A Cautionary Tale

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Holden Fourth
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Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:47 am

A Cautionary Tale

Post by Holden Fourth » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:30 pm

I've been absent form the forum for over a week now and the following 'Tale' will explain why.

Last year I changed doctors for reasons that I won't go into here. At the end of the year I went to see him about one matter and he talked me into having the usual round of bloods. At 8:30 am on Xmas Eve he called me and asked me to see him. While he didn't sound worried, this call was unusual in itself. I reminded him that I had an appointment on Jan 2 and I heard him pause before he said that he'd see me then. On that day he talked about my blood results which were all fine except my cholesterol which he described as 'through the roof'. He suggested that I undergo a test called a myocardial perfusion. He said it should be OK as I was on holiday and it was free. He was already dialing the Radiology Lab as we spoke and I was booked in for Jan 14 and 15. The test consists of injecting a radio isotope into your bloodstream then xraying your heart twice - at rest and after exercise.

I duly fronted, did the rest test on day 1 and then came back the next day for the 'stress test'. Fifteen minutes after completing it the supervising doctor said that this was a very positive test (not a good positive) and that he had already made an appointment for me to see a cardiologist that day. I asked what time and his reply was "whenever you turn up." This was accelerating out of my control but two hours later I was sitting in front of the cardiologist. He described the blockage in my arteries and that he was booking me into Allamanda Private Hospital in two days time (last Thursday) for an angiogram/angioplasty procedure. He warned me that that I might require surgery.

I booked into Allamanda on the day and at 6:00 pm I went into what they call their 'cath lab' for insertion of balloons and stents. Less than an hour into the procedure he showed me the results of the angiogram, a 100% blockage of coronary arteries. You can't get stents into those so I was then being introduced to the cardiac surgeon and to sign a consent for surgery. At 6 am next morning they wheeled me into the theatre and the lights went out!

Fortunately for me the lights came back on and I'm resting at friends now after a triple bypass. I'm not yet strong enough to cope for myself. I was repeatedly told. by hospital staff how very lucky I was. Not only was one artery 100% occluded another had an aneurism. An aortic aneurism killed my Dad in 1993! I was literally seconds away from either an aneurism or, more likely, a myocardial infarction. Both would have been instantly fatal.

So where's the cautionary tale? OK here it is and I suspect that it applies to many, many men. The signs and symptoms of my condition had been present for quite a long time. I had chosen to either ignore or, more commonly, transpose my symptoms onto something else, desperately trying to convince myself at the same time. In my case I chose GORD. So many men do this - deny, ignore or transpose.

So, please take this advice. If you have chest pain, unexplained indigestion, high cholesterol, or any other symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease then go and get this simple test done. I am very lucky to be sitting here typing this post.

lennygoran
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:41 pm

Holden Fourth wrote:The signs and symptoms of my condition had been present for quite a long time.
Thanks for the warning and so glad they got to you in time--could you say what symptoms you ignored--I would like to think that if I felt chest pains or maybe some pain in my arm I would try to act quickly but I do tend to be a procastinator! Regards, Len

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:45 pm

To show you how my mind works, I thought for most of your narrative that this was going to be a cautionary tale about medical malpractice: Either you found out at the last minute that the doctors had all been wrong, or they were right but then botched the procedure.

Well, I am chastened in the realization that there were no such twists and turns to your story, and welcome back, old friend. It is good to know that the basic story is that modern medical science knows what it is doing if we would only listen--and doubly good in that things worked out for you.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Cosima___J
Posts: 1486
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:38 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Post by Cosima___J » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:28 pm

Yeah, I thought it was going to be one of those exposes like they have on Len's favorite TV show. :)

Teresa B
Posts: 3057
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 11:04 am
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Post by Teresa B » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:44 pm

I second the welcome back! I am so glad you got the surgery in time. It sounds like you had one foot on the proverbial banana peel. Many people let symptoms go unchecked for various reasons--they are in denial (like you were), or they think they can't afford to go to the doctor, or they are afraid of what might be diagnosed. I sometimes look at it this way-- will remaining ignorant of a potentially serious health issue ever improve your prognosis?

Anyway, many wishes for a fast recovery!
Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

Holden Fourth
Posts: 1421
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:47 am

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Post by Holden Fourth » Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:10 am

Thank you folks.

To answer the question about symptoms - quite standard really. Chest pain when exercising was the most obvious. Because it happened most often after eating I decided it was gastro oesophageal reflux disease. What happens about 30minutes after eating is that your digestion system kicks in, diverting blood away from the heart - nothing to do with GORD at all.

I'll keep you posted re my recovery.

barney
Posts: 2959
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Post by barney » Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:20 am

I third the welcome back. As an ageing fatty I hear your warning, but had a stress test last year.

lennygoran
Posts: 14122
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Post by lennygoran » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:09 am

Cosima___J wrote:Yeah, I thought it was going to be one of those exposes like they have on Len's favorite TV show. :)
That's right--60 Minutes and most of the shows on PBS--sure better thanyour darn Football playoffs! Regards, Len :) :) :)

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26866
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:14 am

barney wrote:I third the welcome back. As an ageing fatty I hear your warning, but had a stress test last year.
You people are all ruining the mental images I have of you! :D

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
Posts: 19967
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Post by John F » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:29 am

All the best to you for a speedy recovery. And you can congratulate yourself for having changed doctors, whatever the reason - it may have saved your life.
John Francis

Steinway
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Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:08 am
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Post by Steinway » Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:28 am

Ric..

Thankfully your story has a positive ending and makes me wonder about ignoring symptoms.

So far I've survived 82 years of good health and feel very fortunate that I've been blessed with good genes.

Please take care of yourself and do whatever your present physician recommends.

Best wishes for continued recovery and while you recuperate, let good music be part of your every day!

Best regards.

HH

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