Had a biopsy this morning. I usually have one every couple years, but today they chose to go through the jugular. Less invasive that way, rather than the femural artery, something that will keep you bleeding for an hour. I didn’t think I would ever have a neckal (all terms highly technical) biopsy again because, for reasons of self-preservation, that particular vein seems to retract whenever a scalpel gets near it.
Anyhow, I spend last night going hungry, drinking lotsa water, because the docs want your blood vessels thick and liquidy. No coffee this morning, no food in the past 12 hours, and off to the hospital I go. Sign in, strip to my (clean, thanks for the childhood advice, mom!) skivvies and go to OR. Get prepped by three really hot nurses (I swear, they hire young, attractive nurses in order to give us something to hope for) and get laid out like a slab of meat.
The doctor is training a resident, so I get to hear even more about the procedure. “So, we freeze this part of the neck, but we have to find an area that isn’t scarred. Oh, and we only freeze partly, so that the vein doesn’t retract even more.” They then cut into the jugular, and stick in a tube. This tube is used to guide the biotome (a wire with clasping hooks at one end) to the heart. When this biotome is inserted, you can actually feel it passing under your lungs, bumping against your sternum and, worst, your oesophagus, causing a slight gag reflex. It then travels through the right atrium of the heart, and presses against the tricuspid valve. Watching via a monitor, the doctor waits for the valve to open and, when it does, pushes the biotome through, reaching to the bottom of the ventricle. And then, grabs the heart muscle and tugs, until a piece pulls off. You can’t feel that, because there are no nerves in that part of the heart, but you feel the muscles and other body parts around that area react as the heart is pulled upwards. Repeat. Again. And again. Those little pieces are then sent off to a lab, and I’m sent off on my merry way.
But, damn, my neck hurts.