An angiogram in style - The Hindu

2022-10-09 07:13:15 By : Ms. Minnie Song

The operation theatre did look somewhat like a studio, with bright LED lights and freezing air conditioning.` | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I have never strutted before a camera for a photoshoot to put together a portfolio to advertise myself. Naturally, I am not aware how the models prepare themselves for the event. But before my angiography, I was given a royal shave in my hospital bed, a luxury I had not enjoyed in the past. I also got my hair brushed after several days, while profanely paraphrasing T. S. Elliot, with a chuckle, in my mind:

“I grow old, I grow cold/I get my hair dressed on a roll.”

For the uninitiated, angiography is a type of X-ray used to check blood vessels. Blood vessels do not show clearly on a normal X-ray, so a special dye needs to be injected into the blood first. This highlights patient’s blood vessels, allowing the doctor to see if there is any problem such as calcium deposits. The X-ray images created during angiography are called angiograms.

A little while after the shave, I saw a hush-hush conversation going on between the nurse attending on me and the barber on duty. They were all the while looking at me. I wondered what the conversation was about and how did it concern me. Upon enquiry, I was told something which I couldn’t quite comprehend. Later it turned out that for my tryst with the angiography machine, I had to undergo a fair share of hair removal. In the end, the job was done quite comprehensively, twice over, but was restricted to certain specific parts of the body only.

The operation theatre, into which I was rolled in a couple of hours later, did look somewhat like a studio, with bright LED lights and freezing air conditioning. While preparing me for the slaughter, even the wipes used were very cold.

Before the operation, I was touched up quite roughly, adding a needle and a variety of straps which, of course, for the life of me, I couldn’t see, but I was intrigued by diverse sensations. It almost felt as if I was being dressed up for preservation like an Egyptian mummy of yore. Then, suddenly I felt something coursing through my veins and I calmed down.

Soon enough, almost from nowhere, arrived a huge boulder-like square robotic equipment, looking like a combination of the face of an extraterrestrial and the head of a bulldozer. Driven by artificial intelligence (machine learning, deep learning, Internet of Things, nuclear medicine and what have you), it hovered around me, tilting from side to side, to take a look from near and far. Occasionally, it came into kissing distance, but backed away soon enough, not that I had any time or ability or intention to display lack of consent.

When the mauling was over, the cleaning-up operation was even more painful than the one done during the dressing up. I felt like an artefact being got ready for an important display, ahead of a VIP visit to a showroom. Various appendages were mercilessly ripped off, engendering excruciating pain, since the hair removal had been restricted to certain parts of the body only.

The removal of hair from specific body parts remained a mystery, till the doctor clarified later. It was part of Option B, which, as it transpired, was not required to be put into operation.

I was rolled back into the ward, fully restored, except for a band on my right wrist which hurt like hell. That is where the needle had been fixed to insert the dye to travel through my veins. I was told not to use that wrist for the next few hours. It made things a little difficult, since it was my right hand and I am not a diehard lefty.

But my final feeling was one of a great relief, as it would have been if I had returned from a successful photoshoot. My portfolio was ready and raring to go to the next stage, which turned out be a more serious business, as I was advised to get a couple of stents put in my arteries leading to my heart, in due course. But thereby hangs another tale...

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