Last fall, my friend Carolyn and I convinced Collin to go to a public health screening to have a baseline ECG. Heart disease runs rampant in our family--it got both of my parents--and I've got a questionable history with it myself. So Collin got one...and so did I. His was fine, much to my relief.
Mine, however, looked like my heart was doing a war dance.
both patients at a clinic that serves those of us who don't have health
insurance (I'm self-employed and Collin works at IHOP--his bosses do
nothing for their employees; they're lucky they get paychecks). The
care, for the most part, is excellent. The downside is that you never
know from one visit to the next if you'll have the same doctor. My first
doctor there was great--I really hated to see her leave. The second one
was very nice but I always had the feeling her mind was elsewhere. It
was to her that I delivered this odd-looking ECG. She immediately
dismissed it with an offhanded explanation.
I didn't question her. I should have.
been so tired lately," I told her. "I used to walk down to the shopping
center every day. Now I can barely walk across the room. I guess
carrying extra weight wears me out."
"Then don't carry it," she advised.
Huh? Don't carry it? She made it sound as if I could just take it off and leave it at home. Then I realized she was looking at my shopping bag.
"Don't skip meals," she told me.
That was officially weird. I know I don't look like I'm skipping meals....
finally told me she would refer me to a cardiologist. She wanted to do
an ECG first. Okay, that made sense. I went over to the lab and had it
done, then went back to the doctor's office. A few minutes later, her
nurse came out. "You can go now," she said. "Your ECG and blood work are
I went home thinking I was fine...and never followed
through with the cardiology appointment. I hate going to doctors or
being in hospitals. I'll go, but only if it's absolutely necessary.
I went back to the clinic for my regular check-up, I had a new doctor,
much to my relief. She, like my first doctor, is great. Very thorough.
When I commented about my supposed-normal ECG, she gave me a look. Then
she dropped a bomb on me. It turns out that my ECG was not normal. She
explained that one of the leads showed my heart is not getting enough
That can't be good.
It turns out my blood work was not
normal, either. I have elevated liver enzymes. She told me she would do
another cardiology referral, as well as one for neurology (for anyone
who doesn't already know, I'm epileptic).
I passed this
information along to my friend Carolyn, who would be driving me to my
appointments. Because she has such a hectic schedule, it's easier for
both of us for her to schedule the appointments. She emailed me with
some incredible news. I have an appointment in neurology in November.
The cardiologist couldn't see me until...January???
guess with the stress of dealing with our economy, a lot of hearts are
crapping out. I wonder how far in advance I'll have to cancel if I croak
Ladies, the symptoms of a heart attack are very different for us than the classic symptoms men have. Here, according to the American Heart Association, is what we should be on the lookout for: Heart Attack Symptoms.