In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

What you don't know, can't hurt you

I hate having to go for all these batteries of tests. Every single time they draw another dozen vials of blood or run me through some scanner I feel a sense of impending doom. After all, various things have gone to crap when I thought things were finally starting to turn around so clearly lightning can strike out of a clear blue sky. Well, maybe not completely clear but close enough. As far as this kidney thing goes, I would have chalked myself up as mostly asymptomatic before the diagnosis came down. I had also been seeing at least a dozen doctors during this period, having had to visit the emergency room for the pneumonia even and at no point did any doctor suggest to me there could be a problem. Looking back now, of course there were some warning signs but they were always things I could explain away. I sometimes berate myself for not paying more attention since I could have known something was going wrong, but if all the doctors missed it, maybe it was just inevitable to begin with.

Regardless, I hate medical tests. It's clear I can no longer trust the fact that I generally feel fine to shield me from the terrible results that might lurk in the depths and which these machines and scanners seem hellbent on dragging to the surface. You can imagine how happy I was then when I finished the last thing I needed to go on the transplant list, a stress test, and everything had come back a-ok. Turns out that the exercise stress test I had put myself through wasn't the type the transplant team needed to see. They needed a nuclear stress test which is done by injecting a radioactive marker into the blood and allows imaging so they can view the blood flow through the heart. I spent around 3 hours and change in the hospital this past monday having the whole procedure done and while it wasn't terrible, it wasn't a bed of roses either. Instead of exercise they inject you with a chemical, dobutamine, which acts to directly stimulate the heart. It sucked. After the injection I immediately developed a headache, nausea, and this weird sense of pressure in my head and chest. It was a surreal sort of feeling and quite unpleasant. Still, once the scans were done I figured everything was good and I could put it all behind me.

I thought that right up until yesterday when the Transplant team at Lourdes called me to ask if I had seen my cardiologist. It turns out they had just gotten the results of the nuclear stress test and it showed there was damage to the heart. The authorization he had written for me to get on the transplant list no longer applied given this new data and I was told to see him for a followup asap. My first thought was it !#%^ing figures. I started to wonder if I had actually had a heart attack at some point and never released it. It could have also been heart damage due to that bout of bacterial pneuomina I had last year that was so severe I had to go to the emergency room. At the time, they actually thought I was in congestive heart failure some of the scans had been so wonky. I eventually got cleared but this brought up all that old dread and uncertainty.

I finally got to stop in today to see the cardiologist and after viewing the tests and double checking my echocardiogram and EKG results, he didn't seem to be overly concerned. He thinks that it's possibly that in some of these scans the stomach can move up and obscure part of the heart which makes it look like there is reduced blood flow. I have no clue how likely this actually is but it would make sense if it were yet something else I could blame on my oversized stomach. He said that he would write me a new clearance note and I should be all good to go on the transplant list. All I have to do now is survive 5-7 years on a failing set of kidneys. Yay.

If it seems weird that I'm not more overjoyed at this 'happy' result it could be blamed on the fact that I have very little reason to trust a lot of these doctors, none of whom managed to diagnose the kidney issues as they were developing. My cardiologist seems like a very nice guy but his practice is a little rinkydink and I know it's just bias and perhaps downright slander on my part, but I frankly don't much trust any doctor who takes Medicaid. I mean, I know the money from Medicaid payments are the lowest and Medicaid patients are generally considered to be trash. I just naturally assume that any doctor that takes my insurance is clearly doing it because they don't have any better alternatives. Isn't the old adage that you get what you pay for? Well, even if he is wrong and it is something terrible going on with my heart, I guess it doesn't much matter. It really is the case where what I don't know can't hurt me. It'll probably hurt future me and that's his problem. Besides, it's unlikely that the heart could do me in any faster than the kidneys already are. Viewed in that way, I'm probably close to invulnerable from all other forms of harm. Nothing will kill me faster than I'm already dying. Well, short of getting run over or shot or something....

Tags: doctors, heart issues, kidney failure

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