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Saturday, December 16, 2006

 

Hospital

For a while lately, my heart has been giving me problems when I lie down to sleep. I can usually relieve it by sitting up. The night before last, sitting up didn't help. I kept hurting for an hour or so. So, I did like one of the cardiologists I've seen had recommended and called emergency, and got an ambulance ride to the hospital.
In emergeny, I had a nice visit with one of the doctors. In the process of taking my medical history, she learned that I had been in South America and was very interested in hearing that I had served an LDS mission there. We talked a little bit about opportunities to serve in different countries. She is from Mexico, of partly Spanish and Mayan indian ancestry, and part Norwegian, and seemed very pleased that I could speak Spanish with her.
After testing my heart enzymes, doing another echocardiogram, watching my blood pressure bounce back up after a medication that was supposed to lower it but semed rather to bring back chest pain, and threatening a stress test and a procedure called a catheterization. Then it was decided they didn't need to do either one..they already knew enough. It seems they decided it wasn't a heart attack, just a further development of the same condition we already know about, which was about what I had suspected. There didn't seem to be anything more that the doctors could do that they hadn't already done, they did let me go after less than a day.
However, the cardiologists did decide that my new echocardiogram looked worse than the one that was done three months ago, and that my condition was going to keep deteriorating rather than improving. So, the best thing to do was to expedite the surgery that they'v discussed with me. They put their heads together and are going to send me to a center in Cleveland. I'm told that they referred a patient with a condition similar to mine to that center, and the results were very good.
In the meantime, they prescribed a new medication for my blood pressure on top of what I've been taking (along with about four types that I shouldn't take) and a close follow-up with my regular cardiologist and family physician.
The patient in the bed next to mine had diabetes and kidney problems...it seems that his condition was peritonitis, apparently because an infection had settled into a catheter that was being used for dialysis.
My last nurse was rather chattier than usual and was concerned with my "good cholesterol" level being below normal and wanted to recommend an exercise program, but when I told her about the symptoms of my heart condition, she backed off and decided to let the doctors handle it.
I don't think they're going to bustle me off to Cleveland before either Christmas or New Year's ... These things seem to take at least a couple of weeks to arrange. But the process does seem to be moving again.

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