Thursday, July 16, 2009

How to Survive Your Cerebral Angiogram!

My doc made the cover!!! Woo hoo!

Also, I lived through the cerebral angiogram, and after my experiences with the damned thing, I'm going to suggest ways it can be better for you if you are needing to have this same procedure done.

Dr. Frank Tong at Emory was the Doctor that performed my C.A., and after we got home, my husband's words-

"I've never met a nicer doctor in my life."

I believe that Tong makes an uncomfortable procedure better because of a kind nature that put me at ease. Palpable integrity, easily put.

Jeff Steinig, Karen Patterson, & Norma Jeans confirmation name is Kathleen... :) hello!

Here are a few steps to make your Cerebral Angiogram a tad easier :).

1. Forget your new panties at home. You will not get to wear them. (I know, I wanted to wear my new panties too. forget it.) They don't call it 'groin' for nothin. However, during your procedure, you are on a heated table, and are covered, um, mostly. When you read other more medically stout sites and they say thing like, "they will shave, scrub, and sanitize the groin area" this does not mean your entire groin area. Actually, you can stick those knees closed tight if indeed it makes you feel less exposed. The ' my ass is in the air' fear is the very least of your worries. (although, I have to tell you that the guy before me that was having the same procedure was pulling the side of his gown trying to cover his exposed ass- but unfortunately, was pulling it the wrong way. I sat horrified watching his naked ass all the way down the hall. Horrified because their were tons of people there, and yikes, that could be me.)

2. Schedule your procedule as early as possible. Things happen. My C.A. got delayed by almost 4 hours, due to a hospital emergency. Scheduled for 2 pm, this means I did not eat since the night before, and the procedure didn't end until nearly 7. Then, you have to lay flat for 4-6 hours, so you have an opportunity to be extremely weak at that point. I could not wait to go home, yet when the nurse had me walk down the hall and back before I could leave, I passed out cold. I had to stay an extra 45 minutes while they got a new bag of IV fluids in me. Personally, I think they should have given the IV bag when I got in the room while I waited the 4 hours. If you are scheduled at an earlier time you may not need this, though. Just in case, bring a big bottle of gatoraid and a bendy straw. In retrospect, I'd get an earlier time, but I'm hoping this won't be something I'll have to go through again. So this is just a suggestion for your sake :).

3. They can put a mild sedative in your IV bag. But not unless you ask for it! I was extremely nervous, but did not actually get the sedative. They forgot. But it was okay, I survived, it really was not so bad. But I say go ahead and ask for it for comforts sake. Also, I closed my eyes almost the entire time- the spaceship technology, hospital atmosphere, and bright lights can be daunting- but you can zone out if you close your eyes. Pretend you are lying in a tanning bed, ha! Chit chat with your Doctor. You'll be fine & it'll be over before you know it.

4. Don't move, don't breathe, don't swallow...This is what they tell you when they shoot the dye in your head. You hold your breath, then they repeat this as they film your arteries. I don't know if explaining the exact feeling of this would be a good or bad thing, because my description will make it sound worse than it is. You'll see some little white lights in your eyes. You'll feel a 'fizzy' feeling in your neck. And you head will feel like it is being filled with hot fluids? It's just strange. I personally feel that all med students should have this done for personal experience sake before they are allowed to perform this procedure on someone else, but that's just me.

5. The worst part of my experience was-A. The fear of the thing. and B. The IV needle. The fear. I'm chicken little, so the idea of it was scary. But the idea of lots of things are scary. My IV needle was poked in my wrist at an angle and I felt it scratching me the entire time, especially with movement. But I have crappy veins for IVs, and you'll do better for sure.

Good luck to ya :)


  1. Thank You for being funny and raising my spirits.
    It will help me cope when I have mine done.

    1. Thank YOU for stopping in.. (It'll all be okay. Fear is really the worst part). <3

  2. this is brilliant! Can I follow your blog somehow?? "Li Sa" on facebook in BA survivors group