I did not let my pathological fear of spending money impede my health. No: I had my Procedure yesterday, and it was successful. The heart issue should be resolved.
In fact, I turned out to be at a slightly higher risk for Bad Things as I had not one but two extra nerves in my heart; thus the possibility of the condition's becoming "Incompatible with Life" was greater than it might have been. But everything is fine. I went in at 8 and started getting prepped at around 8:45--IV's and electrodes were slapped on me, lots of people explained lots of things, I was wheeled around, and then there was a mask over my mouth and I was told to breathe deeply. I breathed once--twice--three times--and the next thing I knew was the nurse's voice in my ear telling me that the procedure had been entirely successful. Then the anesthesiologist said something to me, and then I think that I told the nurse that my throat hurt--it's all very hazy--and she said that she'd give me something for that. All of a sudden I felt even woozier and sort of floaty; she'd given me a "narcotic," and I did not object. So after about an hour in the hectic recovery room I was taken up to a private room, where TM and my mother met me. They gave me a pain pill and I almost immediately threw up. But some anti-nausea medication and a little bit of food enabled me to keep down some Tylenol, and I felt better.
In time I got up and walked around, leaning on TM's arm. It felt vaguely like Taking a Turn about the Baths. It surprised me how weak and light-headed I was--I couldn't go very far that first time, just down to the lounge where there was a beautiful bird cage with little bright birds in it.
We spent the night in the hospital, TM on the chair in my room and my mom in the lounge. I didn't sleep much, since I couldn't get into very many positions (I had several bandages on me and an IV) and people kept coming in to change things and check things and DO things. An EKG at 5 am, for example. But we were out by 11 am and drove home through the snow.
What's surprising to me is the toll that it's taken on my body. The procedure itself was minimally invasive--a tube up through a vein, another through an artery, and a thing at my shoulder (I've forgotten why that one was there). (The two primary tubes went up from the groin, and I awoke to find that I'd been, er, shaved. A little startling.) So they go up through the vein, and poke around, and stimulate the heart with adrenaline, and burn the extra nerves. Four hours of operating, less than 5 hours unconscious. Apparently what makes the body so achy is the lying still: my joints and muscles are all sore and stiff. But the incision sites--as small as those incisions are--are sore, and especially the muscles in my upper legs, presumably just from their poking around in there. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to recovery from more serious surgery.
(I'd also just like to mention, even though I can't name the hospital, how fabulous everyone there was. So friendly and cheerful and helpful. They all seemed to be in a good mood, even--especially--right before the procedure itself, which did a lot to assuage both my and my family's anxiety. And the doctor checked in with TM and my mom about every 45 minutes throughout the process, which they really appreciated. All in all, terrific care. So thanks, Major Ordinary City Hospital!)