Quiet Alarms

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All my life I had been extremely healthy. The only medications I took were Ibuprophin for muscle and headache pain and Axid for acid reflux.

Suddenly I noticed that my feet and ankles were beginning to swell for no apparent reason. My clothes began getting tight. I made an appointment with my doctor, who specializes in patients aged fifty-five and older. He is a part of a group of doctors at one of the local hospitals.

When I arrived at his office, the nurse took my blood pressure and made other notes as usual. A few minutes later, the doctor came into the room and seemed alarmed because my blood pressure was very high and my weight had increased by thirty pounds since my last visit. I told him I had not felt bad or changed my eating habits and that the weight increase had happened in the past couple of weeks.

Immediately the nurse performed an EKG and continued to monitor my blood pressure. She also did a blood sugar count and my sugar level was extremely high. When the doctor returned, he was quite alarmed at the EKG and blood sugar count. He told the nurse to give me a shot of Lasix, half of the amount in each hip. He then contacted a cardiologist who has an office in the same building and set up an appointment for me for the following day. I was given a prescription for blood pressure medication and diabetic medication and was told to start them immediately.

As a result of the shot of Lasix, I lost over thirty pounds of fluid in about two weeks.

The next morning, the cardiologist came in to see me after his nurse took my blood pressure and sat down and began to ask me what seemed like a thousand questions and wrote continuous notes on my responses. He said he did not want to miss anything. He took another EKG in his office and made an appointment for me to have a Nuclear Stress Test the following day. He had me come back to his office in two days. I did not know it at the time, but later discovered he read all the Nuclear Stress Tests himself.

A Nuclear Stress Test is when you go to a laboratory and they inject medication intravenously. Then you lay on a table with your arms above your head and this huge machine revolves around your chest area while taking pictures of your heart.

When I returned to the Cardiologists office on Friday, he told me the results of the stress test and said my heart was only pumping 20 percent on the left side, and that I had a blockage in my artery to my heart. He told me I needed angioplasty immediately. When I asked how soon was immediately, he said no later than Monday morning.

I made arrangements with my boss to be away from work, and my daughter and granddaughter went to the hospital with me. When I went to check in, they asked me to sign a document allowing for a stent to be inserted if necessary while I was under anesthesia. This would prevent another trip to the hospital and an additional incision. I signed the paper and several hours later, when I woke up, I was informed that a stent was necessary and that everything should be okay in time.

After almost three years and the care of two wonderful doctors, my blood pressure is under control and my heart is beating stronger and almost up to normal speed.

I continue to have high blood pressure from time to time because I lived and work in stressful situations. In fact, my regular doctor gave me a mild anti-depressant to take daily. The blood sugar is the most difficult thing to completely control.

I am having to learn to change many of my ways of life.

I am extremely watchful of the hypertension because my family has a history of strokes. Both my mother and father’s parents had high blood pressure. My grandfather died of a coronary thrombosis, my father died of a massive brain hemorrhage, and my mother has suffered two strokes.

I never thought much about hypertension or high blood pressure prior to my experience. I always knew how it could affect you, but I was one of those people who thought it would never happen to me. I had always been too healthy. Boy was I wrong; it almost killed me.

This kind of experience can really put a new perspective on your life. I am in my 60s, but don’t think this is a problem only older people have. It can happen to anyone at any age. I have friends who can attest to that fact.


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