Monday, June 11, 2007

More Fun With Fibrillation

I got to see my cardiologist today about my fibrillocity. I was excited because it meant a little time off of work, she’s kinda cute (I swear I never noticed before but my wife keeps pointing it out) and I figured I was going to be presented with my award for joining the Atrial Fibrillation Club because it’s the 10th time I’ve had it. My visit didn’t quite go as I had planned.

As always, the beginning of all the fun starts in the waiting room. I learn so much about the senior culture by waiting to see my heart doctor. The couple I sat next to this morning was in their mid-70s and they were particularly grumpy and not too fond of each other. I was digging the free entertainment until the wife started saying bad things about another older gentleman’s cargo shorts. Then the husband starting chiming in about his disapproval of all the pockets on said shorts. It took every fiber of my being not to say something to them two of them. Not only was I wearing cargos, but I personally think they are one of the three modern miracles of our industrious people, alongside the deep fryer and cheese grater. I waited them out until they started bickering about how cold it was. I wanted to ask everyone if they were up for a game of bingo, but a voice in the back of my mind that I had never heard before today kept telling me it was a bad idea. Besides, today’s security guard liked a little brawnier than the guy on duty last time I was there.

I didn’t think it was possible, but I beat my cardiologist into the office this morning. If there is anything I can tell you about waiting in an examination room, it’s that you should never, no matter how bored you are, look at all of the heart related reading material in the magazine rack. After reading about topics ranging from implantable devices to living with heart failure, I was too scared to breath, or sneeze, or move for that matter. When my doctor knocked on the door to enter, I think I jumped 5 feet. We exchanged pleasantries and then instead of asking about the pounding in my chest, rapid acceleration of my heartbeat, the weakness in my legs or the fact that I start to pass out every time I get up or bend over, I asked her if it was medically possible for the Grinch’s heart to grow three sizes that day. The answer: that was just a cartoon, an enlarged heart is never good and I’m awfully backed up with patients this morning. I tried a different tact when she asked about my atrial fibrillation. I made mention that I scheduled the appointment in the hopes of getting my Ten Timer trophy. She turned from me and entered something into the computer. I swore for a minute that I could hear a cricket chirp. Maybe I should not have laughed so hard at my own joke.

Obviously I had missed my mark twice so I just came right out and asked what hearts are currently going for on the black market. She countered with ‘there’s a more serious medication we can put you on, but I have to renew my certification for it.’ That is never a statement you want to hear your doctor say, especially when it is followed up by, ‘it has a side effect that can kill you.’ Wow, you never hear that on all those commercials for medications these days. ‘Side effects, while rare, can include diarrhea, vomiting, lightheadedness, blurred vision and instant and excruciating death.’ It just makes you want to rush out to the pharmacy, doesn’t it?

After my appointment was over, I was asked to take an EKG. I took my shirt off and the technician looked at the scar running down my chest and said, ‘oh, have you had open heart surgery?’ Maybe it was because I’ve lived with that scar and have had to answer that question for all of my life, but before I realized it, I said ‘nope, I was attacked and mauled right down the middle of my chest by a bear that had an amazing sense of symmetry.’ Now worried that I had offended him, even though I was joking, I asked if he could tell by the EKG strip how bad the earthquake was. Finally, I got a laugh.

I then had to go back to my doctor’s nurse for them to review the EKG. Do you think it’s a bad thing when my nurse shakes her head as she is giving me the grape sucker I asked for as I was leaving? The red ones taste too much like medicine…

41 comments:

Patti said...

Did you actually get that potentially lethal medication?

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

it's tough being old. i know. i am old. i sit in the cardiologists waiting room with sarge. you are right the material they leave out for you to read can scare you to death. i will try not to make fun of sarge's shorts next time. just for you michael! so if you are there, you will know that is me. the one not making fun of the geezer's shorts!

smiles, bee

Just telling it like it is said...

Personally I would have told him that a shark attacted you, but I can understand the bear...
Okay what is the name of the medication?? Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can be all that bad right??

Ralph said...

As for your new med, it can not be worse than your condition now, can it? Did you get a warranty after the last op (one year on parts and labor)? As for shorts, plaid bermuda shorts seem to have risen from the obscure these days, I'd hoped they disappeared for good about 1974. A bear has no symmetry, a coyote has more style...and of course, the best one of these is the one more a danger to himself instead of his victim, Wile E. Coyote

Michael C said...

Patti: Not yet, but here's hoping ;-)

Empress: Thanks for respecting the cargos!!

Just Telling: I can't remember the name, but I think it started with a D. The side effect is ventricular fib. Enough about my stuff, how was the tubing??

Robin said...

speaking of cardiologists...my associate today was walking his dog...he's a cardiologist and the dog laid down in the street and died...had a heart attack right in front of the doc (the dog was 8)---my associate cried.

Just telling it like it is said...

Ohhh the tubing was uneventful..no fun...let's just say that I went with two English teachers, need I say more...I was hoping for a wild and crazy adventure only to find out that there we people there that I had to behave myself...too bad hu?? and it was cold!!! and my girlfriend got stung by a bee...no worries though I gave her CPR and she was like darn girl I am breathing on my own...Oh yeah just making sure!!!

Just telling it like it is said...

was it digitalis? or cardizem?

Michael C said...

Ralph: I would wear plaid bermuda just to say that I did. But I'd probably enjoy it.

Robin: That's a pretty sad tale. Oh, that's bad phrasing, sorry.

Just Telling: I have never hung out with English teachers...now I know not to put them on my list ;-)
You're right, a shark would be better than a bear. I think the medication was called Dofetilide maybe. I have been on Digitalis before.

Abigail S said...

Totally go for the grape sucker! Only the best for you!

Your Dr. needs to lighten up and learn to laugh!

brandy said...

I'm glad you cleared up the whole Grinch/heart thing. Man.Everyone gives Dr. Seuss props but the guys story isn't even medically accurate. Booo.

Patti said...

I agree your doctor does need to lighten up. Next time ask her: What's up doc? and see if she ignores you.

Michael C said...

Abigail: Nothing but the grape for me!

Brandy: Yeah and while we're on debunking myths, what's up with Aquaman? I tried that as a kid and almost drown!

Patti: It's so obvious. I can't believe I didn't think of it sooner!

Odat said...

So? What's the ending of the fibrillocity story??? Is everything ok?
Peace

Just telling it like it is said...

okay now I can rest knowing what medication it was...yes I am a freak like that!!!

Michael C said...

Odat: I'll let you know when the story ends ;-)

Just Telling: That doesn't make you a freak. Posting pictures of the BBQ ribs you made (like I did this weekend) makes you a freak ;-)
If it's not that medication, I'll let ya know!

Awesome Mom said...

Bwhaha I am going to have to remember to tell Evan that bear one so that he can use it when he gets older.

Good luck with the deadly medication.

Girl on the Run... said...

I can only hope and pray that all is well with you. I thought the joke about the bear was funny... maybe you and I have a wierd sense of humor... it was good stuff.

Better the elderly coupe in a doctor's office than behind you at the movies...

Jail is not a viable option for me! LOL

All the best my friend,
M

captain corky said...

I Hope everything is ok and I really enjoy your blog and your sense of humor, but Cargo shorts Michael? Really...

Patti said...

we need to see a photo of the cargo shorts, I'd say.

Patti said...

If you can show us your ribs, you can show us your legs.

(I just thought of that one so I had to return) ;-)

Michael C said...

Awesome: Oh I've got a bunch of lines Evan can use ;-)

Girl on the Run: Thanks. I could just imagine that elderly couple at the movies. Yikes!

Captain: Cargo shorts are the Kangaroo pouch of man.

Patti: I like the attempt, but the logic is slightly flawed. I showed you the ribs of a dead pig processed for human consumption. I could show you a chicken leg ;-)

The Rock Chick said...

Oh, some doctors totally need a better sense of humor--especially when the patient is initiating the humor!!!

I think hearing "I have to renew my certification" for a medicine would probably scare the "you know what" out of me! EEEECK!

Hope you're feeling good--
Jessica The Rock Chick

Patti said...

OK, show us a chicken leg. Grilled to a fare-thee-well.

Michael C said...

Rock Chick: I guess it would be like someone getting in an airplane with me, only to have me tell them, I need to get my pilots' license soon.

Patti: Is that more cooked than 'ready to fly off the grill?'
;-)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I'm sure you are their all time favorite patient.

mist1 said...

What's the difference between a fibrillator and a defibrillator? I mean, clearly, one fibs and one defibs, but seriously, I need to know. Once you've been defibbed, do you need to be refibbed and is that a different device?

Jenny! said...

Don't you alwasy leave the doctors more brokenup than how you came??? I always beat my Dr. to the office, it's like a race to see how long I can wait! Good luck with the pumper...you have a great comic outlook which will help keep you well!

Michael C said...

Lone Grey: Trust me, I'm not anybody's favorite anything.

Mist: Ok, here's my shot. A defibrillator probably stops your heart from fibrillating and a fibrillator gets it to fibrillate, although I have no idea why you'd want to do that. Yeah, I really didn't answer your question at all, did I? Ok, I just checked Wikipedia and I'm not sure there is a fibrillator. Since I can't find a reference to it, I'll assume it doesn't exist, unless you have seen a reference to it. Man, do I now feel dizzy.

Michael C said...

Jenny!: Yes and I also leave them with more meds than when I came in too ;-)

Just telling it like it is said...

Yes, Mist1 one tells fibs and one doesn't...
V-fib a shockable rythem usually 2 mins. of CPR (30 compressions to 2 breaths of air) followed by 200 J or 360 J which every defibillatory(shock) you are using followed by drugs like epinephine every 3-5 mins. ACLS.
meaning Ventricular fibrulation not a rythem you can live in very long. Meaning that SA node of your heart is no longer working and needs to be shocked so that your heart can restart itself. SA node and AV node very important to the electrical patentency of the heart.
A-fib when the top of your heart is just quivering and the SA node is no longer the conductor of the heart. People can live in A-fib for a long time but not usually V-fib...

I hope that confused the hell out of you cause I think I confused myself...

Michael C said...

Just Telling: Forget being my nurse, I now want you to be my dang doctor!!!

Just telling it like it is said...

Oh micheal I think my head is getting bigger by the moment..did I tell you that I have a problem with forcing my medical information on to my family and friends...Yes,(I stand up in the crowd of other now it alls) My name is darn girl and I have a problem with medical information...
I am clearly just a doctor in my mind...

Michael C said...

Just Telling: They always say go with someone you trust and after an answer like that, I trust you. Besides, you hang out with English teachers.

Just don't let your head get too big, you need to fit it through the exam room door my friend ;-)
If it doesn't fit, then sadly, I will have to seek another medical professional.

Just telling it like it is said...

and this has always been my probelm a big head..no really literally..
English teachers I am finding are no fun..

Michael C said...

Just telling: My ears are a little on the big side, but I can hear what people are saying about me from across the room.

CS said...

For my money, the orange suckers rule. But what I really like is the little bowl of dumdums at my son's neurosurgeons office - we dig through for the rootbeer ones. If there is only one, sometimes I even let my son have it.

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

Any medication can be fatal...what makes this one so special?

FRIGGA said...

‘nope, I was attacked and mauled right down the middle of my chest by a bear that had an amazing sense of symmetry.’

I almost wish I had such a scar just so I could use that line.

Heart Of Darkness said...

If your wife points it out, the female doc is much more then "kinda cute"!

AndreAnna said...

You crack me up!! I'm catching up on all my blogs and yours always makes me giggle in that "Ha, I wish I coulda thought of that" way.