4th March 2008

Boring Health Update

met with the cardio specialist today (and his “fellow,” only she wasn’t actually a fellow, quite the opposite really, perhaps a sly trick by the cardiology team to see what might happen to my EKG, but I digress…)

so the specialist and his fellow, they said “Your heart sometimes is beating a little fast, is that what’s troubling you Bunky?”

and I was all like, “Yeah, that’s what happened, I guess.”

and they were all like, “Well, based on the tests,” and here they pulled out an impressive array of charts with waveforms scribbled across them. “We’re pretty sure that you’ve got a case of AtrioVentricular Nodal Reentrant Tachycardia or AVNRT as we in the heart biz like to call it.”

so I was like, “What’s that mean exactly?”

and they were like, “Sometimes your heart beats fast.”

and I was all like, “Dohhh.”

and they said, “There are three things you can do. 1) You can let us slide a laser up this artery from your inner thigh into your heart and burn the nerve path away that causes the tachycardia; or, 2) You can take these pills that will slow your heart way down, take them in the morning though so you don’t die in your sleep, and we have the two kinds of pills, the calcium blockers that make your ankles swell up like you’ve been infected with elephantiasis, or the beta blockers which will make you all impotent and like that; or, 3) You can do nothing and just address it when and if your heart beats fast again.”

I tried to keep a straight face. “AVNRT? I queried.

“Fo’ shizz” says the surgeon. “Big ups on the short term memory, dude!” says his fellow (who ain’t).

“So the laser thing,” I muttered, and they took it from there with much talk about ablation and curative and 90% success rate…

“About that 10 percent?” No problem, no problem, if they don’t get it the first time they just go in again, leave what looks like a hickey on your thigh, scarcely one in a hundred end up with the wrong nerve scorched and a permanent pacemaker implanted, and I don’t think we’ve ever had a little mix-up like that here at Seattle Grace…

Bullshit, thinks I. I’ve watched that show. DNA flying all around the OR. But they’re all like, “It’s an outpatient procedure and we have two of the best electro-physiologists available for the job.”

“Tell me about that third option.”

“Well, what you have isn’t life threatening.”

“That means it won’t kill me, right?”

“Exactly. And if you experience discomfort you can do one of a number of things. You can bear down like your having a bowel movement.” (I’m thinking, yeah, like I want to crap my pants). “Or you can massage your carotid arteries and interrupt the looping that’s going on in your heart nerves. Or some people find if they splash cold water on their face they can make their heart slow down.”

End result: I let them write me a scrip for the calcium blocker (generic, five bux co-pay). I took it home and stuffed it in the drawer. I’m going to try the cold water on the face thing if it happens again.

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posted in Farm Almanac, The Proprietor | 12 Comments

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