So this morning I went in to have the mediport inserted. The last time was a complete fail because of my collapsed SVC (superior vena cava). With the new stent keeping that open, Dr. Cardella was sure he’d be able to get the mediport placed this time. He also wanted to be the one to put in the mediport as he wanted to be very careful threading the catheter thru the stent.
I opted to have the procedure using only a local anesthetic as I didn’t want to have to go through a lengthy recovery. I also needed to be able to drive myself home, even though my wife decided she wanted to be with me. The reaction of the pre-surgery nurse when I told her I was not having anesthesia was priceless. After telling her I only wanted a local there was dead silence on the other end of the phone and I wondered if we’d been disconnected. Nope she just hadn’t had many people ever go that direction.
Going with only a local also meant I went into the surgery room fully awake. While the nurse was getting the room prepared I hoped off the table and took some quick pictures. Hands down the radiology surgery room is one of the coolest rooms I’ve seen. Looking at the equipment you immediately realize why even a half hour procedure costs an arm and a leg.
The actual preparation for the procedure takes almost as long as the procedure itself. I had to be fully draped – the only area left exposed was the left side of my neck and upper chest. This area had what they called the “window” placed over it. They “tented” the draping over my head leaving me a small opening for me to look out. Given my head was turned to the right the whole time my vision was limited to the back wall and the nurse who stayed within my vision and was monitoring my vitals.
Not wanting to be a nuisance I tried to keep my questions to a minimum but I found everything so fascinating it was hard to curb my enthusiasm. Probably the worst part of the whole procedure was having he surgical sites numbed with the lidocaine. I knew from previous experience it burns going in but that didn’t lesson the – OUCH! Of course it only lasts a second or two and then the area is numb. Unfortunately it’s done a number of times at the beginning of the procedure but within a minute it’s all over. After that the only sensation I had was like he was pushing on the area with his finger. After about 5 minutes Dr. Cardella asked how I was doing and I said I’d let him know once he started to which he chuckled saying he’d already started. Guess that answered his question.
Part way through the procedure I heard a couple of voices behind me I didn’t recognize. I asked the nurse who else was in the room? Looking over me the nurse asked, “Did you introduce yourselves to Mr. Kenney? He’s awake over here.” I laughed to myself thinking my being awake must have thrown whoever was in the room. Into my vision walked to young medical students who introduced themselves to me. I recall the young lady saying she was majoring in pediatrics and the young man’s focus was orthopedic surgery. At this comment Dr. Cardella asked if he’d met his brother who apparently is an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital.
Inserting a mediport is apparently a cake walk procedure and shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. Dr. Cardella however was taking no shortcuts in putting mine in, not after the struggle he had getting my stent inserted just two weeks prior. At 40 minutes he finally got to the point where he cut in the “pocket” for the mediport to sit in. 5 minutes later he had put in a couple of sutures and was finished.
All in all it wasn’t that bad being awake and it was well worth being able to hear what was going on during the procedure. Dr. Carella made it sound like what he did was no big deal. All the same it was obvious he takes pride in his work and was very pleased with how well everything went. He’s definitely become another favorite in my ever growing Rolodex of physicians!