June 22nd was the day I finally got to see the cardiologist. His office is in the “Special Medicine” office of our local public hospital, the same office where Dr. Perlow is located. I will say this for the Special Med office, they are fantastic!
I got there my usual 30-40 minutes early and, since money is getting tighter than a hangman’s noose, I parked in the cheap lot (a dollar as long as you are there to see one of the doctors and have the receipt). The only problem, the cheap lot is about 100 miles from the office I needed. Okay, maybe a few blocks, but when your legs don’t want to co-operate, it may as well be a hundred miles. After stopping and resting four times, I was right on time for my appointment. Pays to arrive early!
The wait to go back wasn’t long, and within 20 minutes I was heading back for an EKG. Normally, NORMALLY, EKGs are benign procedures that take a few minutes, and the only discomfort you might have is when they pull the little sticky tabs off your chest. Not today! I don’t know if it was because I am so tall, thick bodied or what, but when the tech started to hook me up all was going well until she decided to drop the controller and wires right on my crotch. I about came off the table! To add insult to injury (literally) she used my solar plexus as a place to stick her elbow while she reached across me to attach the leads. If this one two punch didn’t make my heart skip a few, then I guess nothing would. She ran the strip, and began to disconnect the wire. I volunteered to remove the ones she would have to stretch to reach. Once bitten, twice shy!
A few more checks, blood pressure, temp etc, and I was in my own special little room, sitting in one of those government issued chairs that cause more pain than comfort. Since this was the cardiology department at a large public hospital they were of course backed up. I waited in the exam room for about 40 minutes while the doctor hurry scurried back and forth to other rooms. He was kind enough to pop his head in every time he went by to apologize, and advise he would be there as soon as he could. I figured out how to make the exam table move, and laid down to take a nap.
Cardiology departments are unique places. Most of patients are older, older than me anyway, and the majority had a look of fear. I guess that comes from not really knowing what is going to happen next, or whether you will receive good, bad or indifferent news when you are summoned back. I would also guess that it has to do with what your outlook on life and death is. IF you have no hope in something beyond what we have here, then the thought of death is terrifying. However, if you know in your heart (pun intended) that there is something beyond this mortal coil, and you are prepared for it, then death’s sting is not as terrifying.
Doctor Ownby came in, smiled at me reclining on the exam table and asked the ever popular question, “Why are you here?” I told him it was because they told me to be there. “How come?” Because I have a skip to my lou my darling heart. We talked for 10-15 minutes or so, with me explaining the incident from August 2010, and how they did the stress test and the 24 hour monitor. He was very reassuring, stating that the current EKG and the stress test showed that I did have a premature ventricular contraction, but all in all I had a normal heart rhythm. He said he couldn’t find the 24 hour monitoring test, but he would look for the results after the clinic closed.
He asked me if the PVCs were causing any problems, and I described how I would get exhausted and light-headed. No, they weren’t brought on by physical exertion, I could be lying in bed asleep and they would wake me. We went over my other medical problems, and he said that the other issues could be what was causing the majority of my problems, especially the “pins and needles” I would feel periodically in my heart. He gave me a prescription to help regulate and calm the PVCs, and said he wanted me back in a few months.
I was done, other than picking up the script and appointment date, so I wandered out to the lobby to wait. An older gentleman, late 70’s at least, came out from the exam room area with an attractive looking young woman helping him walk. He was dressed in a perfectly pressed suit and tie, and had an air about him of someone who enjoyed his life. He flirted with the nurse behind the counter, and spoke briefly with several other staffers. He was obviously a fixture there, and everyone enjoyed talking to him. He wrapped his arm into the young woman’s for support as they walked from the desk. I would say she was either his very young daughter or grand-daughter or perhaps a home health care nurse, as their conversation and body language did not give off a “Hugh Hefner” type of vibe.
As they left, I thought to myself, if I live that long, I hope and pray that I have as good a sense of humor as he does.