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Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Monday, March 10, 2008

Make it Healthy Monday

Check another health hurdle off the list.

I went for the follow-up consultation with the cardiologist.

To recap the story, in August my internist was alarmed that my heartrate was high. She asked if I was experiencing any shortness of breath or tightness in my chest. I explained that I felt like I needed a big sigh from time to time, and my chest had a "bad air" feel to it (the Ojai fires had been burning for two or three days and there were ashes falling in our town, it was so smoky.) The whole story is here and there throughout my blogs since August but the bottom line is that I did follow her advice and went to a cardiologist six weeks ago. He ordered a myocardial perfusion scan (stress EKG, nuclear style) and echocardiogram, which I had a month ago.

I really fought doing this, emotionally, until - on the day before the tests - I visited Debbi's blog and learned that she had just returned to her blog after multiple heart attacks and surgeries.

I stopped fighting.

So today I was sitting in the exam room when the doctor came in. When I met him the first time I thought he was a grouchy jerk. Today he came in all smiles and "How are you?" After the niceties he opens my file to look at the results of my bloodwork (drawn last week). "Wow," he exclaimed, "I wish my numbers were this good." My total cholesterol was 212 last year which, he said, wasn't too bad - especially since my HDL is high and my ratios good - but I also have high blood pressure and the two work synergistically to increase the risk of heart disease. I agreed to go on Lipitor and after a month my total cholesterol was 172!

Next, I thought, we will get into the results of the tests. I've been anticipating a long conversation hunched over the dozens (hundreds?) of photos from the MP scan and the videotape from the echocardiogram. Allow me to record here, for all posterity, the sum total of said discussion.

"Well, your stress EKG was good and your echo was good."

The end.

He still doesn't know what's causing the rapid heart rate. I told him about having the same thing ten years ago when I took enalapril, and how it went away when we reduced the dosage. He found that interesting. "Or, " he suggested, "you may just be one of those people who reacts to the white coat." He went on to explain that he could change my blood pressure meds to a combination that would also bring down my heartrate, but if it's White Coat Disease, there's no reason to do that.

So, next Wednesday I will be fitted up with a halter monitor for 24 hours to see if my heart races all the time or just in times of stress.

Not to complain (because I am very relieved to have good news to record here), but this all would have been easier to take it the goal was something fun. "Yes, you're healthy enough for that world tour," would have been fun, or even, "Great! You're healthy enough to be out at sea for two weeks on that stitchery cruise." Instead, we're trying to determine that my heart is healthy enough for a colonoscopy.


1 comment:

Samantha said...

hooray for the good news- and great cholesterol!

Fingers crossed for the 24 hour test!