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...
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......
I totally understand dear. living with type 1 myself. praying for youReplyDelete
Much the same here Inger, our GP is always in a rush. And for the last few years, I felt that the orthopods for want of a better name did not really listen to what Hugh or I were saying.And it wasn't until I said " I cannot do this ANY longer" that one man listened and thought this is bad, maybe time for a referral. Hang in there, they will do these tests, and I know that if they do find your heart needs a tune- up ( Oops, there is the Up word) you will handle it like everything else this last year. And as today is still the 26th here, what day is " V" scheduled for in your part of the world? Hugs as you take in all this new stuff ( not a word I like but it seems to fit the bill today for you), and enjoy your spring weather. Are the roads all fixed now? Hugs from NZ.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your email. I will answer later today or tomorrow. Have to go to town as I'm out of dog food. No the road is not done yet, we are waiting for the rains to be over with. I think, not sure if it will be done at all.Delete
Inger I say do not worry till you have to if it was something very times sensitive surely they would have you back right away. I LOVE LOVE your family photos and what a beautiful family. Cataracts are so common now and easily fixed. Do not worry you and your diabetes with your good care will be fine. You are a healthy woman who just needs to take care of herself now...you got this. HUGS HUGS BReplyDelete
Hi Inger - glad to know all is well with your diabetes ... but also that the horrid thought about your heart is probably containable - thank goodness for modern medicine ...ReplyDelete
The removal of your cataracts will make a huge difference ... I love the photos you've given us ... Life will improve health wise - it's good to know you're in capable, if rushed hands - that other person was in serious need - thankfully not you. Continue on ... relax, which will help you ... and you'll be able to not worry so much - thinking of you ... big hugs - Hilary
Good point about the needs of the other person the doctor called about. I never though about another person, just rude doctors. Thanks for that. I guess you get more self-centered when you are worried and scared.Delete
We need to take care of ourselves and listen to what our bodies tell us...especially when we see changes. But I've noticed that doctors and dentists always find things that are wrong and many times alarm us. It's good to be in charge of our health and health care...as much as we can. Sweet hugs, DianeReplyDelete
One of my doctors always greets me with a big, friendly smile, does the quick examination, and personally talks to me while moonwalking out the door. They just don't have the time these days and overbook patients because it is 50% medicine, 50% business.ReplyDelete
I'm laughing because I saw that moonwalk many times at UCLA when I was there with Errol. At times I had to rush after the doctor to get my questions answered. Errol would be embarrassed, but I had to do what I had to do.Delete
I was going to say - about the fast speaking doctor - ask a different one who will take the time to explain it slowly. I am usually given the bum's rush at the office too. Please get all information about cataracts before you rush ahead.ReplyDelete
Nice photographs - cute dog.
She was cute. I'm not rushing with cataracts, I can't see and will get my drivers license pulled next November, when I go for my retina check. I know there can be problems, but right now it's getting critical. But it has to wait for my heart. And this is the THIRD cardiologist I have seen in the past few years. All the same. Good thing my PCP is a listener who knows his stuff.Delete
That sounds very scary. Do not be afraid to make the doctor slow down and go over stuff- or have someone else do it- often a nurse is better at this than the doctor.ReplyDelete
Believe me, I'm not afraid of telling doctors what to do. I have even told these 3-minute doctors, as I call them, to sit, stay, and listen. Hilary's point that the call may have been about someone in crisis, has made it easier to deal with. I refer my judgment on this particular doctor.Delete
I had to have my cataracts removed a few years back and the difference it has made is just wonderful. Like anything else there can be slight risks, but the procedure is so advanced now from what it was just 20 years ago -- I compare it to a visit to the dentist -- not pleasant, but not nearly as bad as I feared! Best wishes. As my mother said when medical problems came along, "I'm just going with the flow!"ReplyDelete
I would seek out another opinion before I believed anything a 'too rushed doctor' had to say. Go to your PCP and ask his opinion. Especially if you are not having any symptoms. Then search for a new cardiologist. One who is interested in his patients and not how many he can squeeze into each day. As a nurse, I have seen more rushed doctors than those who really care! Not a good sign for our times. But there are really good ones out there!!ReplyDelete
This guy has an excellent background and since he's the third cardiologist I have seen in the last couple of years, I will go with him. Being married to an endocrinologist, I hope he's very much up on diabetic heart issues. We'll see.Delete
start a long list of questions for the primary. i find the same thing here, go to primary get referred to specialist, just like cattle lining up to be milked or branded.. move along.. i saw the special or make that not so special doctor for not even 5 minutes.. fater the test when i went back he answered a few and some of the questions he said, you will need to ask your prmary. makes me crazy. i would not get upset about the stress test. they wanted me to take one to.. i think they just like to do the test to see what is going on, not that they see a problem... i am a test hater.... and have refused most of them..ReplyDelete
I once asked a doctor why I always had to wait so long to see him. He said that he could stay on schedule if he didn't have to answer patient's questions!! I had cataract removal (simple) & then passed the DMV eye test with no problem!!ReplyDelete
I wonder if that husband & wife pair of doctors treat each other the same way that they treat their patients. How sad they must be if that is so.ReplyDelete
They both talk fast, that's for sure.Delete
Diabetes is sure a challenge some days. Silent heart attack? That doesn't sound good. I dislike doctors. We are merely cogs in the wheels of their days. My mother once asked her doctor if he were double-parked ... and if not, he owned her an understandable diagnosis with the questions clearly answered. He huffed out, and my mother sought another true doctor. Hard search. She only found one who had a speech impediment ... which might have been why he had compassion.ReplyDelete
Considering what you have been through the past year +, your medical health was bound to be a little compromised, Inger. Luckily and it is a good sign, they were in no rush to attend to things. So take that as a positive sign.ReplyDelete
And as you said, you will find out more when the time comes and you will deal with it. You have more going for you than not.
Have a good week.
The last time I went to the doctor, he tried to leave the room without answering all my questions. Get away from that door, I said, and stay in here till we're done. He obeyed. Maybe he has the heart of a dog.ReplyDelete
I told one to sit, stay!Delete
I used to do that with high school students.Delete
As we age we do spend a lot more time visiting those white coat guys. The good thing is that today they are so good at patching us up. Hope your tests prove you are still in great shape or easily fixable shape. As for cataracts, unless you are noticing a diminished eyesight, surgery could be a long way off. I have had a cataract for years and it still isn't a problem. Let us know how the tests go.ReplyDelete
Are there other specialists in Bakersfield? OY!!ReplyDelete
Getting old is not for sissies...I'm enjoying your A to Z posts and can relate being a widow too. I'm also moving soon and will have to find a new doctor. The one I have takes time and is so good. I fear he will not be replaceable. The medical profession is not what it use to be. My Dad was a Dr. and I can remember him on the phone with house calls sometimes in the evening. You sure don't see that now.ReplyDelete
Yes, you have to be your own advocate and educate yourself on the internet as much as possible. FB has a wonderful site that I follow called Type 2 Diabetes Straight Talk, I don't have diabetes (I am controlling my Insulin Insufficiency ) but I haved learned a lot from this site. Good wishes for your health issues.ReplyDelete