One of my dearest friends went to the doctor recently with heel pain and ended up with two stents placed in her heart. And before you say WTF?? (which was my first reaction, too. And second. And third) consider how many health things happen in seemingly random fashions.
I personally dread the routine test. Any routine test. I'm not big on routine doctor visits, either. I'm not saying I don't go. I do. I just whine and carry on and worry myself half to death in the process. (And this is for things like tetanus boosters. Imagine when it's a "real" visit).
My friend had her foot looked at. At some point toward the end of the appointment the doctor casually took her pulse. Then decided to listen to her heart. Then suggested a 12 lead EKG. After that she got sent home with a heart monitor for 24 hours. Her heel was smelling like a rose at this point. A 24 carat, dipped in chocolate rose.
She called me with the results of the 24 hour monitor and asked what I thought. And, in a perfect example of why I'm a much better blogging friend than an in-person one, I said "You are not in that rhythm. I've never even seen that rhythm in someone who wasn't coding." (Way to go on the therapeutic communication there). Turns out she had misunderstood something they told her, but only slightly, and before you know it they were scheduling lots and lots of tests. One of which found the possible blockages in her heart, which lead to the cardiac catheterization and the necessity for two stents. Two blockages - one 90% and one 70%. No real symptoms. No real warning. No real...anything.
She just turned 50 in October.
So I spent part of last Friday night in our ICU. On my night off. Elly Mae and I went to hang out with her and provide witty repartee and shiny happy faces to cheer her up. She didn't fall for it for a second, but her spirits were pretty good considering. She wasn't at all happy about this whole thing, but her attitude was hard to find fault with - thank heavens it had been caught before something really bad happened.
There's a rush right now among our group of friends to schedule stress tests and cholesterol counts and all that other good stuff that's so easy to put off until next year. As much as it galls me, I'm part of that rush. I may not be in the target age yet, but I'm close.
My dad died in his sleep at age 63 from a massive heart attack. It was his first. And even though I can tick off a long list of risk factors he had that I don't, the mere fact that he died the way he did knocks my risk level out of the park.
As much as I hate the thought of getting the tests done, I know I have to. As scared as I am of facing up to it, I don't feel like I have a choice.
Because now I'm scared not to.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Posted by the rotten correspondent at 12:02 AM