Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Thank you!" and an Update

Thank you all for your care and concern. I so appreciate everyone who left a good thought or prayer. I have been home patiently waiting for a doctor appointment with my very busy cardiologist this week. In heart related problems you are advised not to wait, but to go to the emergency room. The problem is I have done this several times and unless you are in the middle of a coronary there really is nothing that they can do for you. The ER staff can only determine if you are having a heart attack and or try to make you comfortable, nothing more, so then you wait until you see your cardiologist. I did not want to go that route this time so I waited for my Dr. appointment this morning.(over strong advice of several of my loved ones)  I saw a physician's assistant who was one of the best "communicators" in the field of medicine that I have ever come in contact with. My husband was with me and we heard about new medications, and found out a few things about my personal situation that I had not heard before, so in that case, I was glad that I waited and saw this young man.
*Upon re-reading this I want to stress the important thing is this: If you are experiencing chest pain, what you think might be bad indigestion, pain in your right or left arm, heaviness in your chest, neck ache, jaw ache when combined with other symptoms GO,GO,GO to the ER. The only reason I waited this time is that I know what a heart attack feels like in my own body.

If I have learned one thing in the past 7 years it is to be your own advocate. Don't set around waiting for someone to "do the best thing" for you because it may not happen. I was looking at waiting 2 weeks for this a patient that has had 4 heart attacks and just missed another one by  the "hair of her chinny, chin, chin"! So when the scheduling assistant said 2 weeks, I firmly said NO! They are trying to work me in Friday afternoon, so I am praying that this major test will happen, and that I won't have to wait until Monday. This is a cardiac catheterization, where a catheter is threaded up through your femoral (groin) artery into your heart and then a contrast material is injected. It shows blockages and defects etc. in the arteries.
I really don't know much yet about my problem, but part of my main focus in all of this is to find out what I can do to keep this from happening again. It has only been 8 months since the last blockage.
If this is all too much information, I will just say this. Know your own body. The symptoms of heart attacks in women are completely different than in men. When something is wrong don't let someone put you off or talk you out of what you know in your "gut".  I will do a post later about women and heart disease. The now #1 Killer of women...even above breast cancer.
So for now, hopefully, I'll be back home by the weekend, but maybe early next week.

*Once again I pulled this post to re-edit and hopefull clarify some of what I said. My friend, Jan from Summer Sundays asked a good question in her comment. "was this test something the doctor suggested or something that I felt like I needed"? Here is how I think I can best answer.
I have had this test done 4 other times, and upon numerous talks with my cardiologist he has admitted that this is the only test that will give a conclusive answer as to whether or not you have a blockage. Stress tests, nuclear tests, cat-scans etc. are all good indicators, but will not difinitively give an answer, only an angiogram (heart cath) unfortunately will show the artery and how the blood is flowing. The doctors cannot and will not do it unless they have a pretty conclusive idea that you indeed have a blockage. (Extremely expensive and an invasive surgical procedure.)
When I was saying "be your own advocate" I was talking of two things, #1, don't let someone talk you out of getting  a diagnoses, and #2 be sure you don't get lost in the shuffle of busy hospital schedules. The Physician's Asst. told me first thing, that this was what they needed to find out about what is going on with me, but I was handed off to someone who just "scheduled" and didn't know my history. Once I said that I would just go on to the hospital and go thru the ER, she looked at my chart and agreed that I shouldn't wait.
OK, sorry this has gotten so long.
Love to you all and please keep me in your prayers,
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