Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Above is my EKG reading from this evening. It's regular and according to the doctor who looked at it, it's good, but you never know. The doctor, who is not my regular doctor, spoke to me incredibly fast. He went on and on and on about a great many things related to the heart incident I had. He asked a lot of questions, had a lot of good information and told me something that I knew already. That throb with chest weakness that I felt on the treadmill...who knows. The above EKG shows that while I have a low resting heart rate, that it was behaving well right then. Maybe, at some other time, it would misbehave. So he said maybe we can echocardiogram me. Maybe put me through the paces of a stress test. Maybe this. Maybe that. Maybe something else. Surely a blood test and then, maybe this other thing. But, you know, probably just had too much caffeine and not enough water. Drink more water, cut back on caffeine and maybe it's this other thing, too, that we could test this other way as well.

That's what I hate about medicine. Everyone, I'm sure, feels the same way. Why can't they just tell me, definitively, what's wrong with me? I mean, I clearly explained it precisely how it felt? Right? I couldn't remember anything incorrectly, forget a detail, or use words to describe the sensation I felt that would be wholly different than the words the doctor would use. I mean, come on, I told him what it is, he should know how to fix it.

All in all, it was reassuring in a sense. He didn't knock me out right there and demand I have a heart operation. He also didn't say I couldn't exercise, so I'm going to start running and biking and everything else soon. And that's relieving. But he did mention Jim Fixx, so that sure as hell wasn't a reassuring reference for the doctor to bring up, but that's exactly why they want to be careful.

What was funny to me, as well, is that while sitting there and he's going over all these potential extra tests and blood tests, all I could think about was The New Yorker article about how people want all the medicine and tests they can get, which in turn drives up health care costs. So while he's going on about all this stuff, I'm thinking, "Yeah, great, but I don't want to be a health care cost sponge."

He did shake my hand twice over the fact that I've lost all this weight. The way he reacted made me realize that I never really appreciated how big of a deal it is that I've lost 130-plus pounds over all these years. Most of the time, I think of the weight loss as a big deal, but ultimately something that had to happen and something that anyone could do. I mean, I've made this mess, I should be able to fix it. So should anyone else. It never felt extraordinary, just regular ordinary. Because if I can do it, then it must be ordinary, right?

Oh, one final note about this doctor's trip before I close this 15 minute spot up...the nurse was crazily obese. That just doesn't sit right with me. That's like seeing your nutritionist eating a Double Down sandwich from KFC while drinking a milkshake. The nurse was very nice, professional and efficient...however, come on, buddy, you're in health care! Knock it off.


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