Tuesday, December 21, 2010

M.I.A.

Okay so I have been MIA for many reasons. Mainly family and other fun stuff like that. But there has also been some other stuff going on. And I am learning ALL about the fun of a universal type medical system while I am at it. Gee it makes you feel SO special to be told that at age 37, it's possible you have had a previous heart attack that you didn't even know about, and so far it has taken 46 days and counting to get the test to find out what the heck has happened. And I still have NO idea when that test is going to be because the hospital has not called me with a date/time.

So here is the story. On November 5th I went to the ER around 11pm because I had been having some mild chest pains for 2 days but it was slowly getting stronger and it was remaining pretty constant throughout the second day. I had not felt like that before and do not suffer from heart burn (but have in the past and this was so totally different). They kept me in overnight because my BP was so high, they could not even get a reading at first. The cuff kept trying to inflate and then eventually it totally deflated and wouldn't go again! Nice. That makes you feel great.

But my heart tracer looked okay, as in not showing signs of imminent heart attack, but the E doc said it looked more like a 90 year old's than a 37 year old's. So he told me he would book me for a cardiac stress test and sent me home around 8am.

On November 15th, so 10 days later, I got a call from the hospital about the stress test. It was booked for December 1st- in other words 25 days after my trip to the ER.

During the stress test, my heart was doing well. My BP was good (after I had a second pill added for 2 weeks), and things were looking great. The specialist was really happy. Until I sat down for the recovery period... he said 'oh' and then spent 5 minutes bent right over the tracer paper as it came out of the machine. He turned to me finally and said "This shows what looks like an old heart attack". I remained very calm but inside I was thinking WTF?????!!!!!!!!!!?????? He said that 'sometimes' high blood pressure (which I have had for many years) can do similar things to a trace but he needs to be sure, so he gave me paperwork to take down to Nuclear Medicine immediately, booking me for a Cardiolyte test (the dye to see if there are blockages while they take real-time photos of the heart, or something like that). The test takes 4-5 hours and I took the paperwork directly to the booking nurse myself and she said "We will call you on a Wednesday usually, to tell you to come in the following Tuesday".

Well that was 20 days ago. Still no phone call. I would kinda like to know if I have already had a fricken heart attack, at only 37 years old (or younger, I should say, since it is a PRIOR M.I.). Or I would like to know if there is a fricken blockage about to blow. I have 3 young children, the youngest is only 2 years old. I might want to know if I am a ticking time bomb or not! But apparently, waiting 45 days since my first visit to the ER is okay these days. Waiting more than 20 days after the specialist orders the test is also okay in this system, apparently.

So my doc got the final stress test report last week and called me in. I went this morning and he read me the report, which was the specialist's official one. He wrote that upon further inspection of the tracer, there is a 'strong indication of an Inferior Wall Miocardial Infarction'. He had written before that that some indicators on the tracer could be related to blood pressure, but the ST (systolic peaks??) show the strong indication of MI. O.M.G. And I STILL haven't even had a call about booking the test? What the hell?

My doc said "When is your Cardiolyte test?" to which I replied "Your guess is as good as mine because they have not called me yet". He made a face and shook his head slightly. He doesn't want to freak me out. He has directly told me before that he doesn't like to scare people unless he feels it is necessary. But he doubled my dose of Norvasc so now I'm at the max for that, and I am already on 320mg of Diovan per day. That is just keeping me at barely normal range. My mom is over 300 lbs and she is on half the crap I am! She is 65, I am 37. Gee this is fun.

Anyway it just frustrates me. My father died in that very same ER 14 years ago of a heart attack. I would rather not do the same thing, thank you very much, so hey lovely medical system - how about giving me a CHANCE at least? How about getting shit sorted so that people who are trying to BE preventative and proactive about their health care can actually find out what might be wrong so they can be treated? Instead of hoping they will keel over and utilize the emergency funding instead!

Maybe nothing will come of it, or maybe they will find a blockage, so 30 days later I can see a specialist again, so he can book me for surgery. I should be good to go in 2012 at this rate eh?
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In the meantime though, I was handed a Stole Sample Screening Program package on my way out of the doc's this morning. Alberta Health Services is running this program, taking stool samples from willing participants whether they are having colo-rectal issues or not. I have never complained about backdoor problems to my doc, but I can do this sample collection kit and drop it off at the lab whenever I get it done, all at the expense of my fellow taxpayers. I can get THAT test done, with no previous OR current indication of problems, before I can get a heart test done when there are several indications of past and current problems. That makes sense!

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