In the last installment of what's rapidly becoming the best recurring bit in G:TB history, Dave Fairbank coined the phrase 'Lindsay Graham Dance Party', and told of the atrial flutter his physicians sought to correct. Turns out the first efforts didn't take, so if at first you don't succeed...I guess you get your groin shaved. I'll let @fairbankobx explain.
Let me begin with praise for medical talent and progress, and by saying that nothing prepares you for the day quite like an early morning groin shave.
|Not the top of Dave Fairbank's penis|
People gripe about access and cost and availability of health care, with plenty of justification. But if you’re fortunate enough to make it into the pipeline, it can be nothing short of incredible.
I was wheeled into an operating room at Norfolk Heart Hospital at 9 a.m. for a cardiac ablation, a procedure designed to return my heart to its normal rhythm. Seventy-five minutes later, they were done. By 11 a.m., I was awake in a recovery room. Three hours later, I walked a lap around the floor of the cardiac wing. I probably could have done so earlier. They discharged me before 3 o’clock, and I was home by dark.
Doctors inserted catheters into veins on each side of my groin and snaked them two feet into my heart. They identified the bad electrical circuitry and deadened it. They removed the catheters, leaving only two tiny puncture openings. All without killing me or my heart doing the Mother Popcorn or even the briefest interruption of service.
I moved gingerly in the hours afterward, but basically had no pain. Pulling off the tape and gauze around my groin the next day was the most painful part of the entire ordeal.
In today’s cardiac medicine, this is considered a fairly routine procedure, with an absurdly high rate of success. My doc told me: If you’re going to have a heart condition, this is the one to have.
The last time I posted, I had just gone through a less invasive procedure to correct an atrial flutter. It was a variation of what I believe is known in rendition circles as the Iraqi Jump Start. The electrical shock worked initially, but it didn’t hold. A follow-up visit revealed that the flutter had returned.
I had a consultation with an electro-cardio specialist, an engaging 40-something chap whose name was misspelled on the office outer door, but in 10 years said that he never insisted that they correct it.
From the printout of my EKG, he said that he was 95 percent certain where the arrhythmia originated – in the passageway wall between my left atrium and left ventricle, the upper and lower heart chambers. He was at least that certain that he could correct it, and that the fix would be permanent.
Which is how I came to be at the Norfolk Heart Hospital at dawn on a recent morning. When I was escorted into a room to prep for surgery, a nurse instructed me to strip naked, put on one of those hospital gowns that provide full moon shots from behind, and lie on the bed. A second nurse came in, and the two inserted an IV in each arm for the anesthesiologist.
|There are terrible tattoos, and then there's this|
The second nurse sat down alongside the bed. She pulled out a small razor and said it was time to shave me. She wadded up the gown around the package, exposing my upper leg, and began to shave.
Me: This is why you got into nursing, isn’t it? Saving lives, shaving groins.
Nurse: I love shaving. You see my name is Lorrie. That’s short for Lorena.
Laughter all around.
Me: Yeah, but she didn’t shave, she chopped. I hope you’re better than that.
Nurse: Oh, I am, honey.
Thus began an exchange among the three of us about Lorena Bobbitt, her motives and whether she did any jail time for her butchery on hubby John.
Properly shaved, they wheeled me into an operating room. The anesthesiologist quickly ran through what he was going to do and asked if I understood. I said sure, but it was all kind of an anxious blur at that point. I said to him: Anesthesiologists throw the best parties, don’t they? He said, of course, but not for the reasons you might think.
I scooted from the gurney onto the operating table and apologized in advance for any flatulence or other discharges during the procedure.
Anesthesiologist: What, did you eat beans yesterday? That wasn’t very considerate.
Me: No, not at all. Had a normal meal last night. But I’m a 57-year-old guy and there’s no telling what I might expel when I’m unconscious. Just letting you know.
Shortly thereafter, boom, I was out. I awoke a couple hours later, a little groggy, but intact. My throat was the most uncomfortable part. They intubated me in the O.R., in order to snake a camera down my throat and check my heart for clots or other abnormalities before the procedure. My throat was pretty raw for a day and I sounded like the Men’s Wearhouse guy, George Zimmer (“You’re going to like the way your heart beats, I guarantee it.”).
I had to lay still for the next couple of hours, while nurses monitored vital signs and made sure my groin didn’t bleed. The doc told my wife shortly afterward that the procedure had gone even more smoothly than he anticipated and came to the recovery room and told me the same thing, just before he was scheduled to perform another ablation. During my original consultation, he said that he’d done almost 1,000 of them.
A few days later, I’m pretty much back to normal. I am grateful and blessed beyond words. An itchy groin reminds me that amid the conflict and nastiness and general dumbassery to which we are routinely exposed, there are smart, talented people who perform the extraordinary on a daily basis.
May we all have such itchy groin moments.