The Cardiac Catheterization From Hell!

part of the floral arrangement that was delivered to my home afterwards from my dear friend and “sissy”

the note on the floral arrangement…this meant everything to me!

Hello Luvs,

Awhile back I’d had a Cardiac Cathetarization done; or “Cardiac Cath”. It was August 30, 2011.  I had visited my Cardiologist, the one who’d known me since 1991. He told me that he saw some suspicious “stuff” in my stress test from the week prior and he wanted me to have a Cath done. I was really scared because he told me that HE wouldn’t be doing the procedure, but his ‘new young Dr friend” that he just hired to work with him, was going to do it. I told him how I’m a ver difficult and/or “special” case with the chronic pain, RSD/CRPS and all of the issues I have. Also, my cholesterol was always at 170 and never went up but this time when he did the test, it was about 204 or something like that? Frankly, I was not totally “freaked out ” by 204!! But for some reason he was??

Well let me tell you about my procedure and I’ll try and post a little video if possible so you can get a glimpse of how the procedure is supposed to go. First of all, when I was in the pre-op room, on a gurney; the nurses were GOOGLING “RSD” and “CRPS”. They had no idea what it is! Then Dr. Trevax (sp?) came in and HE also had no idea what that “painful nerve disease” is that I was trying to talk to him about prior to my procedure!! He started to GOOGLE CRPS/RSD too!! Can you even believe this in the Century that we are in? He was a very young looking “new” Dr so he should’ve known about it as it should’ve been fresh from Medical School! He giggled and talked with me as if nothing was going on and I was there for a “good time” or something. I tried to explain to him /them that I was on quite a bit of Fentanyl for my chronic pain/nerve pain issues and my CRPS, along with the other pain issues. I now know for a fact that it went into one ear and out of the other!

My procedure was a bit different right from the beginning because #1: there was no anesthesiologist to be found anyplace in, around or near the O.R. that I was in! #2: I was not “out” or even a bit “drowsy” nor “sleepy” in any way, shape or form!!!  In fact, I was very much awake and it was like a nightmare from hell being strapped down to a a gurney, unable to move at all and the whole time nobody could hear my screams!  I felt totally “out of control while they were not paying any attention to what I was telling them. They were talking and joking around and I lay there wide awake and not even in the least bit of a “twilight” sleep or anything!! I started to scream uncontrollably saying “I can feel this!!!…I’m not asleep!! I’m not even drowsy! ….Hey…I’m still awake and I can FEEL everything!”  It was horrible and I already suffer from PTSD and that did not help my fears or anxiety levels at all! I also suffer, as I’ve mentioned, from the horrible neuro-autoimmune disease, which is very painful. It feels as though I am “on fire” and as if someone has poured “gasoline” on to me and I feel like I’m going to spontaneously combust or blow up or go “poof” in flames, I’m just so burning up hot so much of the time!

I begged and begged for them to put the catheter up through my groin area because I knew if they did it in my arm/hand, that would cause much more spread and problems for the pain disease, CRPS/RSD. I begged and once again, I was not listened to at all. The Dr decided that it’d be easier for him and he THOUGHT I’d heal faster if they put it into my right wrist. Well NOT true! He was wrong and it was HELL for a long few weeks. Not only was I having to recover from the pain of the needles, Catheter and scope or whatever they use all going through and invading my body and bothering my nerves so as to upset my RSD/CRPS so that I would then have to flare up and suffer for a couple of weeks or longer.!!  I ended up with painful swelling, bruises, redness and extra horrible pain from not only the pokes and shots etc. but from the catheter site. They continued on choosing not to listen to me and they went in through my wrist instead.  I was not asleep, nor was I even drowsy in the least!! I continued yelling to them that “I’m awake!!”…”I’m not asleep, can you tell??” …”It is hurting me terribly and it hurts like Hell, please stop and let me be somewhat “out of it”..” I just kept trying to tell them and in the background all I could hear was the young Dr. Trevax saying “1 mg Versed, or 1mg Dilauded” and he said it several times but nothing was happening to me. Maybe I was so afraid that I wasn’t allowing the medicine to work?? All I know is that I did NOT want to be awake for that test and I was totally and completely awake.  That is until they were wheeling me out of the door and into a “post op” room.  Then they wanted me to hurry up and go home but I fell asleep for 4 whole hours finally after they were done and they’d or someone listened to me and gave me enough to work and then I was “zonked out” for 4 hours straight!!!

I don’t think some of the little or smaller amounts of those big duty pain meds or whatever they were using with the pain meds, were working because My body had already at that time been used to the Fentanyl patch and the transbuccal Fentanyl. I don’t think anyone had seen those or heard of those transbuccal Fentanyl meds either and that’s why they didn’t listen to me. But I think it’s because my body had built up a tolerance and the small amounts that would normally work on a person of my (at the time) smaller stature, just would not work for me due to my medication regimen.  Also because of the Neurological pain, of my chronic nerve pain disease, “CRPS/RSD”, this caused their meds to not work well on me. Though had someone listened  to me and really realized how much medication that I was really taking under my Dr.’s care, they might’ve figured it out. But no way, no how was anyone listening to me that Day!

It was the Cardiac Cath from HELL!!! I would assume that this would not happen to you if you are going in for a Cardiac Catheterization.  Mostly, because they make sure that people are “out of it” in a Twilight type of sleep so they don’t have the anxiety and terror and pain that I experienced! I was just one of the Unlucky ones, I guess!

The worst part, aside from the horrible extra pain, then the 2 weeks of flares from my  CRPS; was what happened when I went back to my Gen. Cardiologist to explain to him the bad experience that I had. He just listened for a moment and then yelled at me and said very loudly “STOP IT!!”  I started to tear up and cry a bit because my normally gentle and caring Doc had just yelled at me! He yelled at me to “get over my past”! I guess he thought I was upset about the way it went because it brought up some bad memories and feelings. I was but that was not why I was telling him! I was telling him so others would not get hurt like I did.!!!

Needless to say, I’ve not been back to that Dr. and he was one of my favorites too !! From 1991 through about 2011, I guess?? I transferred all of my cardiac care over to my EPS/Autonomic Dysfunction/Pacemaker Dr or “Neuro-Cardiologist”. I decided that I wanted only one heart Dr to handle everything because of being on Blood thinners (Coumadin) and such..I liked the fact that my Neuro-Cardio office had a “Coumadin clinic” with nurses who actually called and reminded me to get my blood drawn. It made me feel more safe about taking an “unsafe” type of medication.

Well, Luvs….bye for now….this was the story of the “Cardiac Cath from Hell”…but I’m glad its over and I’m not sure when I’ll need another but my Cholesterol went from 204, when that heart doc freaked out on me to now its about 223 to 279 it has been!!! YIKES huh??? I do know that the Dr. who did the heart cath only got about 1/2 way done and finally stopped the test because I was crying and screaming so much. They did find 30% stenosis in my heart and they are saying that I do have “CAD”, but it’s not terrible yet or right now…we will see as time goes by.  I don’t eat too much bad stuff, but those Fentanyl transbuccal meds were sugar filled and bad for my teeth. Luckily for me, my dentist made me a special floride tray to use twice weekly and help with that so my teeth did not rot out!! Thank you God for that!!

Thank you for reading about my past experience in 2011, with the Cardiac Cath from Hell!! G’bye Luvs….Suzanne

   a picture of the Cath lab room!

    Here are a few pictures, to show you what I went through; though I was not drowsy in any way , shape or form…

my right RSD wrist after the cardiac cath….it hurts worse than it looks!
It hurts much more than it appears , believe me!!!!
a beautiful flower bouquet that I got from one of my very best friends…and she’s

like a “sister” to me !!

 some nice gifts I got when I was in so much pain afterwards