I am ported, but not in the good Science Fiction way.


Long, tough day. Peg showed up at 4:00am and we arrived at KOA in good time for the 6:15 flight to Honolulu, then into the jam-packed shuttle for the trip to the hospital. We arrived much earlier than the 8:30 check-in time but they processed me quickly and pushed forward the surgery time. I did ask the surgeon if I could have a big, flashy, sexy Iron Man-type port and he said he’d look around for one.

I had been told that the anesthetic they planned to use was the same as the one they use for colonoscopies, but it wasn’t, quite. I didn’t feel any pain whatsoever, but I think I was conscious the entire time. To administer the anesthetics, they insert an IV into the back of my hand and tape it down.

The port itself is a triangular plastic thing, about the size of a quarter and maybe a scant 1/4″ thick, with a flexible tube, the catheter, coming out one side of it.

First they locate an artery in the neck via sonogram, then scrub me up and poke through into the artery, and run a wire down that to the top of the heart. In addition to acting as a guide, this also allows them to measure the distance between the port location and the heart. Next, they pick a spot on the chest and open that up, insert the port and insert the catheter so that it runs up to the incision in the neck, then down until it, too, is just above the heart. When they are happy with all this, they stitch me up, then glue me up, then apply gauze to the two incision sites, then tape me using what is suspiciously like clear plastic package sealing tape. The incision sites themselves don’t hurt (or at least not yet) but the tape pulls and itches, and once all the sedation wears off, I don’t like it at all.

After an interminable amount of time in recovery, we start the next part of the adventure: the CT scan. For this I drink two bottles of a sweet, fruity-tasting liquid. Since I haven’t had anything to eat or drink since dinner the night before, I am delighted to chug this stuff. Then a cool contrast dye is injected via the IV in my hand. As it takes effect, it makes my torso feel warm, particularly around the crotch, but I am assured that this does not mean I am leaking onto their equipment. Being in the CT device is kinda science-fictional: the narrow table scoots you into the big white doughnut, then things whiz around inside of it and I am told to breath, hold it, release a number of times.

Then out, back to recovery, allowed to dress, and finally plopped into a wheelchair and off to sister Peg, then into the cab, then via wheelchair through security and to the gate, where Peg got us onto a flight two hours earlier than our scheduled one, and then home and to bed.