I was due for a checkup with my specialist in Houston, because where I’m from we don’t have a specialist for Pulmonary Hypertension. So we have drove forever and made it down here yesterday. Its been about 2 years since my last heart catheterization, so I was fully prepared to have one when I came down.
PH patients have heart caths not only diagnose this condition, but to also measure pressures and look at the structure of the heart itself. We go through our regular checkup, walking tests, blood work, echocardiagrams and sometimes heart caths are necessary. I’ve had two so far – one in my leg and one in my neck. If they go through your femoral artery (the leg/groin area) you have to lay flat for 6 hours after the surgery (to keep from busting that artery back open), your leg will be sore and bruised for a while after, and you risk some nerve damage. I have nerve damage from my first heart cath. I get severe pain in my right leg, it’ll give out on me going downstairs and strength wise its just a lot different than my left now. When it comes to the neck cath you can leave practically an hour after, however your neck will feel awful almost immediately! I could not move and it wouldn’t stop bleeding for a while after either. I couldn’t believe how comfortable I couldn’t get! No pillow would support my neck right and not to mention the pain. We went to a pharmacy to pick up my pain pills right after my surgery and my dad bought me this goofy looking pillow that he thought would help. I was just so ready to be back to the hotel and lay down that I didn’t think twice about the pillow.
This “Total Pillow” was my hero! Dude, this thing was legit. I could bend it any way I wanted it, but mainly I would fold it in half where it cupped the back of my head and supported my neck perfectly. I didn’t have to move it or try to lift it at all. Definitely saved my life when it came to surgery recovery!
So on this trip I brought it, fully prepared to take on the wrath of a neck heart cath. Luckily, my recovery is going excellent! Just an echo, blood work, walking test and a check up! For some of you who want to know exactly the medications I’m on are: Norvasc, Adcirca, and Warfarin. The Norvasc has worked so well for me that we are having to lower my dosage!! I am definitely lucky when it comes to this recovery, and didn’t have to have a heart cath. But that doesn’t stop other PH patients from having to go through them!! So if you have to have a heart cath anytime soon and know its going to be in your neck, get this pillow! Its amazing and I know you’ll find one! I have ugly blue, but looks like they have some cute colors and designs available now. Definitely may invest in a cute one to bring with me to the hospital for future caths to match my leopard surgery socks. Be a patient IN Style and IN comfort!! 😉