“Any questions?” the anesthesiologist asked for the tenth time. He had just done a very thorough job of explaining the EBUS (Endobronchial Ultrasound) procedure I was about to undergo. So thorough, in fact, that it freaked me out a little bit. Just the thought of all those tubes going down my throat was making me a little panicky.
“Am I going to know what’s going on during the procedure?” I couldn’t imagine being able to lay still while they fished those tubes down my throat. But the doctor had told me that I would only be partly sedated. A “twilight sedation” is what its called. I would be conscious during the procedure but unlikely to remember anything. I’ll do my best to describe what it was really like.
Like my numerous surgeries, I had to have an IV inserted in my hand. I’m honestly impressed with my little hand vein that it has withstood so many punctures in such a short time frame. I hope the rest of my body is that resilient!
Unlike my other surgeries, no chill out medicine was given to me as I was being wheeled back to the OR. This procedure was done at a different hospital than all the others so nothing was familiar to me. I’m not sure why I wasn’t nervous about this. Perhaps I have finally gotten to that point of no longer being scared to die. If I don’t wake up then at least it would be a painless way to go. 🙂
Being totally awake and sober, I took the opportunity to study the OR while the techs busied themselves preparing. I never realized just how many different machines are in the room. This room had a bunch of TV screens hanging above the bed. I was glad that the doctor would be looking at some really huge screens to watch the ultrasound camera during the procedure.
One of the techs came over to me with what looked a big atomizer (like a yellow teapot with a spout and trigger). He told me that he would spraying Lidocaine down my throat to numb it up and that I wouldn’t like it at all. I opened my mouth and he gave the sprayer a couple of good pumps. It didn’t taste that horrible. What was the big deal? Dr Berkowitz (performing the biopsy) stopped studying my PET scan and came over to tell me to pant a couple of times while I got sprayed to get the numbing agent as far down my throat as possible.
The tech sprayed me again while I panted a little. I was a little worried about aspirating this stuff but apparently no one else was. I opened my throat and leaned my head then tried to swallow. TRIED. Whoa! I could feel the liquid go down but could not feel half my throat move much. Weird. I fought down a little panic and told the tech that I thought my throat might be closing up.
He smiled gently and told me that was what it was supposed to feel like. He showed me my blood oxygen level was at 100% and assured me that I was breathing just fine. I tried to relax and act cool but could hear that fool heart monitor betraying me. I was sprayed a few more times and suddenly realized that I felt some pain in my IV hand. I whipped my head around and was about to say OW when the nurse told me she just gave me the anesthesia. Good! Cuz this panicky numb throat thing was getting to me.
She told me to just lay back. She didn’t NEED to tell me as my head was suddenly feeling quite heavy. I couldn’t keep my eyes open either. I wondered how long it would take for me to fall asleep. The sprayer tech told me to open my mouth and that he was going to put a little round plastic thing in it to help keep my mouth open. It wasn’t that big so it wasn’t uncomfortable. He told me to put my tongue in the center of it. I felt him strapping something around my head to hold it place.
I remember the doctor telling me that he was beginning the procedure and that I might feel some pressure but honestly, I don’t remember the specifics anymore. It was weird – I WAS awake so I could perform whatever tasks they were telling me, like to swallow or cough on command. At some point, I realized that I wasn’t able to breath very well. I must have raised my hand like the doc told me to before I was sedated. I remember hearing the techs say something and I learned later that they gave me some more sedation.
Which is probably why I don’t remember anything after that. I woke up in the same draped area I started out in. A nurse was telling me that all went well and that my throat would hurt for a while and that I would cough for about 24 hours. My daughter was there as well. When did she get there??
The doctor came out once I was more awake and told me that he thought everything looked good, but obviously only the pathologist could be sure. He took samples from the three lymph nodes that were causing concern. Two were lower in middle chest -like just below the sternum- and the third one was further up and apparently caused us all some trouble. It was during the attempt to biopsy that one that my trachea started to spasm, making me feel like I couldn’t breath. But he’s a well seasoned doctor and got the sample despite my resisting trachea.
It wasn’t long before the IV was taken out and I was told I could go home. My daughter blessedly asked if I had to eat anything first and they agreed that would be a good idea to make sure I had no problems swallowing. The jello felt like heaven going down.
Now, several hours and a short nap later, my throat is really pissed at me. Between the Lidocaine wearing off and all the coughing I’ve been doing, I think I’m going to take Nyquil tonight to knock me out and coat my aching throat. And yes! My chest feels quite heavy and hurts when I cough. Yuk! This little procedure kicked my butt way worse than any of my surgeries. All on top of a cold too. Boo
I was told it would take 2-5 days to get results. I’m not entirely sure WHO will tell me the results, but I will let you all know as soon as I hear something. I am hoping I get to be pissed about going through all this “for nothing” – that I get the all clear. Then all I have to worry about is figuring out a way to kill the Michael Meyers Larry lump once and for all.
And work on losing the 10 pounds I’ve gained not being to exercise properly. Sigh…