Tuesday, February 12, 2008

just routine















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.

30 comments:

Willowtree said...

I went to get the prescription for my glasses updated and ended up on a nitro drip.

Ok, I've commented, can I go back to what I was doing now?

The Rotten Correspondent said...

and where did the enema fit into your little story?

kitten said...

It's best to be safe than sorry. Glad your friend is doing well. I'm a better blogger friend than in person also. Here I think before I click or should say re read. In real life I talk before I think. LOL!

Eileen said...

My husband's went to school today, stopped in to say good morning to his school nurse, and ended up calling 911. Yep, she was having a heart attack, at 58. She had to have 3 stent put in. She is still in the hospital, but stable. This scares me so much. My mom died of heart problems at 52. Had a stoke in her mid. 40's. I take the tests and the meds. but my anxiety gets the best of me much of the time.
Good luck with your test.
XOXOX

Kimberly said...

Wow...what a sobering experience...

Carolyn said...

Eeek. Thanks for the wake-up call. I definitely need to eat more green stuff because I have all sorts of hereditary health issues to look forward to. While I'm at it, I should probably get someone to introduce me to our treadmill too.

Take care, eh.

ciara said...

you know, i'm a bit like you as far as being somewhat of a hypochondriac. the minute i get a skipped beat i am SURE my heart is failing. it's amazing how little warning signs there are sometimes when it comes to heart disease. i think i read somewhere that it's also one of the leading killers of women. with my weight and thyroid issues i'm very afraid...so i try to do whatever tests they suggest. what is the age for someone with no heart disease in their family to start testing?

Simply Jenn said...

"You are not in that rhythm. I've never even seen that rhythm in someone who wasn't coding." I find that absolutely hilarious, but I'm pretty sure your friend didn't.

It's sad that I will have a master of science in medical sciences with the research done in cardiology and they come to me when they need bad strips. And I'm 35!

Thanks for the giggle, I love people who blurt what's in their head at times. I'm guilty of that too often! I'm glad you're friends recovering fine and that it was caught in time!!!

the mother of this lot said...

Chin up kiddo. Get the tests done. I'll get the prayer mat out!

Aoj & The Lurchers said...

Yikes...that's scary.

Which reminds me, I'm about 2 years overdo for a smear. Excuse me whilst I just go make that appointment......

Tanie said...

Yikes!
I'm off work today with a sore throat and swollen glands, definitely not going to the doctor now.......

Sweet Irene said...

Hi RC, you have been tagged by me for an easy meme. Come on, you can do it!

laurie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laurie said...

i imagine you hate routine tests because you've seen far too many from the test-administrator-point of view, and seen far too many that turned out not to be routine.

i don't undestand people who put these things off, especially when they secretly think there might be something wrong. it's fine to be scared, but denial is just deadly.

my sister waited to check the lump on her breast until she was stage 4.

my brother-in-law refused to go to the doctor about that strange skin patch on his face and he ended up dying of melanoma less than a year later.

if you think something is wrong (and i realize your friend did, only she thought it was with her foot), for god's sake find out.

the treatment will not be worse than dying.

Sweet Irene said...

If you have risk factors, you should get tested, it is as simple as that. My brother in law just died of heart failure and it seems that my niece is on the way to develop the same problems and someone needs to drag her to the doctor for some tests. She has been warned and needs to take it seriously. As a matter of fact, I will call her tonight and remind her again.

You too, RC!

Kaycie said...

I haven't followed up at all on what I found out about the older two kids' dad, but he knew what was going on with him, he just hadn't told anyone. Because it was December, too close to Christmas. Yeah. It was SO much better to be blindsided.

Anyway, he had a stress test scheduled for two weeks AFTER he had his heart attack and triple bypass. He is 45.

I won't be skipping any more ob/gyn visits. Or any other ones, for that matter.

Akelamalu said...

Oh boy, I never have routine tests! :(

Diana said...

Oh yikes and yikes and YIKES!

I hate those wake-up calls that pull you from your nice, quiet bed of comfort and denial.

I've been seeing a lot of a nice guy with nice kids who is only a few months older than me and has metastatic cancer. Yes, he smokes, but dammit, he's too young.

The heel that saved her life? It is a good story and hopefully continues to have that relatively happy ending we so love.

Jan said...

"dear friend" has a great dr. Yeah, for great doctors.

Flowerpot said...

I know what you mean. I have to have regular colonoscopies which I hate. But better that way...!

LCM said...

Isn't it amazing what scary stories will do for you? I shudder to tell people that we found 4 year old Fiona's tumor through a shallow cough. Most parents turn white and rush off to check their child.

aims said...

Thank you RC for bringing the necessity of checkups to your fans. We all think we are going to live forever and live life carelessly. Never do we give a thought to what might happen because of it.

Perhaps a post in the near future on living wills and their importance?

btw - it rather surprises me (and makes me nervous) that a nurse is such a scaredy-cat of doctors and tests. Is that because you have reasons that the common person doesn't know of?

Yolanda said...

I so know this feeling and you would think I would know better than to put things off being a nurse too.

Thalia's Child said...

Well, there's a wake up call for me - perfect timing, I've been putting off my yearly PAP and avoiding my annual blood glucose test. Now I will go call my doc.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

My prayers for your friend. I had to have a "routine" test done this week and it was bleeping awful. However, if it prevents nasty diseases then who cares.

Crystal xx

Debs said...

Scary stuff.

Sandy said...

Terrific. Both my heels hurt...lol.

Glad your friend is all right.

Omega Mum said...

Now that has jolted me out of my late evening wine induced stupor and made me do a bit of hard thinking. Good luck....

Jo Beaufoix said...

Oh babe. Get the tests done, then you can deal. Sending hugs.

Lisa said...

I hear ya! :o)