Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Doctor's Guesstimations

How do you control stress? How is it that some people handle it better than others? Some people lose weight, some gain. Some lose their minds, while others get stronger and much more courageous for the next set of chaotic events to come. I guess it depends on "you". I do everything in my power to relieve myself of all stressors and anxiety, like praying, meditating, enjoying my hobbies like playing guitar or writing music. Still, I'm grasping for straws and desperate for relief. I even started going to a place that provides Reiki and polarity treatments. Still, I'm grasping for anything to relieve me. Sadly, at this time, the only thing to relieve me of my pain, sadness and anxiety is alcohol. Suggestions to exercise would be wise, but it makes my heart race and subliminally tells my noggin, "Hey! You're having an anxiety attack - look at your heart rate!" And although I know the heart rate is normal - I still think, "abnormal".

Abnormal. The word sucks when you hear a doctor in the ER tell you that your EKG came out abnormal. "Well, what does that mean?" I asked, thinking I would get a clear cut answer the Monday evening. I woke up with intense chest, jaw and arm pain. I felt nauseous, got sick and then told Mad, "I gotta go to the hospital." So while getting the EKG report, the doctor said, "Well, it seems to be abnormal, which may indicate previous heart attacks, but I'm not quite sure. It may mean that you have angina...not sure about that either. Or, it could be that you need a coronary procedure where we go through the groin in cause there is clogging of the arteries....but eh, still not sure."  After numerous blood tests, it showed my blood to be 'perfect', blood pressure 102/70 which is great, and cholesterol a little under 200. I dropped 20 points from last year which is significant. He said that stress can manifest in many ways, even mimicking a heart attack, but then again, he wasn't sure. He spoke in doctor jargon which pisses me the hell off. I kept looking at Madelene in front of him asking, "What does he mean, I don't speak that language?" She is knowledgeable in that area having worked in the pharmaceutical field for many years.

Here are my thoughts. Shut the eff up with your EKG reports because they mean absolutely nothing. I don't care if you're a doctor reading this and disagreeing, but EKGs are no longer a reliable source of valid health information. They have given out so many false positives that it's just insane. And to tell a patient who comes in for a possible heart attack that the report shows they have had a few in the past was enough to almost give me one right there. My brother in law said the other day, "The medical field isn't about science, it's about 'guesstimations.'"  And as I disagreed with him because there are many scientific things about the medical field, he proved his point when this ER doctor didn't know what was wrong with me. I understand he can't go inside my heart and see what's brewing, but don't tell me "you think" --- go by the blood work and tell me, "It wasn't a heart attack tonight."  That's all. Don't scare me into another chest pain episode. To scare someone even more so while they're thinking they had a massive heart attack lacks empathy on the doctor's part in my opinion.

To beat the dead horse a bit further, I cannot tolerate doctors who 'think' they know everything about health, go on these asinine diets like the Atkins or Paleo diet or that Medifast diet that tastes like cardboard just to make a few extra bucks on the side. On Facebook, I had written about how the staff gave me a huge serving of scrambled eggs in the morning --- to a heart patient. I was puzzled and way too scared to touch it. Must have been 400 mg of cholesterol in one bite. When I stayed at a well known hospital six months ago for the same thing, the only thing I was allowed to eat was egg whites or cereal for breakfast. I was on a 'heart' diet and even if I requested eggs, they would deny me. So in the comment section on my Facebook status, a doctor wrote something along the lines about "eat the eggs" because he's big into the Paleo diet. He once told me that I could eat a pound of bacon and a three egg omelette every single day and have my cholesterol go down. I would love nothing better to enjoy that, however I don't believe in that particular diet.

Here's the thing: there are people who can go on it and succeed, but there are many people who would fail because they still incorporate pastas and whole grains into their regimen. Just as you've heard before, eggs are the perfect food. ...For who? It's perfect if you're young, heart-healthy and active with a low cholesterol reading. Perfect indeed. But for someone who has a higher cholesterol reading and blood pressure, in my ~unprofessional~ advice, don't do it, or do it in moderation. For me, I can't eat bacon and eggs every single morning because, well,  I'm Italian -- I love my pasta in moderation, which would make the entire Paleo diet fail for me and possibly leave me sitting in some hospital bed with a holter monitor wrapped around every part of me.  The only diet that every worked for me, (when I go on it) is cutting everything I eat in half and exercising. Weight Watcher's helped me a lot, but all the points and calorie counting drove me insane. So I'm trying to cut everything in half, yet eat all the things I truly love.

I have a family doctor who I truly rely on. He gives it to me straight up and doesn't sugarcoat anything. He is always right in my experience. He's never unsure about anything, which is something I look for when I look for medical attention. The problem is, there are too many incompetent doctors that love to give you the scare tactic or try to make money off selling you some new product that'll just leave you sick in the long run. I once went into a doctor's office, told him that I found a lump under my arm and he said, "Yeah that looks like cancer." You CANNOT tell a patient sitting in front of you that they have a disease that you didn't even check for. My "lump" was because I'm double jointed and the bone was (and still is) very pronounced. But, that night when I went home to wait a week for my test results, I was so panic-stricken that I could hardly do or go anywhere. When the phone rang, I jumped up and flew to answer it, hoping it would be good news. I cried every single night to wait for that possible dreaded call.  Another doctor and surgeon suggested I get my gallbladder removed just to do a process of elimination to get rid of my heartburn.

I still stand by what I said in a previous post, "If you tell me I shouldn't be doing what my doctor (with years of schooling on his chosen profession) suggested, your words will fall upon deaf ears."  Don't tell me to eat a pound of bacon when my doctor told me to limit my cholesterol intake. Don't tell me to eat nuts and strawberries to boost up my allergies while my doctor tested that I'm slightly allergic to these foods. While I appreciate the advice, but it overrides logical medical treatment. I know people mean well, but if you already know I disagree with a certain method, or I have gotten professional medical advice that I agree with (even if that person is a doctor), it will fall upon deaf ears. Not everyone is a 'fit' for a particular lifestyle change. Not everyone can keep a certain diet regiment because it goes against their entire way of living. I really believe the person has to truly want to go on a special diet or different lifestyle. Just like smoking --- the person has to want to do it, not be told to do it.

So now I'm left with reports of a shady looking EKG report and a clean bill of health from my blood work to which I have to follow up with my doctor this week. I've been through the stress tests, the echocardiograms and a ton of other monitoring rituals they have. I just don't have a coping mechanism that's perfect enough for me to stay calm, or at least deal with stress better. What do you do when you start getting chest pains and all the "silent" symptoms of a heart attack?  It could be nothing, or it could be the last few minutes of your life. I just wish medical "science" was a bit more scientific rather than being a huge guesstimation.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook.

3 comments:

The Elephant's Child said...

I wish that empathy was required before doctors were set free to go out and practise on us. And sometimes I wonder - doctors set up a practice - if a pilot for example was just practising he would be kept firmly on the ground. And yes, guestimation seems to be the order of the day. I see too many of them, and pay too much for the privilege to be happy with guesses. Which I could do myself. Hiss and spit.

the walking man said...

Skip the alcohol for stress relief and smoke some good high grade medicinal marijuana.

Deb said...

TEC, I agree with you completely. I know they're just "human", but in that line of business, you really have to consider putting your own feelings aside and doing what's best for the patient. It just baffles me how many dipshits have a degree in medicine these days.

Mark, I wish. Marijuana gives me anxiety attacks, so that would only put me out on a ledge somewhere. I envy those who get the 'calm' effect. Me? I lose my mind, my sanity and I get a heart rate up to 190. Not good. Meh. Pour me a martini please!