This experience was definitely not on my bucket list – and, I’m pretty sure most folks don’t put medical procedures on theirs either. Actually, many people probably have had this procedure, because it certainly has been refined and it went very smoothly. I admit to a certain amount of trepidation when a doctor says a bone marrow biopsy needed to be scheduled. OY! She advised me not to look it up on the Internet – I didn’t. But, just her simple description and the thought of it left me apprehensive, to say the least. Although I didn’t look it up, I kind of knew a little about this type of procedure. Once the nurse scheduled it, though, she gave instructions: stop taking medications and some supplements several days in advance, no food or drink after midnight, you need a driver, there will be sedation – not uncommon with many procedures; and, she briefly described what would take place. Of course, I knew there is only one way to extract bone marrow….yep! Thank heaven for sedation.
Since my daughter had to be out of state for business reasons, I was fortunate to have a good friend drive me to the hospital early one Monday morning, keep me company, and then take me home. Without her, I would have been much more nervous; the procedure definitely seemed less scary. We arrived at the appropriate time for check-in, and then were taken to the area in which we awaited the procedure. I was given the ubiquitous hospital gown and traditional warm socks. (I was certainly delighted to be able to keep my underwear on!) The nurse assigned to me was wonderful, compassionate, communicative, and knowledgeable; she clearly conveyed what was happening and what she was going to be doing. Of course blood was drawn for testing, results were pretty quick. When blood was drawn, intravenous tubing was attached to my arm. I was to have “conscious sedation.” Pretty cool! Now the waiting began, my friend and I chatted. Finally, the time came for the procedure. My friend leaves for the waiting room and I was wheeled a short way down a hall to THE ROOM – I was doing my best royal wave past the other nurses.
THE ROOM was bustling with activity and I noticed a huge machine – yes, a CT scanning unit (I’ll call Bertha.) Wow! There were folks in a smaller darkened room behind glass; in the large area were my nurse, a technician to operate “Bertha”, a lab technician, and oh yes, the doctor performing the procedure (who, back in the waiting area, described what he was going to do quite clearly – he had a friendly manner, and I might add, was very nice on the eyes, too.) Then, I was helped to lie on my stomach on the table over which “Bertha” moves. With a pillow under my chest, I still watched the bustle. I was attached to all kinds of monitors to observe breathing and heart. At some point, the sedation began. My back was exposed for the scan, and I heard, but of course, did not see “Bertha” move. Only my lower half was scanned. The “site” was marked (it looked much like a hieroglyphic) and a cold solution was applied to my back (which I later observed had given that area a brown/yellowish tinge!) The doctor kindly explained what he was doing, and I felt a bit of a tug. That is all that I consciously remember - but, of course, the site was then bandaged, I was turned back over, placed on my bed and wheeled back into the “holding” area. After a short period of observation, my friend was called back (she had my clothes.) My nurse had a cute care package for me – it included a small bag of cheese crackers, a bottle of water and a snack size bag of cookies. I immediately consumed the water. In a short while, I was cleared to go home. I dressed while my friend went for the car, and I headed down the hall to the restroom. I think the nurses were a bit surprised when they saw me walking by since patients are supposed to use a wheeled device after procedures. Fortunately that excursion was uneventful, and I then followed protocol and was wheeled to the front of the hospital. After arriving about 8:30, I was “home again, home again” by 12:30. Not bad!
My friend saw me safely home saying she would check on me later, then I decided lunch was my next goal. Since I hadn’t eaten for over 12 hours, a veggie frittata was prepared and consumed. Delish! I reviewed the post-procedure information : check for signs of infection at the site, do not drive for 24 hours, do not bathe for 24 hours (ugh), avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity, wait 48 hours before resuming intake of aspirin – these sounded more ominous than the procedure. But, doable. Since I was feeling okay, I thought I would rehearse (only by doing a walk through) dance steps for a class I teach. Well, that was funny, my lower half felt really sluggish, my feet didn’t cooperate – ah, dah, no real surprise there. So, I gave it up and decided it was okay to be lazy and read, relax. I did, though, decide not to attend a class the next morning since the sedation would still be in my system. As it turned out, I was more achy and just a wee bit sore the next day anyway. But, by Thursday I was rolling again and able to teach my class. All done! I am so very grateful for the knowledge, the expertise, and the compassion of each and every staff member at the hospital – such admirable professionalism; I am equally grateful for the help from my friend, which is priceless. This certainly was a memorable experience.