Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Was that a chest pain or not?

Before the rumor gets around from mis-interpretation of comments being made on FaceBook that I've got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel let me expand on the title a little bit. Yes, I went to a Cardiologist yesterday because of some chest discomfort ( it wasn't really bad enough to call it chest pain). I have been experiencing this the last few weeks. The events leading up to the visit started a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday when I was outside in the 95+ degree heat building a workbench that I had been wanting to build for quite some time. Those who know me know that when I build something I tend to overbuild. Just ask Ron T. about the drum major stand we built for the Rebel Regiment in the late 70's. It could have been used in the circus for the elephants to stand on and do tricks. Anyway, as I was building this well built workbench I experienced the discomfort I spoke of earlier. Even though I had been experiencing some discomfort for several weeks prior to this, it was a little more intense this time, something I contributed to the extreme heat I was working in. Even though it was more intense I still wouldn't classify it in the pain category. When it would kick in I would just sit down in a folding chair I had close by, drink a little ice water, and it would go away in a couple of minutes and I would continue my work. This continued until I finished the workbench, which turned out real nice, and did I mention, well built.

During the couple of weeks since there have been other episodes of discomfort when I would be doing anything slightly physical though not of the same intensity. The mistake I made on that Saturday (which probably turned out not being a mistake) was to mention to Mel that I had experienced the discomfort. Given her experience with an emergency heart cath and the insertion of 2 stents a couple of years ago the conversation for the last two weeks has gone something like this:

Mel: How are you feeling?
Me: Fine.
Mel: Having any pain?
Me: Maybe a little discomfort, not pain.
Mel: Want to go to the Emergency Room?
Me: No.
Mel: Why not?
Me: Just cause.

Fifteen minutes passes then:

Mel: Feeling okay?
Me: Yep.
Mel: Are you sure?
Me: Yep.
Mel: Having any pain?
Me: No more than the last time you asked.
Mel: Want to go to the Emergency Room?
Me: NO!
Mel: Are you sure?
Me: YES!!!

This has continued for the last two weeks even after I received a call from her last Tuesday to say that she had made an appointment with our family doctor. This angered me a little and she said that I could call and cancel it if I wanted to. I told her that since she made it she could cancel it. Those who know me also know that I absolutely hate to waste money on doctor visits for no reason. The only thing our family doctor could have done was to refer me to a cardiologist and charge me $100 to do so. Those who know her know that she doesn't give up that easy so I told her if she felt she had to make a doctor's appointment to make it with her cardiologist and skip the family doctor, which she did. I figured that since those guys are real busy it'd be six or seven months before the first available appointment and that would be the end of that. That brings us to the visit to the doctor yesterday. Lesson learned: Don't mess with a determined woman!

First thing I had to do was to fill out the usual one hundred forms that all "new" patients have to fill out. You know the type, What was your grandmothers maiden name, was she blond, brunette, or redheaded, did she graduate or was she a dropout, have you ever had....... (a list of deseases that you pray to God you never get) etc, etc, etc, etc. Then I was called back and had to stop to step up on the scales on the way to the exam room. The scales kind of grunted and in the display window it said "One at a time, please". After a few minutes a nurse came in and said to lie down on the table and lift my shirt. She proceeded to stick these little pads all over my chest. I said, "You know that's gonna hurt when you pull those off, right?" she replied, "Yep." and kept sticking until she had about fifty of them stuck on me. Then this other lady came in with a laptop computer with a bunch of wires coming out of it. She started hooking these wires to the pads on me. I looked like the Six Million Dollar Man in for a tune up. She pressed a few buttons on the computer and then unhooked me at which point the first nurse started ripping the pads off, hair and all.

They left and said the doctor would be in soon. We had several minutes to just sit there and contemplate what had happened so far and get more nervous about what was coming next. The doctor finally came in and had me get back on the table and take my shirt off. Out comes the ice cold stethoscope which he put in fifty or sixty different places, including my legs, and saying, "Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, etc, etc, etc, etc". Then came the mashing and poking and tapping here and there and everwhere. Then he said to put my shirt on and have a seat in the chair and he'd be back in a minute.

After a few more minutes of contemplation and wondering how bad it was he came back in. He sat down on the exam table and said, "I'm pretty confident you've had an incident. Don't know when or how much, if any, tissue dammage has occured but I'm sure you've had an incident." He never mentioned the words "HEART ATTACK" even though we assumed that's what he meant, but I'm not a doctor so who knows. He wrote two prescriptions, one for nitro tablets to keep with me at all times and one for a med that he said would keep my heart happy (his exact words) even though the blood flow may possibly be less than normal. He said to take it easy for the first week until the meds had time to get into my system and after that to gradually increase my physical activity, as long as there was no pain, until I reached normal levels of activity. If I experience any pain I am to call his assistant to schedule a heart cath immediately, otherwise come back in a month to do a nuclear stress test and we'd go from there.

To sum up let me say that this is the same doctor that did Mel's emergency heart cath and saved her life because her heart stopped during the procedure and she had to be shocked back. The only stipulation that I gave her in making the appointment was that it had to be her doctor and no other in the group because I have total confidence and trust in him. I think God made sure he was on call that day she had her procedure and I want him to do what ever has to be done for me. His bedside manner is like doctors of long ago. He treats you like you're his only patient and will stay and talk as long as you have questions. I've never, in all of our dealings with him, seen him check his watch like he had to be somewhere else.

Bottom line is that I feel fine and don't think Jesus is calling me home right away, despite the tone of the comments on FaceBook. However, if he does call me, just know that I'm packed and ready to go. Are you?


Cindy said...

Interesting account of the doctor visit. We all just love you, Robo, and want you to be fine. It's a pretty good thing to have a stubborn wife, isn't it??

Sheila said...

You take care of yourself and listen to Melba!! We love you guys.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess a "happy heart" is a good heart. Take care, someone might need a new DM stand someday!
Blessings, Ronnie T.

Pink Ink said...

I don't think I'd ever be ready for that "boarding call". That is great that you feel you are.

I've taken my kids to some doctor's appointments where I have felt foolish, but it gives me some peace of mind.

Brate said...

It’s like a really surprising blog for any one who is suffering from heart disease. But the rate at which damage occurs to the heart cells are far beyond their recovery cycle. So, though it might not be that helpful in recovery, but still for youngsters, it can be like a boon. Isn’t it natural for us to believe we are healthy and not suffering from any disease? I had a similar thought process until my physician asked me to get a heart scan done after he found that my basic cardiograms were not perfect. I discovered that there were calcium deposits in my coronary arteries and I was at a serious risk of a heart attack. I was shocked and went ahead with the Cardiologist's suggestion of an advanced diagnostic scan. Though it’s always tough to undergo such experiences, I was not at any kind of discomfort at the Elitehealth.com advanced heart scan facility. I am not an expert in medical appliance and machines but could feel that the equipment was world-class and I was in safe hands. That feeling is really very important for me and that’s how it actually went on. The facilities for Full Body Scan were as good as they can get.

colbymarshall said...

well, I don't know I can say I'm ready. I mean, I'm ready spiritually...but I would rather he waited a little while before I go :-0