insomnia-Mitch did not visit me that night, as he had the previous night, and I awoke the next day well rested.

On Thursday morning we packed, checked out, and headed to Dr. Siskin's office for a follow-up ultrasound. Then we drove the four hours home. In my next post I'll give you the nuts and bolts details of the procedure, and in my final post in this series I will talk about how I feel, post-procedure, and what the future may hold for me.

I apologize for breaking this up into so many posts, and making it into somewhat of a cliffhanger. I know that I can only hold your attention for 1,000 words or so, and frankly it takes considerable effort to write each post. Thanks for hanging in there with me.
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  1. So far, so good. I cringed reading that the post-sedated Mitch was showing off in balance mode though. Boys.

    Wishing you the best out of this.

  2. I have Primary Progressive as well. Was Liberated Dec. 16th, 2010. After waiting 7 months, impatiently, for Dr. Siskin, I went to an IR in Chicago at Rush Hospital. Great care, great IR, no real results to speak of. I'm going to follow your results this time *very* closely... and sending you healing vibes ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Feel 'em? ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    God speed. Heidi

  3. Mitch,
    I for one can stay focused on your writing for at least 1100 words. Good luck with the second procedure. I’ll be eagerly waiting for the next installment.


  4. No....thank you for writing with such detail. BTW did the turkey sandwich have mayo :) Appreciate the story and look forward to the next. Best.

  5. Mitch, I can't thank you enough for sharing your treatment stories. I am on the wait list at Albany, estimated date is sometime in December/2011. I'm grateful for the vivid descriptions of each step. You are s fantastic writer (I am a professional editor, although MS stole this from me 5 years ago). Anyway, best of luck to you, and God bless you!