Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Heart update

I had several cardio-related appointments yesterday and today. Yesterday morning was a blood draw, then in the afternoon was my cardiology follow-up appointment. Let me just say again that it still seems so surreal, almost four months out, that I freakin' have a cardiologist.

Since I'd told the nurses at cardiac rehab that I was nervous about having my blood drawn, they sent me over to the Heart Center for the phlebotomist there, Joel, to do it. He's supposed to be very good, although when he took blood from me back in April it hurt a lot--though he said it was because my veins were still scarred from all the repeated blood draws from the hospitalizations.

So I wasn't too confident, but my veins have recovered, and Joel did fine, and there was minimal pain. This blood work is to check a couple of things: cholesterol levels, and liver enzymes. The liver enzyme check is because the Zocor can rarely cause liver problems.

After that, I went to Brig's for breakfast because I hadn't had anything to eat since around 8pm the night before, and I hadn't been there since right after I got out of the hospital... So hello omelet, and pancake (and leftovers for today). Then home to chill out for a bit before my cardio follow-up at 1pm.

The cardio visit was pretty routine: they did an EKG, as usual. They took my blood pressure, which was high for me, at 113/78 (I sometimes get "white coat syndrome"). OTOH, my resting heart rate was around 42, thanks to the beta blocker.

My doctor cleared me for pretty much everything: lifting weights, flying, sitting in the hot tub--the place where I swim has a hot tub, you see. My EF is well over the magic number of 55 percent, he said.

He asked how well I was sleeping. I said that the only anxiety I had, really, was about the chance of it happening again. He was pretty straight with me; he said that it was such a rare, 1 in 1000 thing that happened, that he could see where I would be worried. But given that I don't have any other contributing factors--I'm healthy, I don't have any connective tissue disorders--he said I'm more in danger of having a car accident on my way to and from work every day than of having another spontaneous dissection.

They don't know why it happened. They may never know why it happened. And mostly I'm OK with that; sometimes I want answers, but I'm growing more accepting of the fact that I'll probably never have any.

The best news is that he took me off the beta blocker, whee!! My heart rate is already pretty low (see above), as is my normal blood pressure. I was a little worried because when I first asked if he had a timetable for reducing my dose, he said that some people stay on it for life. But after he conferred with another cardiologist and they both looked at my EKG and my heart rate and such, they decided that I could come off it. I go back for another visit in four months.

This morning I had my end-of-rehab treadmill stress test. This one is a compare-and-contrast to the one I did when I first started rehab, to mark my progress. And I passed, if you will, with flying colors! I just about doubled the time that I was on the treadmill, from five and a half minutes to ten minutes, and I got my heart rate up to 130--which is almost a normal range for a woman of my age and weight. The rehab nurses were thrilled, and the doctor who was monitoring my stress test said I deserved a gold star.

My last day of rehab is July 31st. I'm pleased that things are going well.

No comments:

Post a Comment