Monday, April 12, 2010

The hearts filthy lesson

A couple of weeks ago my son went to the doctor's office for his physical so that he could again go to work this summer at the Boy Scout camp as a trek guide. This time, however, although he was cleared for work, the doctor recommended that my son see a cardiologist for his heart. They had run an EKG on him and found his heart to be beating irregularly. When my son told me this, I thought, how could he be sick? He just turned nineteen! He's been healthy all his life! He runs up mountains!

In fact, I probably would have forgotten all about it had it not been for a message on my answering machine reminding us to make the appointment because the referral had been approved. So I did.

Today, we went to see the heart doctor.

The plan was for my son and I to meet up at the hospital and go to the appointment together. I left a meeting at work and drove around looking for the hospital. Meanwhile, my son drove in from home and he got lost too. Don't laugh, there are two hospitals in town that are on parallel streets just a few blocks apart. I knew it was just a stone's throw from the freeway but I couldn't remember whether it was on Lomas or Central? When I asked at work where the hospital was located, my fellow worker told me Lomas. And for some reason, on my note, I had written Lomas. I turned off on Lomas and it wasn't where it was supposed to be. Don't you hate when that happens? Anyway, I called the doctor's office and they told me it was off of Central. Figures! I had told my son, Lomas.

I called him and found out that he was way off course. So I got him turned around and as I parked my car several blocks from the hospital in the nearest parking place I could find, I guided him to the right place. Thank the lord for cell phones! Yes, he had it on hands free while we talked. As I stood on the street side and told him to make a left at the light, right, etc. a parking space opened up right there in front of me. I was getting really antsy by now, worrying that someone would come along and take it before he could get there. And we were already late! You don't ever want to be late for a doctor's appointment even though you usually have to wait forever to be seen, right? Anyway, he finally showed up and got the space. Yay! We hurried in to the hospital and asked where the office was located. Seventh floor. Funny, looking at the elevator, a number popped up on the top of the door, s1, only it looked like 51. Just as I was thinking that, the man standing next to me asked,"Are there really 51 floors?" Everybody chuckled. We don't have any buildings with 51 floors in the whole town!

When we got to the receptionist she asked the name and said, "you're late!" Okay, we were ten minutes late. She said she would check to see if the doctor would still see my son or if we'd have to reschedule. He said he would see us after his regular patients and it could take up to an hour to be seen. She gave us a clipboard and told us to fill out the new patient paperwork. We had barely gotten started when they called us. Yay!

First, they ran a blood pressure check on my son and it was about 119 over 70 or something like it. The doctor listened to my son's heart and asked why we were there? We told him that we had been told he had an irregular heartbeat and that they recommended we get it checked. He asked what my son thought. Trevor said that he often noticed it felt like it would skip a beat and he was worried because of what the other doctor had suggested. "Yes", this doctor said, "it was irregular, but not abnormal". He called it Sinus Arrythmia. The doctor said that young people in excellent health often had irregular heartbeats. He said it happens when the heart rate slows down and it actually performs a double beat to catch up. Unfortunately, with the computers generating the reports solely on numbers, there are often misdiagnoses. I was so relieved that I couldn't really tell you word for word what he said, just that everything was fine! The doctor was very nice though and explained that if you felt like your heart was pounding through the roof after very little or no exercise or you had trouble catching your breath, there might be cause for concern. Trevor, however, was in excellent shape and the doctor was actually delighted to hear that he had hiked about a thousand or so miles in the Pecos Mountains over the past few years. (I've logged a few hundred, myself. ;) ) He did warn him off cigarettes though, saying that they are so very bad for one's health.

I wonder about health care. Sometimes, when you have insurance, you just pay the deductible and do whatever the doctors recommend, all in the name of preventative health care.
My Mom is 82 and refuses to go to the doctor on the belief that they'll find things wrong with her and put her on all kinds of pills. My Mother-in-law, 85, on the other hand, goes to all kinds of doctors all the time. She has high blood pressure and diabetes and survived breast cancer.

What is the right thing to do? For my son, I'll take him to the doctor. For me, I don't know. I've yet to see a doctor about my knee and when I had my finger x-rayed and nothing was broken, I never made the appointment for the MRI that they recommended. I still can't fully bend either my finger or my knee, but I'm not going to do surgery either. I guess I'm just like my Mother.

The hearts filthy lesson - song: Hearts Filthy Lesson, artist: David Bowie, album: Outside


fernvalley01 said...

Glad all is well.I think ,better safe than sorry ,its good you got him checked

juliette said...

Brian (my husband) and I don't go at all for us, but we take Maizie for everything! Soooo glad your son is fine. Hiking and staying active is probably the answer to everything. I think your mom has the right idea. Same with your knee - keep moving and it will always be able to move!

Tammy said...

Glad Trevor is okay! With kids, I don't like to take a chance. With myself... I'm more like you. See how things go. If it is minor, I make a list when I go in for the annual appointment.

Watch that knee, though. If it doesn't look like it is healing on its own, it could be something...

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Interesting story. I've had my heart trip over itself when I lie flat on my back. Feels like it is fluttering in my throat. I've never seen a doctor for it, but my mother-in-law had the exact same symptoms and her doctor hooked her up to a portable heart monitor. Every time someone talked about something she didn't want to talk about, she'd grab her chest and say, "Ohhhh! I'm having an attack." Then she'd change the subject to whatever she wanted to talk about. She's notorious for using her health problems as leverage in manipulating people. After convincing everyone in the family that she's going to die, the cardiologist said there was nothing wrong with her and he took his heart monitor back. Another time a surgeon refused to operated on my mother's leg until a cardiologist cleared her to go under anesthesia. Another doctor thought he heard a murmur, but the cardiologist said she was fine. I guess diagnosing heart problems can be tricky. I'm glad the news was good for your son.

Laura said...

Glad that your son is ok!! I think for something big (like your heart!) you should go to the appointments and get things checked... For some smaller stuff, sometimes it is better to wait and see. Tough call either way though.

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Good news. You always worry about your kids, no matter how old. Get him off those cigarettes though.


Breathe said...

Sierra had open heart surgery and arrythmia is the #1 fear we deal with. Getting it checked is important. I think of health care as a series of filters. One stage catches all the rocks, the next stage evaluates the rocks.

But you have to decide based on what the eventual options are, whether or not it's worth pursuing more information.

With the heart, it always is. With breaks, not so much.

achieve1dream said...

Lol and you'll probably always be that way lol. My dad is that way. It took him twenty something years to finally get his low thyroid and sleep apnea diagnosed.

I'm glad your son is okay and I'm really very, very thankful you posted this here because my heart does that sometimes too and it's good to know what exactly it is. :)