Angiogram Check Up

I had my 1-year angiogram (video) check-up yesterday at Maine Medical Center in Portland to see
how the stent, re-coiling, and small aneurysm were doing. I was a little nervous, but more concerned about experiencing pain at the onset of the procedure than anything else. So, I expressed my concern with everyone who would listen. LOL You’re not put completely “under” because they need you to be semi-awake to participate in the procedure when they ask you to hold your breath or hold completely still at certain times.

I was given some minor meds that made me very, very dopey, but I still felt quite a bit of discomfort in the groin when they started to insert the wire (video). I have to believe this particular area of the artery has endured quite a bit over the last 5 1/2 years with multiple angiograms, coiling, stenting and recoiling. There MUST be some scar tissue or something there that makes this part particularly painful. Once that part was over I did not recall too much pain.

Dr. Ecker uses a much smaller catheter which means the puncture hole is so small that an angio-plug or seal is not needed. Unfortunately, that means one poor member of the procedure team is in charge of putting pressure on my groin until it stops bleeding after the angiogram. LOL Thank you Brian! The plug is painful…you were not.

As usual, the staff in the Radiology department at Maine Med were fantastic. From the main reception area to the medical team involved with the pre- and post-procedures, they’re very professional, fun, and attentive. I recalled several names and faces and they even remembered me too, which is kind of sad! LOL That means I’ve been there enough times for them to recall who I am, even with the number of patients they must see on a daily basis.

While I was being wheeled out of the interventional radiology suite, they informed me that Dr. Ecker was already showing Dave the 3D images that had just been taken. Because my glasses were taken away from me before the procedure, I couldn’t see anything or make out any faces, but I heard Dr. Ecker’s voice and Dave’s and as I was being wheeled by they gave me the good news that preliminarily things looked good! So that was fantastic news.

Another off-shoot of using the thinner catheter is that the stay for the patient at the hospital is much shorter as well. Only two-hours in recovery where I had to keep my right leg still and flat and couldn’t raise my head too high in the bed. MUCH better than 4-6 hours afterwards. Two-hours was very doable. I was able to eat a yummy turkey & cheese sandwich, a bowl of fruit and a cookie with Dave’s help. Difficult to eat half laying down without making a mess or choking, but we did it.

So, we left the hospital around 1:30 and were home shortly before 3. After calling my mom, I promptly went to bed and slept for 3 hours. I’m sore and sleepy today, but overall pretty good.

I’ll have my follow-up, in-office appointment with Dr. Ecker a week after next because he’s on vacation next week. I’m hoping that after closer inspection and comparison with last year’s pictures he doesn’t find anything of interest and that we’ll still be cleared for our trip next month. I think, and know, that if Dr. Ecker had seen anything major yesterday he would have informed us of it at that point. He doesn’t mess around and is a straight shooter, which I like.

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