So, it being a new year and all I’ve decided to start taking my health seriously. Several factors have gone in to this carefully thought out decision, not the least of which happened a few days after Thanksgiving. My Mom went into cardiac arrest while visiting a friend in the hospital. Luckily, she was at the perfect place for this to happen and the EMT’s and ER staff were able to revive her. I’m happy to say she made it and after 10 days in the hospital came home with a shiny, rhinestoned defribrillator installed in her chest. The fine Docs decided she had several markers for a genetic heart condition so I’ve been instructed to get my ass to a cardiologist pronto!
I showed up last week for the appointment, nervous but wanting to get it out of the way. As I walked into the lobby of the cardiologists office, most of the occupants in the waiting room looked at me with raised eyebrows. I’m youngish, at least compared to the seniors around, not overweight and pale only because I’m a redhead. I felt like an oddity. I guess that’s why I tripped at the sign in desk. Or it could be my ailing heart.
Once in the room, a nurse took all my vitals and gave me an EKG. I had a kiddo 4 years ago and I must say, the new ponchos they give you after you strip down are loads better than the older model. They close with velcro and don’t allow boobage to fall out at inopportune times, nor do you have a million ties to deal with that never quite close the gown properly.
After the nurse took a history, a nurse practioner came in with more questions. I reviewed everything with him and waited for the doc to come in. I was quite impressed with the amount of time these people spent with their patients. Normally, when I go to the doctor for regular stuff, they bring a stopwatch in and clock out at about 10 minutes. It reminds me of those restaurants that claim you get your lunch for free if it takes longer than 15 minutes. Anyway, these people were thorough.
So, finally, the cardiologist comes in. I know the good doctor as he also takes care of a family member. I like him and I feel comfortable with him. The conversation..
Doc: Well, you don’t look Italian. (Gee, did the red hair give it away?)
Me: Nope, mostly Irish and English.
Doc: So, you keep chalking up family members with difibrillators. Your Mom went into cardiac arrest?
Me: Yeah, it was a good thing she was at a hospital already.
Doc: Hmm…so you are not taking any medications, you haven’t been sick for at least a year and your EKG came back normal.
Me:(feeling a bit idiotic): Yeah, my Mom made me come in.
Doc: Probably a good thing. Although, unless you are Italian(eyebrows raised), you only have about a 20% chance of dropping dead from this.
Me: Yeah, that’s 1 in 5. Can we rule it out?
Doc: I wouldn’t be happy unless we did, although…I’m not sure about a game plan if you do have the condition. There aren’t any medications for it.
Me: That’s a problem, isn’t it. What do you suggest?
Doc: Cardiac MRI. Do NOT exercise until we rule it out. That can bring on cardiac arrest in these cases.
Me: Shouldn’t be a problem, I haven’t exercised in 10 years. I could probably go another 10.
Doc: Have you gone through the change yet?
Me: Huh??(WTF, I’m only 40) Noooo!!!
Doc: Well, until then you probably want to maintain a healthy diet. After the change you’ll want to get yearly cholesterol checks and your blood pressure taken. AND you need to quit smoking.
Now, I know this. It’s filthy habit that I’ve tried to break and plan on doing again BUT this guy is about 350 pounds and sweating while he’s lecturing me(remember, I like this dude).
Me: Ok Doc