I know a lot more about the heart problem than I did before

10 Jul

I saw the new cardiologist for the first time. He’s really excellent. He explained so many things and addressed everything I had been thinking and feeling. And I got the impression that he really cares.

Unfortunately, my gut instincts were right and more right than I would like for them to be.

I have an electrical problem with the heart. It affects the left ventricle. He was able to show me that my EKG machine was incorrectly labeling my heart problem. However, it had recorded all the heart patterns and he could see the problem. My heart jumps and then it quits beating for an abnormally long period of time. It’s because the “electrical impulse” that controls the heart misfires. When this pattern goes on and on, the machine wants to label it as Bradycardia (low heart rate) but the reality of what’s happening is that it’s like a repetitive Premature Ventricular Contraction. If this were just happening occasionally, we could live with that. It seems to be happening a lot and that’s what causes the dizziness, sick to my stomach, my feet and hands go numb, feeling like I am going to pass out and I am because the heart isn’t pumping blood. As a matter of fact, he said don’t use that EKG machine. The blood pressure machine was recording accurately when it kept saying, “Irregular Heartbeat.” It is a type of arrhythmia.

He said, “I bet you feel fear and anxiety right after you feel the first one.” I do. He said it’s your body reacting to the problem, which then makes that problem worse. We have to do more tests in August to get more information on it. He also immediately changed the medications they were treating this with. Two of them are a very bad idea for someone who has an electrical issue. My gut always told me that the Clonidine¬†was dangerous. It is for someone who has this problem. It’s interesting how my gut has known this all along. That’s why I was really only taking the other 2 medicines and only used the Clonidine a few times as a last resort. He immediately changed my medications and when it goes really high, I’ll be taking 4 times the dose I was taking before. He gave me page of instructions to read and follow. It’s a complex problem.

All along I said, “I’ve got to get to the bottom of this issue because this is serious.” I know when it’s a dangerous situation and it keeps happening without warning.

We think stress has contributed to the situation but I thought about it after our conversation and I suspect that I was prone to this my whole life. The reason I say this is because growing up I could never wear a digital watch. It would die very quickly on my arm. I always thought that was a sign of something. We also have to do the obvious things like a stress test to find out if exercise brings it on. I don’t think it does but we have to rule it out. I do exercise. My numbers are so much better when I get out of the pool. I would be shocked if I fail a stress test. We also have to do even more blood work and get some pictures of the heart and we’re going to have to hook up some more heart monitors depending upon what the insurance will cover. All these tests take time to do. But I have to do them. I’m a problem solver. I say, “Let’s find and fix the problem.” No matter what the answers are you feel better with answers and feeling like you can get control over something. Computer Science and Design are all about solving problems.

Three days in the hospital with a barrage of tests and those guys could not explain to me what is really going on other than we had a crisis at one point and my heart quit pumping blood. This doctor takes one look and knows instantly and is able to show me the problem. This is very helpful to me. Because now I feel like we’ve identified it and we can try to find more answers and fix it or manage it. What we’re going to have to do to fix it, I’m not sure yet or how complicated this gets. We probably will not know until after August 21st when all of the tests are done. I also have a couple of theories about myself that I want to test.

I am very glad to have found a doctor that I have confidence in and who took a great deal of time with me. I’m grateful for that.

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