We just had an up close and personal experience with why you should see your doctor regularly, and why it would be good if we had some kind of aggregate database for our medical records.
My last post was about my great new doctor that my husband and I really like.
We like her even more now. Because she didn’t say ‘lets see how this goes’, she said, you should go have a cardiac stress test, here’s your referral to the cardiologist.
My husband is in his mid 50s, works a sedentary job, but otherwise has never had any particular health issues. Which is good, I have enough for both of us. His cholesterol has always been slightly elevated, but more at the ‘we should watch this’ level than at the ‘why aren’t you dead’ level. But his visit to our new primary care doc was only his third visit to a doctor in 5 years, and one of those was urgent care for strep. So ‘watch this’ wasn’t very helpful, because no one was watching. Including us.
Last year when he was overly winded pushing the trash can around our row of townhomes and up a fairly steep incline, we just thought ‘fat and sedentary, of course he’s out of shape.’ And when he had much less energy than he used to when we were moving, well, we’re all older, and still fat and sedentary, so what do you expect? Fortunately, when he started having just a little tingling and tightness in his chest when walking to work in the mornings, that was new and different and he was actually my impetuous to get right on finding a new primary care doctor as soon as the move was over.
It’s a very good thing I did.
The referral to a cardiologist resulted in my husband failing his very first test ever, his cardiac stress test. And then he failed his heart catheterization. And then we were referred to a surgeon. It all happened very fast and was very shocking. All the usual indications were missing. He didn’t have a bad diet, high blood pressure, super high cholesterol, diabetes… If he were the sort to blow off health issues, he might have been part of a very nasty statistic.
According to the wall at the cardiologists, there are 600,000 heart attacks in the US every year.
50% of all first heart attacks are fatal.
Definitely a group we have no interest in being part of.
I will say that every part of our medical support team did an amazing job, and everything moved very fast. He saw the primary care doc in mid-October. His quadrupal bypass surgery was the first week in November. Election day, to be precise.
The care he got was amazing. We are very fortunate to live near a top cardiac hospital, and to have excellent insurance and a supportive work environment. Our story has a very happy ending.
But it makes very clear to me that routine maintenance for our health is critically important. So, when was your last tune up?