Monday, November 4, 2013

A Visit To The Doctor

In February of this year I shared my story about my ongoing problem with breathing.

I was sick again on September 6th with yet another bout of chronic bronchitis.  I eventually got better.  My follow-up visit with the doctor was a little strange in that my lung specialist spent about 20 minutes reading something on the computer in the examination room.

I sat there quietly watching him scroll through page after page, exit that screen and enter another.  I didn’t dare speak.  I didn’t want to break his concentration.  Honestly, it was nerve-racking.

Finally, he turned to me and asked how long I had been taking Lisinopril.  I answered that I had been prescribed that medication shortly after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, so somewhere around 2006 or early 2007.  He said that 1 in 20 patients who take Lisinopril for long periods of time develop the kind of cough I had. 

He said he wanted to change my blood pressure medicine to Diovan®.  His hope was to eliminate the all-too-frequent coughing that I was experiencing. His instruction to me was to discontinue taking the Lisinopril because using both would lower my blood pressure too much.

I had my follow-up visit with him today.  He asked how I was feeling.  I cheerily answered that I didn’t know if it was psychosomatic or physiological, but I had almost stopped the coughing entirely.

That answer brought me to a place I never expected to go.

Acknowledging that the cough was better, he said that the fact remained that I still had restrictive lung disease which was causing my air hunger.

He said he wanted to have me take thyroid tests—T3 and TSH—to determine whether I have inadequate thyroid function.  A poorly functioning thyroid affects the way the body uses energy.  I have a high-stress job and thyroid problems ain’t good.

So we talked a little bit about how a poorly functioning thyroid can affect other organs in the body.  Then he said he wanted to learn more about why I was still suffering from a shortness of breath.

He said he wanted me to also undergo a complete pulmonary function test with and without a bronchodilator.  He thought maybe my heart could be the source of the problem.

It was then that I decided to tell him that my grandmother had heart disease, my mother had a heart murmur and died as a result of multiple sclerosis and that my dad died from an ischemic heart attack.

His eyes got as big as saucers and also scheduled me for an EKG and a dypsnea stress test.

So, on November 12th and November 14th, just days from now, your humble scribe will be testing her little guts out.

This doctor really cares about me.  I’m glad I found him and I’m hopeful that he can unlock the key to the mystery of why I’m breathless.

That’s my story for today and I’m sticking to it.

I hope you guys are all doing well.  I’m 22 days away from a long-deserved vacation.

Thanks for stopping by.  Take care out there.

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