Friday, 30 September 2011

The heart of the matter............

Spent a large chunk of today in a private hospital in Eastbourne, undergoing a CT Coronary Angiogram.

No...I don't have private healthcare, but apparently our local NHS Trust is so far behind with diagnostic testing that they're shunting work out to the private sector, hence my elevation to the exalted rank of the private patient for a few hours.

I've visited friends in private hospitals before but have never experienced one from the sharp end, so I was intrigued to find out what it was like.  Once past the sumptuous reception area, with deep pile carpeting and comfy sofas, there actually wasn't much difference.  Yes there were fewer people in the waiting room, and yes there did seem to be a higher staff-to-patient ratio, but other than that, the actual scanning suites looked much the same. 

I can't say I was looking forward to it, but I must admit I was mightily relieved to be having a non-invasive CT scan rather than the traditional method which involves inserting a catheter into the groin which is then threaded through the largest artery in your body (the aorta) until it reaches the coronary arteries of the heart. A special contrast dye is injected and x-rays are taken of the blood vessels as the dye moves through them.

PP had a traditional angiogram a few years back and had the most dreadful complications afterwards, so when I found I had to have one too I was dreading it.  However the only minimally uncomfortable part of the procedure was having a cannula inserted into a vein in the arm, through which the contrast dye was injected.  I've never experienced that before and had been warned what it might feel like.

And by Jove it did.

Nanoseconds after the dye goes in, there is an overwhelming whoosh of warmth in the nether regions, which feels for all the world as if you've wet yourself. 

Not an entirely unpleasant sensation if I'm honest.  I could be worse...

At the same time there is a strange metallic taste and smell, which is a little unnerving but soon passes.  Other than that, and having to hold my breath several times inside the scanner while it whirled around, it wasn't at all bad, and after some recovery time in case I reacted to the contrast dye, during which I was given a cup of tea (proper bone china cup and saucer!) and biscuits on a tray I was allowed home.  

Now I have to drink as much water as I can to flush the dye through my kidneys, and aside from a lingering headache I'm none the worse.

The unseasonal heatwave continues unabated with temperatures due to reach the mid 80s in London over the weekend.  This would normally be only of passing interest to me, except I'm going up there to spend the weekend with my daughter and see her new little studio flat.  The London Underground will be hotter than Hades so I'm trying to find a bus route with the minimum number of changes.  

30 years ago I lived and worked in London, learned to drive there, passed my test there,  drove in and out of the city centre on a regular basis and was completely au fait with all modes of public transport.  However, nowadays I so rarely go there I feel completely lost, so what with that and the heat I will be so relieved to see a familiar face when I step off the train.

Meanwhile PP and Small Dog are staying home alone, although they do have a campsite BBQ AND possibly  beach picnic to look forward to, so they will be fanned by seaside breezes.

Right..... off to hydrate myself further. 


Michelle said...

Yes, the difference between private and NHS is very evident on every level methinks.

I had one of these weird but clever scans in my teens, I remember that strange feeling and felt the the stuff go through my head too! lol Before the test then, peeps had to go on a special diet for 2 days and then had this God awful stuff to drink that made you want to make the loo your new best friend! lol :o)

I hope you have recovered from your day. :o)

Extremely hot here today too, and tomorrow is set to be even hotter! Phew!

Michelle xxx

Robin said... doubt you've had more fun least you had the 'posh' version of the procedure, much more acceptable - and bone china!!!! Truly posh!
Hope you're feeling fine now - have a lovely weekend.

Anonymous said...

Bone china makes it all worth while....

Are you joining the ranks of the Hearty?

I joined a while ago.

Margaret said...

I hope you get good results from your test, I had that one too but didn't feel the affects very dramatically. Like you I have also experienced private and public medical care here in Australia and have found for the really important things the standard of care is equal in both. My recent treatment was in a public hospital and I don't think I could have received better care. Hope you enjoy your stay in London, I have been there around this time of year, many years ago, and it was very 'balmy'.

Anonymous said...

Hope you have been on the marvellous tfl website. I love it! Buses can also be a trauma too though! Make sure you take/buy an oyster card, heaps and heaps cheaper.

Sandra Morris said...

Thanks all...much appreciated