For those of you that are medically minded, you may well be wondering where exactly the fun can be found in a FemoStop. If you have never come across one, however, I hope to enlighten you as I progress my story. Either way, the time has come for some FemoStop Fun.
You’re So Funny
I consider myself as a bit of a cunning linguist and I hope you can forgive me for allowing certain word associations to slip off my tongue. Let me start by clarifying what a FemoStop is not.
- A FemoStop IS NOT a place on Goth Street for Fake, Fat or Foolish Emos (Urban Dictionary: Femo) to jump on and off the Belligerent Bus.
- A FemoStop IN NO WAY is an anti-gender realignment device that stops Richie becoming Rachel.
- A FemoStop MOST DEFINITELY IS NOT a short stay on the Island of Femø during a Scandinavian holiday (see Wikipedia: Femø for an interesting read).
Time For Some FemoStop Fun
I do love a good geek out, so now that I’ve got the innuendo driven humour out of my system, it’s time to really investigate what a FemoStop is and how it affected me post angioplasty.
A FemoStop is a Femoral Artery Compression Device which is manufactured by St Judes Medical. It is used to assist with hemostasis – that is it stops the bleeding.
Generally when you have any sort of Angiogram they either enter via the femoral artery in the groin or the radial artery in the wrist. For me it was femoral all the way and post procedure I was taken to the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) and entrapped by a FemoStop belt, at an 45o angle with my feet in the air, for what seemed like an eternity; it was me against the FemoStop with discharge being the prize and bleeding to death the forefiet.
The FemoStop itself is most definitely a simple but clever contraption. It consists of a strong plastic section in which is embedded an inflatable dome. This is laid across the front of the groin area with the dome over the insertion point and secured by means of an elasticated belt that is attached around the bum. The dome is inflated by use of a handy little hand pump that incorporates a dinky little pressure gauge.
By the way, if you have a radial artery insertion I believe there is a similar but much smaller compression device that attaches to the wrist. Not sure how that experience feels but would be glad to hear your take on it.
So, feeling a bit dazed and confused, I was wheeled from the Cath Lab to the CCU. With as much dignity as possible the wonderful nursing staff wrapped me up in the FemoStop and pumped up the dome. It wasn’t painful, but it was uncomfortable and I was irritable because the morphine was wearing off.
I was feeling a bit violated. Not because of any unprofessionalism of the wonderful doctors and nurses, but by definition an invasive procedure invades your personal space; in the end you have no option but to relinquish control of the self and trust in providence. I had both a deep sense of gratitude and and an anxiousness of reliance. Not meaning to go all hippy but it was a bit of an out-of-body experience; I was sort of there but also I sort of wasn’t…ohmmmmm.
I was told not to move, to keep as still as I could. I was seriously thirsty and was provided with a large glass of orange squash which I managed to drink via a long string of connected straws. Around once an hour the need to pee was overwhelming and I would press the buzzer for attention. They would tip me the other way, give me ye olde cardboard pee bottle to fill, refresh my drink and tip me back again. Every so often they would come and release the pressure on the inflatable dome a notch.
Eventually (about four hours in reality) I was flat and free from the FemoStop. I think perhaps that my impatience belies in retrospect just how grateful I am to such a simple but beautifully efficient product. In the afternoon my wife, unborn daughter and my son came to visit but didn’t stay to long as my boy was a bit distressed. Later I managed to log on and do a bit of work and it was a great relief to be able to get up and relieve myself without help. I settled down for a good night’s sleep. A little over optimistic perhaps.
The Banshee Bawl
During the night I was woken many times. The main reason for this being what I can only describe as a rather loud and terrifying wailing noise coming from a different part of the ward. I don’t know if it was a man or a woman, but someone sure was in a lot of pain.
This may seem churlish of me, but it really did sound like the wailing lament of the banshee, calling me to the other side. Begone you harbinger of gloom, back to your faerie realm – my death is not yet upon me and your incantation is in vain. I didn’t, of course, say this out loud.
In the morning I begged to be discharged. The doctor seems a bit reluctant but in the end was persuaded by my arguement that I would get more rest at home than on the ward. The next few hours were spent waiting for drugs and discharge forms but I was finally let loose back into the world mid afternoon.