PACE…It’s not just salsa.

Today, mom and I got up at dark o’clock and made our way into the hood.  Specifically, the Keck Medical Center of USC for my PACE appointment.

PACE = Pre-Operative Assessment and Center for Education

Basically, pre-op.

I met with the pre-op nurse and went over all the instructions.  No eats or drinks after midnight. No meds in the morning.  No lotions. No No No NO NO!

I also got the funky cleaning cloths to use post-shower on the morning of surgery.  Use cloth 1 for your arms, cloth 2 for your stomach, cloth 3 for your front legs, blah blah blah.   My skin is super sensitive so it will be fun to see if I break out in hives.

The nurse was really nice but when she was asking me things like “do you have chest pain?”  or “Do you have headaches?”   I was all “Yes, every freaking day.”   Some of the things she seemed concerned about are just side effects of the Aplastic Anemia.  Nothing I can do about it.  Some things are side effects of the Aplastic but got worse when I started my new meds.  So I have no idea how to answer “how long has it been?”.  15 years or 4 months, take your pick.  Anyway, she made it through the interview without crying in frustration.   She was also super cool and checked all my diabetic medication to see what I should and shouldn’t take the day of.

Then I had an EKG with a nice tech with a thick eastern european accent.  I think we had a conversation about Thanksgiving.  My favorite part was when she started the EKG and immediately went “Oh.”   She asked me “What is your normal heart rate?” My normal heart rate is in the mid 90’s.  My HR at that point was 108.  An hour earlier it was 128.  A little anxious I am. (-yoda).  I was done with that after a few minutes.

Then I met with the anesthesiologist NP.  I was told by a doc that I would meet an attending anesthesiologist and we would talk about my port and what they would do that day, etc…  But no.  It seems as though the only thing they do at PACE is tell you if you are cleared for anesthesia.  You don’t get to discuss actual port vs IV stuff until the morning OF surgery.   So I made him write a note to the attendings that I would refuse a big IV and they needed to use my port.  We’ll see.  I’m still a bit nervous about that but I can’t do anything about it.  They also decided to order a cardiac clearance so sometime next week I see a cardiologist and possibly have an echocardiogram.  Another day in paradise.

Then I was good to go home.

I got a call from Interventional Radiology this afternoon.  They are the ones that will be putting in my port tomorrow.  Again, Nothing after midnight, no lotions blah blah blah.  It’s a twilight anesthesia but I’m having a hard time with it.  Just nerves.  Big fat ones.  I wouldn’t consider the things flying around in my stomach butterflies, more like giant rabid flying meanies.

Or it could have been the Chipotle I had for dinner.

Nothing after midnight means I am pounding down the water and food for the next hour.

What is it about being told you can’t eat that makes you so hungry?

FIGHTING ON (and running for the fridge)



7 Comments on “PACE…It’s not just salsa.”

  1. Sue. says:

    Tell your rabid flying meanies I said they had better cool their jets! They got their point across and are free to travel to the next surgery newbie.

    Best wishes for a boring and routine procedure. Thinking of you often. xoxo 🙂


  2. Sue Downing says:

    I don’t want to diminish the real feelings and experiences you are having about something serious with my stupid “analogies”, but will say it’s not just you. My silly pain issue, when asked how long it’s been going on, the reply of “over a year” gives them a pause. Asked what I’ve been doing, some of the medical personel have looked perplexed when I list what I’ve been doing. I think it’s a matter of who they are used to dealing with. In my case, some of the early people I saw were used to either older people with sudden injuries who were debilitated by the injury (rather than a repetitive motion type of thing that snuck up slowly, which I think more fits my experience), or dealing with kids who move a lot but not so much adults that don’t sit still.

    Some of the least helpful advice I’ve gotten was, “you do too much”. Really? Maybe but there are people older than me kicking my ass at the sports I play. I will admit that the pairing of hockey w/ triathlon might be a tough one, and that I’d probably have more success at either by only doing one or the other.

    My dad and a similarly-aged gentleman in my cycling class have both gotten the “you’re too old to do this” kind of response from doctors regarding their heart situations. I don’t think that’s the right answer. The right answer might be, “you have this situation and need to modify what you’re doing, which might be to slow your pace or to take a break”. But the blanket, “what are you thinking? You’re 6x years old and much to old for this shit” is narrow minded.

    So as you already know, I”m sure some of the responses you are getting from some of the people you’ve spoken with is due to the experiences they’ve had, which don’t happen to match your experiences. Heart conditions and side effects are more common than your anemia, so what she hears concerns her but is “normal” to you.

    OK, I’ll stop rambling now. Best of luck today.



  3. Penny Korn says:

    Hang in there Pam! Sending prayers and love 🙂 Fight On!


  4. Lori Lewis says:

    I had Chipotle for dinner last night, too! Awwwww….#dinnertwins ❤

    And I'm taking shooting practice at those rapid flying meanies….. "pew! pew pew!"

    Hang in and fight on, mama! You're in my mind and heart. Can't wait to see you on Sunday!


  5. elizabeth lamar says:

    Hi, Pam You are so right! When they say no food, you want it now and then some. your schedule leaves me breathless. I have a feeling you will come out with flying colors. Speaking of colors, perhaps you could redesign the gray booby. ( I would so gladly have my ‘rack’ removed and go braless the rest of my life. What freedom!)

    If you see me running around on the power chair outside and it looks like I have reached total senility and don’t know where I am going, I am actually trying to keep the batteries functioning.

    Microwave oven malfunctioned, shorted out electricity. Panicky me, I hired electricians who charged me for work they probably didn’t need to do. Power chair wouldn’t charge, so I had to get a tech out. It was not the batteries, but the charger. Replaced under warranty. Had to get another recliner, so today I had movers out to move a few pieces of furniture and get rid of stuff I no longer use, like an ironing board. Yay! These are my reclining years, so I can’t understand why I seem to keep so busy!

    Happy Thanksgiving! We really do have so much to be thankful for. Nice park, nice weather, nice folks, and nice kitties, well, the last is mostly true. What would I do without my furry friend. Love to you and your mom. Elizabeth


  6. Kimberly Miller says:

    If we want to send cheerful things to you to aid your recovery, how can we? Inquiring minds wish to know.


  7. Barbara DiCarlo says:

    Hi Pam, eat on and enjoy! Hope you and mama have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Love to you both. Barbara


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