Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Doctor Will See You Now

I shared with you a week ago that my lung specialist ordered a three tests:  a 2D echo-cardiogram and a full pulmonary function test on Tuesday and a dypsnea stress test on Thursday of this week.

The PFT was an hour-long torture test.  The ECG was interesting.  I laid on the gurney propped against pillows alongside the railing and watched my heart on the monitor.  The technician manipulated the image this way and that.  He changed the screen from graphs with heartbeats displayed on the monitor to black and white to color alternately.

At one point he asked, “Did you feel that?”  I answered, “No.  Why?”

He said your heart is skipping a beat.  These are known as PVCs (premature ventricular contractions).  Then he quickly added that this information would be passed on to my lung specialist.

Today I had the stress test on the treadmill.  The technician attached a bazillion electrodes to me, a blood pressure cuff and some sort of belt around my waist with a gizmo that was measuring something.  My lung specialist showed up after I was all hooked up and I stepped on the treadmill.

Holy shit!  The treadmill was level for about 30 seconds and then began to incline upward.  I tried so hard to walk but had to demand the technician stop it.  My heart rate was up but I was terribly short of breath.

The doctor said he’d never seen anyone so stressed so quickly.  He told me he wanted me to see a cardiologist as soon as possible.  Okay, I thought.  I went home and was getting ready to jump back into my PJs for a little power nap when the phone rang.

It was my doctor’s office calling to tell me I had an appointment at 1:45 PM with the cardiologist he had discussed with me.

I arrived early for my appointment.  I signed in and my butt had barely settled into the waiting room chair when my name was called.

I was lead into an examination room and instructed by the nurse to slip into a gown and she would be back to administer an EKG.

Again with the electrodes and the wires and the monitor and the taking of the blood pressure.

Upon finishing with the EKG, she instructed me to have a seat and the doctor would be right with me.  I waited 46 minutes.

When she entered the room she asked me what brought me there.  After waiting 46 minutes in a paper gown in a freezing exam room, I was hardly cordial.  I tried to rein in my ire.  I gave a brief history of my health complaints and she said would phone my lung specialist.  “Just wait here,” she said.

I expected another long wait and hunkered down in the chair after putting my clothes back on and putting on my jacket to thaw out.  No more than 3 minutes passed when she reentered the room.  She said that they agreed that I needed to have a heart catheterization done.

She informed me that if they found a blockage or blockages that they would perform a balloon angioplasty and install a stent to eliminate them OR perform bypass surgery if necessary.

I was told that I should prepare to stay in the hospital overnight and was given instructions on how to prepare for the procedure that will happen next Wednesday at 6:30 AM.

I’m a little anxious about having this done, but if it will help me feel better and avoid having a heart attack then I am ready to go through with it.

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