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Chapter 11: After Cardiac Arrest, Part 3

Chapter 11: After Cardiac Arrest, Part 3

I know this chapter is a long time overdue. For some reason I kept putting off getting into the headspace of my heart story. But now I’m back, and ready to keep writing. It’s been a while since I last posted, so here’s a quick […]

Chapter 10: After Cardiac Arrest, Part 2

Chapter 10: After Cardiac Arrest, Part 2

At the risk of being repetitive (since I’ve already posted about this on Instagram a few times), I want to apologize for taking so long to publish this chapter. About a month ago I hit my head very hard on an open cabinet in my […]

Chapter 9: After Cardiac Arrest, Part 1

Chapter 9: After Cardiac Arrest, Part 1

Hello! Picking up where I left off last week. To catch up, read Chapter 8: Waking Up from a Coma. *** The next morning my family walked into my hospital room at 7:15am. Expecting me to still be asleep, they were amazed to find me sitting […]

Chapter 8: Waking Up From A Coma

Chapter 8: Waking Up From A Coma

I apologize that it took me so long to write this chapter. I’ve had so many happy occasions since I posted the last Heart Story chapter (Chapter 7: Cardiac Arrest, Part 3) – my sister got married, I got engaged, I celebrated a birthday – […]

STATE Bags: Fashion with A Cause

STATE Bags: Fashion with A Cause

A dear friend of mine recently started working with STATE bags. She introduced me to the company, and I fell in love with the cause. If you haven’t already heard of STATE, you should know that they’re a 1-for-1 company based out of Brooklyn. Their mission […]

Engagement Story

Engagement Story

I’m just going to dive right in because it’s a rather hysterical story that I think you will get a good chuckle out of. It was also one of our happiest days, ever! *** Early this summer Scott planned a trip to Paris for “my birthday.” […]

My 5 Fall Beauty Buys

My 5 Fall Beauty Buys

It’s that time of year again where my skin/hair/face all start to look a little drier, duller, and paler. So I’ve stocked up on some key products to help combat the effects of the changing weather. Here are five of my fall favorite beauty buys: […]

Chapter 7: Cardiac Arrest, Part 3

Chapter 7: Cardiac Arrest, Part 3

I want to start today’s post with a HUGE thank you to my friend Erica, my aunt, and especially my mom for taking the most meticulous notes while I was in the hospital in a coma. Without them I would have never been able to […]

Why I Decided to Write My Story & How It Feels

Why I Decided to Write My Story & How It Feels

I want to start today’s post with an enormous THANK YOU for reading my story and even more, for the overwhelming love, support and encouragement I’ve received. I’m incredibly touched by every single email, conversation, comment, message and DM. I can’t express how much your kind […]

Chapter 6: Cardiac Arrest, Part 2

Chapter 6: Cardiac Arrest, Part 2

I’d like to preface this chapter by thanking Lizzie, my parents and my aunt for helping me write today’s post. It’s strange, but although I was there the whole time I didn’t actually experience the majority of that night, so I had to rely on […]


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Chapter 11: After Cardiac Arrest, Part 3

Chapter 11: After Cardiac Arrest, Part 3

I know this chapter is a long time overdue. For some reason I kept putting off getting into the headspace of my heart story. But now I’m back, and ready to keep writing.

It’s been a while since I last posted, so here’s a quick recap of where I left off: In the last chapter I had just been discharged from the hospital eight days post cardiac arrest. Once out of the hospital I went to my first appointment with my cardiologist (who is still my cardiologist today). He determined that I’d have to get an angioplasty to open up the other blocked arteries in my heart. After a series of doctors visits and millions of tests, the chapter ends with me in the hospital waiting to get an angioplasty.

To read the full previous chapter, you can go to Chapter 10: After Cardiac Arrest, Part 2.

***

I quietly followed the nurse into the prep room, where I’d get ready for the procedure. She didn’t seem that much older than I was, but she immediately took a calming, motherly approach with me. My nerves must have been pretty obvious.

“Don’t worry, sweetie. It’s not that bad, I promise. I know you’re really nervous, so we’ll give you a little something to help you relax. Here,” she handed me a neatly folded pile of hospital garments, “change into your gown, and we’ll get your blood test and IV started.”

I put on the hospital gown and socks, stored all my clothes in the plastic bag that was included, and climbed onto the gurney in my prep area. I was shaking. Partly due to nerves, partly because I was freezing. I knew this wouldn’t bode well for me. I have tiny veins, and when I get cold they shrink up even more, making them impossible to find.

It took over an hour for the nurse to get the IV in, even after she had brought me two warm blankets and a heat pack. After eight or nine attempts (a few different nurses tried), they finally got it. By then I was faint and nauseous, on the verge of passing out. Don’t worry, the worst is over, I thought to myself. Now that you have your IV they can give you anesthesia, it’ll be over before you know it.

A few minutes later another nurse came in to check my blood pressure – it had gotten pretty low during the IV troubles. “Ok, your blood pressure is back to normal. Now we can give you a little medicine to help you relax,” she said.

“Ok. Am I going in soon?” I asked.

“Well, it took so long to get your lead in that the doctor had to take another patient. But you’ll likely be next. Just try to relax, maybe close your eyes and take a nap,” she suggested as she put a little sedative in my IV. I didn’t feel relaxed at all. Rather I felt even more anxious that I’d missed my procedure time.

I kept waiting for my nerves to go away, but they persisted, in full force. My first nurse came in to check on me, “How are you doing, sweetie?”

“I’m okay, I’m so nervous, I just want it to be over with.”

“We’ll get you in there as soon as possible, don’t worry. I’ll give you a little more medicine to help your anxiety.”

She gave me more sedative and I remember thinking, I hope it’s okay that I got two doses before the anesthesia?

Finally, it was my turn to go into the catherterization lab. I was wheeled in on the same gurney I’d been laying in all morning. The cath lab looked just like an operating room from Grey’s Anatomy. There were big screens behind me, huge bright lights, tall silver tables with all kinds of tools – I tried not to guess what they’d be used for. Considering all the time I’d spent in the hospital the past few weeks, I hadn’t been in a room like this before – at least not while I was conscious. It totally freaked me out. You’ll be put under soon, just relax, I told myself. It’ll be like taking a long nap.

A group of nurses and doctors came in and began to prep me. Electrodes to monitor my heart were stuck onto my chest. An oxygen sensor was clipped to my pointer finger. Another nurse started to clean and prep the artery near my the top of my thigh where the procedure would take place. A blue paper-like blanket was placed over my upper body, up to my chin. I was told to stay as still as possible and not to take my arms out from under the blanket. The blanket also blocked any view of my lower body.

Soon enough the doctor who was performing the procedure came in to speak to me. He was wonderful – direct but kind, clearly brilliant but with a great sense of humor. He was the Director of Cardiac Catherterization, so I relaxed a bit, knowing I was in the best possible hands.

“Ok, Cristina. We’re going to start by numbing your groin with a local anesthesia so I can insert the catheter into your artery. I’ll guide the catheter through your arteries to get a closer look at the arteries in your heart. We’ll be giving you contrast through the catheter, so you may feel a warm sensation. If I see any blockages, I’ll try to open and stent them if possible. Apart from the anesthesia shots, you shouldn’t feel much. Just let us know if you ever get uncomfortable.”

It was then that I realized I would be awake during the entire procedure. That brief moment of feeling relaxed flew right out the window. Being that I was all prepped, on the table, and tucked under a paper blanket, I resolved not to panic. But inside my nerves were going crazy.

“Ok, time to numb you,” the doctor said. “You’ll feel some pinching, but it’ll be over in a few minutes. Ready?”

“Ok,” I whispered. I squeezed my hands into fists and shut my eyes as tight as possible.

“Alright,” he said. “Take a deep breath. Just a few shots. Here we go…”

***

As always, thank you so much for reading! Next chapter will be coming soon.

xo Cristina


Fashion

STATE Bags: Fashion with A Cause

STATE Bags: Fashion with A Cause

A dear friend of mine recently started working with STATE bags. She introduced me to the company, and I fell in love with the cause. If you haven’t already heard of STATE, you should know that they’re a 1-for-1 company based out of Brooklyn. Their mission […]

A Dreamy Dress by Tallulah & Hope

A Dreamy Dress by Tallulah & Hope

How dreamy is this dress? I got it a few months ago from Tallulah & Hope and have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to wear it. My last trip to Santa Barbara seemed like the perfect setting. There’s a duplicity about this dress that […]

My 3 Wardrobe Staples for the Summer

My 3 Wardrobe Staples for the Summer

Today it’s practically a thousand degrees in New York, so I’m running around town in a short dress and flats. But on a typical summer day when the temperatures are more moderate, you can find me in my usual uniform: vintage inspired jeans, a button […]

Soft Floral Maxi Dresses

Soft Floral Maxi Dresses

“Florals, for Spring. Groundbreaking.” But really, I can’t fill my closet with enough soft floral maxi dresses right now – I’m obsessed. And there are so many beautiful ones out there. This particular dress came from H&M (!!), and they actually have so many others […]

Cara Brown Designs: One of A Kind Statement Necklaces

Cara Brown Designs: One of A Kind Statement Necklaces

When I first opened my Instagram account (7 years ago!), I had no idea what the platform really was. I basically started an account so that I could use the filters on my photos. I didn’t even realize that it was a social media platform […]