Pulling on my new pair of non-slip hospital socks this week definitely brought back some old memories. So too did lying in a bed for several hours wearing a white gown and robe with strict orders not to get up or move my head.
I can’t say the memories were all good ones—because they weren’t—but I’m pleased to report that the day ended very well. It went something like this:
On Tuesday, May 16, I returned to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester for a cerebral angiogram that my neurosurgeon, Dr. Giuseppe Lanzino, had scheduled over a year ago. The purpose was to check the strength of the walls of the arteries in my brain to make sure that I’m not in danger of having another “blowout,” as happened in December, 2015, resulting in my original trip to St. Mary’s.
My procedure itself lasted maybe half an hour, though I was at the hospital from 6:00 AM until about 4:30 PM. As is often the case, most of that time was spent waiting—waiting and hoping that everything would turn out alright.
Once in surgery, things went pretty quickly. The procedure involved making an incision in my groin and feeding a tiny camera up my femoral artery, through my body, and into the arteries of my brain. As I needed to hold my breath at certain points in order for the process to work correctly, I was awake the entire time. It was a little strange feeling the light burning sensation at various places inside my head and neck as the doctors pumped in the dye required to capture the images. It was also a bit surreal seeing the images of my brain on the large monitor above me as they were highlighted in turn.
After a couple hours of bedrest I was ready to be released and go home, which definitely beat spending 36 days down there like I got to do last time. Before I left, Dr. Lanzino stopped by to talk with me about the results of the angiogram. The news was good. While the condition that I have—and apparently have had for my entire life—can never go away, everything is currently under control, and I’m not in any immediate danger of having another “incident.” In fact, as of right now, I don’t even need any follow-up appointments.
I was also finally able to get a photo with Dr. Lanzino, who is a very busy man. Dr. Lanzino will always be to me the face of St. Mary’s Hospital, as he is one of an extremely small number of people I remember from throughout the course of my ordeal there. I will forever be grateful to him and to all of those who helped me and supported me during that difficult time.
Now, with my final hospital visit complete, I hope to move on with my life, but I will never forget all the generous people who enabled me to be where I am today.