Saturday, June 26, 2010

the doctor visit

hi, i'm back. did you miss me? i was gone a few days and i'm going to tell the story. it ain't a pretty story but it has a fairly happy ending.

i got sprung today from the hospital. been there 3 days. a heart thing.

(SPOILER ALERT)...................................

i'm writing so i obviously didn't die.

but i had quite the little adventure.


i have a history of congestive heart failure dating back about 8 years. complete recovery. (although i'll tell the story of the road to another time. ) so, over the years my physical being a/k/a.... my body, has moments. a skip or two of a heartbeat, the sound of blood rushing in my ears, stiff neck, numb feet, the first year or two you're a constant kvetch. my feet hurt, i have palpitations, and on and on like your grandma. and everyone, including yourself, sometimes, thinks you're a hypo.....and that's a pretty bad rap, so after a while, you roll with most of the internal shit, unless it's something really fucked potassium poisoning and all that encompasses...........and then it's off to the hospital.........(another story for another time, i promise).

ok. here's the story.

about a week ago i began having a rapid heartbeat. it's always rapid, but this was even more so.  i didn't dwell on it because i also have a stiff neck and suddenly my right index finger is threatening arthritis, (see what i mean?) so it just seemed like an average week. but by tuesday, husband said call the doc, so wednesday morning i did. doc was concerned, knowing my history, but not panicked, and told me to come in first thing thursday morning. so we drive down thursday, do an e.k.g. in his office, and he informs me that i ought to be in a hospital taking tests............

and an hour later, i was.................. WTF?

now, remember, i'm feeling fine, just a rapid heartbeat, and i'm not worried because it happens all the time. but suddenly, we, husband and i, perform a dramatic entry, complete with papers, though the emergency room doors, flashing documents, and immediately are taken in for waiting in the waiting room. .......right in. (i'm not sure if it's because my doc has clout, or if i was on death's door. i'd like the think the former.)

so onto a gurney i go, with drips in my arm not 5 minutes after i go through the double doors, like a goddamm episode of E.R........hoses, i swear i'm fine.......and then, suddenly, just in case something goes wrong, and i don't make it........everything stops........and a woman with a rolling computer comes over to ask a lot of questions, not the least of which is what is your primary insurance?

fast foward 3 or so hours...........

i'm in a bed in mercy hospital in coconut grove, florida. it's a private room, albeit a bit spartan (considering it is a catholic hospital.........shit, jew boy in a catholic hospital, i wanted stained glass windows.....), but that would have obstructed the view.

5th floor room, with an east view of biscayne bay, you know, the   w i d e view, with key biscayne behind it, the very island with 2 nationally rated beaches) ........

so there are 2 drips in my arm, my heart averaging about 155, with a blood pressure of.........get this........a kicker........120/78.

told ya, my body does things,.........can't take it too seriously..........

so they do the 2nd e.k.g. (the 1st was in the doc's office), and an echocardiogram, and these 2 amazing attending doctors come to their conclusions, and i need 1 or both of a choice of procedures.

digress........don't you hate that word, procedure, i mean medically? oh, her kegel exercises aren't working, she'll need a procedure...... see how that cheek droops on your face, dear? we can fix that with a little procedure.

a bit about the amazing attending doctors. my primary doctor is a whiz kid, although no kid. truly brilliant. and so, lucky me, i catch him 48 hours before a diving vacation in Bonaire.....leaving for 8 days or so, and me with drips........... and so he contacts these heart guys to take me and fix me, and i trust him, literally, with my life.

one of the things i learned, (and this is big, if you don't know), is that there are 2 kinds of heart doctors........the plumber, and the electrician. ok, chortle chortle.........

seriously, the plumber gives you the catheter, through the tubes, takes the pictures, roto rooters your arteries, stents, angioplasty, crap like that.  he's in charge of blood get it. the electrician is the guy that has to fix the rhythm. tachacardia, palpitations, ya know. and so it begins..........

i mentioned the 2 amazing attending doctors, chosen by my good doctor. they were both so...........i dunno......but really, let's just start with the plumber.

we're talking movie star here. underwear ad guy. dark, flashing eyes, black cuban hair, although his mother might be french. or maybe dad is and mom is cuban. works either way. he was breathtaking. true story.........i was lying there in the bed palpitating, as i said. that's what i was in for. and the cardiologist walks in, in his scrubs, looking like antonio banderas having a johhny depp kind of day, and we exchanged pleasantries, hi i'm dr barquet, hi i'm david, and chat a sec. and i said to him, i'm in for rapid heartbeat and dr, and just looking at you is making it worse..........he laughed. i was nervous and he knew it. and then we got down to business of making me well. (the scrubs made him extra hot, (you know, we all have fantasies), but i swear, if he had been dressed like a fireman, i'd be dead of a coronary.)

the second doctor, the electrician, also a hottie. stepped out of a body by jake video. i can only imagine what kind of shape HIS heart is in, looking at the shape his BODY is in. makes me want to go back to the gym, instead of being a slug. (when did doctors buff up like that? these 2 were like the doctors on soap operas, except dammit, they never took their shirts off. oh well, actually, that's NOT what i was in for.............. )


hospitals have changed since last i've been, give or take 7 years. now it's all wristband. like your admission to disney, or on a cruise ship. they put in on your arm, the minute you come aboard, and then turn you loose. have a good time........and they scan it....barcode........not a room number, but your entire life in a barcode and they scan it .....A LOT!
at first i didn't realize. i thought they were just making sure it was me, so's not to make any mistakes. and i'm certain that's part of it. but then the cruise ship stuff started to happen. a nurse came to give me a set of pills. she scanned my wristband flashed it into her rolling computer, scanned the pills one by one, and handed them to me. i'm guessing they got put on my itemized bill. blood pressure time, scan, flash, scan. change the i.v. bag....scan, flash, scan. feels a little like you're on the self-checkout at b.j.'s. the hospital was just different from what i remembered.

ooooh, and the lunch tray???? in the room???? completely styrofoam. tray, plates, cups, lids, everything. (oh boy, i'm hoping they recycle), except the flatware, that's still fabulous, million year, half life, plastic. and nobody's washing dishes anymore.

and now there seems to be a lot of staff.

i had a nurse, whose name was on the top of the dry board on the wall, and that changed every day (it was a dry erase board) and a nurse's asst, whose name was on the bottom, (ditto), a blood pressure attendent, a pharmacy delivery attendant, a woman that empties the trash, and another woman who dusted the window sill, and never thought to dust halfway up the window, you know that spot where the window lock is? that mini-sill gets dusty too. ) and still another who mopped the floor, a candy striper, a chaplain and of course the 2 doctors and their assistants. anybody still wondering why healthcare is expensive?


anyway, so the drips in my arms took their effect, and they did a test looking for blockages, in my arteries. and get know that catheter thing up your thigh leg and into your heart with dye and pictures to find blockages and do angioplasty and put in stents and all that stuff?

i didn't have anything!!! told ya, my body does things.

no blockages. that's like telling the marlboro man his lungs are clear, or telling george hamilton he has a nice skin quality. me, an old guy with clean arteries? give it up for, make some noise, let's have a shout out, for my the house!!!

yep, it's the truth. clean. they did find, however, a tiny electrical short which they'll fix this week.

(side note.....everyone. if they ever tell you you need a catheter up your leg to look at your heart, don't freak. this one is such an easy one. tiny shot, and you're awake the whole time watching, and in 15 minutes or so, you're done. left with a band-aid. a single band-aid. no big deal.)

ooh, i got serious, but consider that my public service message.

so by saturday afternoon, they realized, nothin' much was going to happen until monday, so they sprung me. and i'm home, having lost my view, but gained my freedom. and i simply had to begin the story. it will continue as the electrician gets to work.

so as i said, did you miss me?

to be continued.......................

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