Friday, August 17, 2007

Things are Moving too Fast!

Medicine is certainly a confusing patchwork of specialists, fancy tests and insanity these days. Since I have a bit of experience in the world of nursing, I know enough to gather up my own medical records and important tests into a file that will remind doctors what they did last. Things that happen to this old body are way more important to me than they are to any doctor or medical institution. It never ceases to amaze me that we are told by fancy physicians that something about us is important and they will be keeping an eye on the problem, only to have them forget why you have appeared in their office this year to check on some spurious condition. Couldn't they write on the front page of the chart--- "Don't forget that this patient's head is in danger of falling off in another year?" Do you get tired of that quizzical look that says, "What in the world could be wrong with you now?"

We live in Florida for six months at a time and then amble home to Ohio to have our doctors check on various and sundry old people complaints. Florida doesn't have enough doctors to keep up with the snowbirds who flock to their sunny shores, so I dutifully collect all our records and enough medicine to keep us going for another season each fall. As we are preparing to return to Ohio, I call ahead to make the appointments that are designed to keep us alive until next season. (Sort of like curb side restaurants) Since we arrived home in May, you would think that we would be done by June and call it a day with the medical experts. I have known that "My Honey" was going to have a total knee replacement (after the golf season and before the return to Flamingo Paradise), but I finally got to the right doctor this week to check on an old surgery and think about the reason for a sudden rise in my blood pressure. The PCP and the cardiologist didn't have a clue, so they said just keep taking the medicine and "Here's another pill or two to add to the upset" --- they'll see me next year. Not so with the vascular surgeon who reamed out my left carotid three years ago and is keeping the proverbial eye on the right one. He is such a busy and important man that I feel silly going to his office. Who would think that Toledo, Ohio has one of the rare vascular surgeons who does robotic surgeries? I have met people from all over this country in his waiting room, including one from Maine by way of Massachusetts General who came in need of this man. I have also waited in his office for up to five hours to see the great one. Why would anyone in their right mind wait that long? Because he is the one who looks at horses and sees Zebras. Where other doctors see someone who looks pretty healthy, but has some ridiculous symptom --- so they cut them loose until something important shows up, he gets a far away look in his eyes (like he is reading page 961 in the Internal Medicine Book) and orders an appropriate test.

Last week he ordered three dimensional CAT scans of my carotids and lower aortic branch arteries. But honestly doc,--- I feel pretty good! We saw him on Tuesday and he slapped the scans up on the light box and visibly paled. In his Argentine accent, he said, "This is not so good." On Wednesday, I was back at the cardiologist's getting clearance to have surgery sometime soon. Yesterday, I was back at the hospital having out-patient testing done pre-op. On Monday morning, he will be saving my life. That pesky right carotid has problems not seen by ordinary tests or felt by ordinary doctors, but dreamed of by this extraordinary doctor. There is a crater in the plaque that is causing the blood rushing up my neck to force a disection in a carotid that is not blocked enough to call attention to itself by the usual means. Am I scared? You betcha! Do I trust him? You betcha! But, I trust God even more and will abide by whichever prayer He decides to answer. If things go well on Monday, I will have to come home from Florida in four more months for a stent in my celiac artery (it goes from your aorta to your liver). I told you there were Zebras in my barn --- and this amazing doctor is the head zoo keeper.

I guess I am trying to tell you that you shouldn't be put off by a medical community that seems to be too involved with all the paperwork and too short on time to find what is the problem in your life. Keep dinging at them until someone listens to you. It's your life that they are messing with --- hold them accountable.


Carine said...

I know of what you speak! It took years to get through to the physical medicine dr to listen to me. finally when I couldn't open my mouth and couldn't walk and showed him private x-rays, then he finally agreed to send me to the rheumatologist.

Summer said...

Kacey, i wish you the best!! God will protect you for sure!
waiting to read from you once you are back online. take care and i will be praying for you.

Matty said...

Now I understand much better what you're going through and I say, Thank God for Zebra Dr's. In 2005, the village (idiots) dr's...kept sending me and my grandson home telling us to continue with the puffers and humidifier over and over...till a Zebra Dr who was visiting for a month stated. I'm seeing you & your grandson a little too much..let's run some tests...and the Leukemia was found.
So yes, I encourage everyone to make waves...don't take no for an answer....make such a pest of yourself that you'll get the attention you deserve. It's your life, you have to fight for it.
Kacey, I'll be saying my prayers for you this week. I hope everything turns out well. You've still got a lot of living to do.
Of course you're scared, I don't blame you. I would be too.
Pray your hardest and surrender the rest to God.
We'll all be praying for you. I'm so glad you have the 'great man' there.
Hang tough, Kacey!

Betty said...

Dear Kacey,

Well, this certainly puts my petty grievances into perspective. Good health is such a blessing, yet so easy to take for granted. I am one of your many admirers who will be praying for you. I've been caught up in my own drama with my child custody case and haven't been staying in touch with my blogging buddies (or my blog, for that matter). I am so glad that I listened to the voice that told me to check in with you today. I will be rooting for you.

Many hugs,

Big Dave T said...

Good advice there at the end. We received almost identical advice after our youngest kept getting sick enough to go the hospital at only a few weeks of age. The pediatrician's office kept putting off his symptons until he was so sick he had to be rushed to the hospital and hooked up to a vital signs monitor in case he stopped breathing. It was our daycare provider who told us to stay after the doc until he got it right. He did, eventually. It was food poinsoning ironically enough.

Good luck with your surgery. I know from working with the medical center at the U of M that microvascular surgery is a burgeoning business right now. Safe, effective and (shouldn't say this I know) lucrative.

Kay Dennison said...

Keeping you in my prayers!

Matty sent me over! Heck of a way to meet a fellow Buckeye!

I'll be back when you are back up to snuff!

Chrysalis Angel said...

Hello I'm stopping over from Cathy's Place to Blog. She put up a lovely post, as she was thinking of her friends -Empress Bee and yourself, while both of you are experiencing some serious medical situations. My heart goes out to you both. I do hope all will be well soon, and wish you all the best. Chrysalis