Thursday, February 7, 2013

My bi-annual appointment

 Bi-annual: I've always been confused by this term. Meaning "happening twice every year" or "occurring every other year"? According to ye old internet, both are acceptable definitions. I try to go to my cardiologist every other year. Since my condition is benign, I probably don't have to go at all, but I always love the reassurance. And recently, the palpitations had been getting me down a bit and I've had a couple weird sleep disturbances (adrenaline rushes and breath holding incidences). So it was time to go back to the Doc's for a bi-annual check-up.

I love my cardiologist, do you? It took me many years and many different doctors before someone took the time to listen to me and reassure me with appropriate language. One of my first cardiologist was the type to quickly listen to my symptoms, give me a work-up (EKG, echocardiogram, holter monitor) and then deduce that I just needed to get a grip on my anxiety. "But Doctor," I would cry, "my anxiety is my heart palpitations." The second doctor I saw was a very nice guy. He was a bit of a grandfather figure whereby on the way out the door he would give me a hug and say something like, "I see people with serious heart problems every day. You should count yourself as one of the lucky ones." I know he meant well, but it made me feel small and silly. Finally, I found a wonderful cardiac electrophysiologist. He immediately took my condition serious because of some family history. At every visit, he will listen to my concerns, give me an EKG, look at my QT interval, discuss natural and medicinal approaches, and encourage me to keep working on not letting them get me down. He has great bedside manner--speaking with confidence and compassion. For example, I told him that I recently have had this morbid fear that I'm going to die in my sleep. We went over a previous sleep study I had done over 10 years a go, and then reassured me that he is absolutely certain that whatever is going on with me during my sleep is not a cardiac event. He said, "I can promise you that you are NOT going to die in your sleep." And then we laughed that well maybe it was something might happen when I'm in my 80s or 90s but not right now. And then of course, at that age, isn't that how everybody wants to go out?

Since that visit a week a go today, no more morbid thoughts. I've been sleeping better and feeling much more rested. And if I still continue to be bothered by sleep disturbances, he recommended two wonderful sleep specialists in my town. We'll see how it goes.