Okay this post has nothing to do with This is Spinal Tap, but I recently found out that my veins measure 11 mm in my leg. Seriously. That’s just huge. Well, as of today, I have one less vein in my left leg. After months of preparation and scheduling conflicts, I had venous ablation. Let me tell you about it. (Don’t read this while you’re eating).
For years, I have been dealing with really ugly blue varicose veins in my leg. Seriously ugly. Like, I haven’t worn shorts, or a skirt shorter than mid-calf in at least 5 years. My daughter thought they looked like big mosquito bites.
When I realized they were actually hurting, I decided to take them to the doctor. My PCP sent me to a vein surgeon. He was mightily impressed with my really ridiculously heinous veins, but he said I would be better off with a different procedure. See, this guy would just do a stripping where he would remove the offending vein from hip to ankle. The Dr. he was sending me to, does something completely different, and only slightly less gross.
I went to see the new guy at a hospital I didn’t even know we had in this town. For real. I had my veins mapped from hip to ankle to make sure my veins were big enough to be eligible for the procedure. That’s when I found out my veins go to 11. They’re huge. Apparently.
I was originally scheduled to have this procedure last month. But I showed up with the remains of a sinus infection. They couldn’t do it. Too much risk of infection. So they rescheduled me. A week later, they realized the doctor was going to be gone that day. Reschedule again. The day before the scheduled date, they did some math and realized my legs were longer than the catheter they had (I’m 6′ tall.) Not going to work. Reschedule again.
Today was the day. Doctor in the house. Adrienne sans infection. Correct length of catheter. Let’s go! They stuck me with the IV and took me to the procedure room. I was chillin’ on the table, chatting with the techs and doctor and stuff. They’re working out how they’re going to do this thing cause the top half of the vein is on the front of my leg, and the bottom half of the vein is on the back. No problem. I complained that my IV was poking me. After making sure the thing was working, they decided I just needed narcotics. I fell asleep not too long after that.
The difference between this surgery and the usual kind is that it didn’t matter when I woke up in the middle of the procedure. I seriously woke myself up snoring a couple of times. I woke up enough to realize they were still busy with my leg, and went back to sleep. Basically, what he did was run a catheter up my vein a cauterize the inside of it to shut it down. No vein, no varicosity. (That’s a real word. I swear.)
I woke up just in time to hear the doctor say, “Oh, hey! The other ones are gone! They disappeared. We’re done.” Then I had a conversation with the techs about Saturday Night Live and “More Cowbell.” Apparently, when he shut down one vein, it shut down the other ones that were attached to it. Neat.
One hour in surgery. One hour in recovery. Then Michael and I went to lunch.