Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ways to react when a doctor starts talking about...


So, I'm at my appointment with the cardiologist yesterday, and he is reading all the different test results in front of me, doing all sorts of exams on me, making strange noises as he looks through the huge stack of papers in my chart. All in all, I'm getting mighty nervous. Thirty minutes of this goes on before he starts telling me what he thinks about my heart "stuff."

All in all, I got good news. There isn't something horribly wrong with my heart. The heart itself is very healthy, but for some reason, I am having premature beats and most of them are coming from my ventricle. Which apparently is cause for concern. However, since everything else looks good, it's not too concerning. But it is concerning. Confused? So was I.

And then he started talking about the fact that ventricular premature beats increases your risk of "suddenly keeling over dead." Yep. In a very matter fact tone of voice, he told me that my risk of "sudden death" wasn't zero, but it wasn't too elevated, but it wasn't as low as a normal person's--it's somewhat raised. So basically, I have a somewhat elevated risk of suddenly keeling over dead, but it's not too concerning, but it's still concering, however I can keep exercising, I need more testing and will start taking beta blockers after the testing, but overall, I'm okay. Right? Right.

So, if you doctor began to talk about your risk of "suddenly keeling over dead," I'm just curious. How would you respond?

Disclaimer: Just so you know, I really liked the doctor, and he was very knowledgeable and mostly understandable, my husband and I just got a big kick out of his matter of fact discussion on sudden death. And not just any death. But the keeling over kind.

14 comments:

Christine Fonseca said...

Immediate panic, followed by thinking...lot and lots of thinking. Then, eventually, peace.

Cheyanne said...

Been there.

First of all, I'm very happy your news wasn't horrible. I was just told that I have a cyst in my BRAIN and I could possibly drop dead too, but it "probably won't happen".

Add that to my lupus and glaucoma and one kidney. Fun stuff! But you know what I tell myself every day? At least it's not worse. There are people dying from cancer and terminal diseases every day and I'm just so thankful for the hand I was dealt. I'd rather have many little things wrong with me than one big thing.

Sara B. Larson said...

Christine - I was more bemused than anything. I really don't think I'm going to keel over dead, but it was disconcerting to hear him talk about it to say the least.

Cheyanne - Oh my! That would be terrifying! And wow, you have so much to deal with. What an amazing attitude. My problems are very small and insignificant for sure. I look up to you.

WindyA said...

I get you. My appt with the cardiologist, though, went more like this: testing, doc gets results, looks at papers, looks at me, looks at papers, looks at me. Dr: So I don't know how you're not dead. Me: uh, that's good though, right? Dr: you should have surgery. Me: ok when? Dr: well, when's good for you? We don't have to do this right now or anything.

Excuse me, what?? yeah, I totally get you!

R.S.J. said...

Good to hear that the news is...good? Several years ago my husband(at 32) had a heart attack according to all the test results. But then the doctors said it wasn't a heart attack. They called it an 'episode'. Still not sure what that means. Hope you have hearty health from here on out!

Colene said...

WHAT!? That is craziness! I would be furious he couldn't give me a real freakin' answer, you know?

Wow. But I am sure, if it was immediately serious they would have done something more?

Will be thinkin about you and all this.

Jennie Bailey said...

I'm a nervous person as is, so this discussion would have had me in my head overanalyzing every single minute of my body. What was that pain? I've never felt that before. Why did I feel that? I would be convinced that I will keel over suddenly at any minute and would have panic attacks 24/7.

I love when doctor's talk doublespeak. See, they know exactly what they mean and think we do to without actually taking us all the way there with them, if that makes any sense?

Are they doing further tests? Or putting you on any medication? Is there anything they CAN do for it?

Carolyn V. said...

Wow. Well, I'm glad your okay. But keeling over dead, not such a good thing. Yikes!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Well, I suppose it could have been worse--so I'm glad to hear that it wasn't. But definitely a concern. I guess, you can think of it this way--there's always a chance that you'll keel over dead whether it's from a heart attack or from getting hit by a bus. So perhaps the best thing to do is just to live life as if you really could keel over at any moment.

But I know it must have made you nervous. I pray that you will be fine and all will be well. Hang in there. *hugs*

Shallee said...

I'm sorry! That's got to be frightening...in a very non-specific sort of way. Good luck!

ali said...

Actually, I've BTDT! And I'm on a beta blocker now and feel SO MUCH better. Not nearly as many migraines, and I can mostly exercise without feeling like I actually AM going to die.

It's really weird when it's your HEART too. Different from other ailments, I think. Because you kinda need your heart. It's that whole "keeling over dead" factor. Not just a little bit intimidating, is it?

I'm sorry you're going through this Sara. You've had way too much on your plate lately. ((hugs))

L.T. Elliot said...

I think I'd be freaking out a little. I'm glad the results are good but concerning but good. Praying for you and hoping you're feeling right as rain, right away.

thepadixons said...

My goodness, Sara! That is so scary. I hope this doctor takes good care of you. Just know we're all rooting (and praying) for you.

Janiel Miller said...

Hmm. This is very strange. I was diagnosed with Premature Ventricular Contractions (which sounds like what you have) six years ago, and none of my doctors--and there were several--acted concerned. None. They all said, eh, no big deal. I'm not on any meds. I wasn't told I would keel over. In fact, one of my doctors, who happens to be nationally renowned as a heart specialist, actually sent me a letter dropping me as a patient because PVC's just aren't serious enough. They told me that my heart might wear out a little earlier, but not until I'm much older.

I was told this by three different doctors. And my insurance company isn't bothered in the least by it. I'm surprised that your doctor made such a big deal out of it. Perhaps your situation is different than mine?