Today is the first day of summer. The vegetables in my garden look vigorous and green and oh-so-tasty. Everytime I peek out onto the garden, I imagine all the dishes to cook. My dog (above), looked out the window too, with many ambitions. They were probably not the same as my own, but still, today he dreamed.
Today, the fog burned off early, and I drove through the tunnel to even sunnier climes where my doctor’s office and hospital stand.
Today is Pre-Operative Day.
Today I sat in the doctor’s office with the nurse, attaching sensors to my head, trying to detect the teeniest blood vessels running inside my skull. The machine pulsated with the sound of my blood vessels, and shot mountains and valleys onto its screen. The nurse injected bubbles intravenously, and I saw the transcranial doppler machines light with noise and sound, fading into the distinct sounds of bubbles. The light and roaring sound were the bubbles rushing through my vessels–the bubble sounds were the last few bubbles trailing the rush through my arteries.
The bubbles had gone into my arm, into my heart, through the hole in my heart, and straight into my brain…skipping the lungs.
The room went silent–they had already been silent, but it went even more silent with certainty and awe. The room turned gray for me. In front of us was a conclusive test that said the hole in my heart was a straight path for clots to travel to my brain, resulting in strokes and TIAs. The bubbles would normally, without a hole in my heart, go straight to my lungs where they would be dissipated.
They had me take one more test as well–I blew into a tube very hard, for 10 seconds, while they ran the test again. The machine alit with noise and light again, louder and brighter than before.
Okay. I’m definitely having surgery tomorrow.
Today, I left my doctor’s office and went across the street to the hospital. I walked to Admitting and filled out paperwork. “So THIS is the other way to end up in the hospital!” I joked, having only been admitted via the emergency room before.
The lady took my insurance card, verified my personal information. She gave me a map to the blood lab and the x-ray lab. I had my blood drawn. And then I sat in line to get my chest x-ray.
X-rays freak me out with their invisible beams that can see right through flesh. I wore a lead apron, and I did not think it was anywhere big enough to protect me. I walked out of the hospital, after this pre-operative process, feeling almost invisible. I drove home.
Today my parents arrive–they are driving by car across hundreds of miles to be here when I go for surgery. I have made them promise not to worry or to fret in front of me. By evening, they will be assembled, we will be assembled.
Everything is prepared and done and ready. Tomorrow I have surgery to close the PFO. Today is the last day I will have a hole in my heart. Today I wait. Today I am thinking about climbing mountains with fully oxygenated blood, without a hole in my heart to slow me down.
Today is the first day of summer. It is beautiful outside.