Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V is for Vascular, Veins, Vitamins

Me, alone. Life after loss.

While Errol was ill, I put my own medical needs on hold, except for my Type 1 diabetes and my mammogram. Having had breast cancer, I will never fool around with mammograms. And in order to survive, I must manage my diabetes. The rest fell by the wayside. 

I began in November with a retina check and an eye exam. Retinas were fine, but oh my.... do I have cataracts!! I will get that taken care of.

Then mammogram, osteoporosis, pulmonary function, lipids, and other blood tests. No problems.

So last week, Mary goes with me to Bakersfield, where I first meet with my endocrinologist. She's very pleased with my diabetes control, but doesn't really answer my questions. Rush, rush.... Seeing specialists these days, you're just one little part on the assembly line, to be fixed and moved on as fast as possible. 

But I'm thrilled and happy that all is well with me and my diabetes. So Mary and I go to the car and have a snack lunch. 


Go to your bosom; Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know... 

~ William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure


We drive across the street to see the cardiologist, who also happens to be the husband of the endocrinologist I just saw, and right now am not sure I like. I have never met this guy.

After waiting for about an hour in this incredibly busy cardiology clinic next to Bakersfield Heart Hospital, my name is called. I have an EKG. The doctor comes in, tells me I have something wrong on the EKG, but talks so fast, mentions some letters and other things I don't understand. 

Then he grabs a heart model and begins explaining how the heart works and what can happen to a diabetic heart. He mentions neuropathy of the heart, electric currents misfiring, or whatever, fast, fast, fast, he talks. But I do hear, "A silent heart attack!" 

Right after he says that, there's a knock on the door and the nurse appears with a cell phone in her hand. A doctor wants to confer with him, urgently. So he sends me off to make an appointment for a stress test and also an ultrasound of the veins in my legs. I schedule it for May 12th. 

Family: Me, my dad, my brother and Troika, 1955

There's no history of heart disease in my family, nor of diabetes. Since there are enough complications to worry about with this disease, complications affecting my heart were not on my radar.

Rest of family: Mom and I, 1983

I was upset at first, mostly for the way I was treated. Heart issues seem very scary to me. Because I don't know anything about them. But I will learn, trust me.

Thinking about it though, I realize that I may need a pace maker. I feel better now since I have never fainted, never had a single chest pain, and if something very bad had shown on the EKG, there would have been a sense of urgency in getting it resolved. 

To quote Gilda Radner, quoting her dad who said: "It's always something - if it isn't one thing, it's another! It's always something."

Finally, there's this:

I borrowed this from my friend Fran's blog  http://fishducky.blogspot.com/ because it seems both funny and sad that this is how it was, back then. But I also remember that back then doctors took time with you, didn't they? But of course, they too were paternalistic and no female doctors around that I recall. 

Fortunately, my PCP here in town takes time with you, if you need it. I see him on the 29th and I will have a lot of questions for him, heart questions......


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