“My Health Care Odyssey”
My own situation can be seen as a case study in how well
the health care system works and to what extent proactive steps in
staying healthy can reduce or prevent problems from arising or becoming
unmanageable. Back in May of this year, I was identified as having an abnormally
slow heartbeat (also called bradychardia). In the process, it was also
discovered that my right ventricle does not receive an electrical
impulse from the natural pacemaker on the right side of the heart.
Rather, the right side receives its impulse from the left, a condition
called a Right Branch Bundle Block (RBBB). Once I became aware of this
condition, incidences of light-headedness and heart palpitations became
more frequent, so my cardiologist scheduled a nuclear stress test, where
radioactive dye is injected into the bloodstream to show heart
functioning under physical stress such as exercise on a treadmill.
The treadmill section was like a good but short workout. Every several minutes, the nurse would raise the level and speed of the treadmill. I stayed with the pace without complaint or issue. She let me know where my heart rate was as we proceeded. First I was up to 90 b.p.m., then to 120. At the final stage, I reached 145, the target rate, with no problems. She slowed it all down as I cooled off, but I had not even broken a sweat at that point.
After the second CT scans were done, I chatted with the nurse about the health care debate now underway. The nurse said "I hope the government doesn't get involved." I said, "yea, I have great insurance through my school system, but there are so many people that aren't so lucky." I left it there since I did not want to get into a major debate right there in the cardiology center. But I was surprised those on the front lines weren't more sympathetic to the need for reform of the health care system.
I'll post what I can about what the cardiologist reports when I get the call. The next step involves getting a colonoscopy before school starts in late August. This procedure will be even more challenging and invasive. I will be sure to skip all the details, but it will be interesting to see how well the health care system moves me through the process in its current state.
P.S.: My apologies to those readers who are thinking "too much information, George." Nevertheless, there are many people who can benefit from my experience, so I'll continue to share my health care odyssey, but I'll be sure to do so in a tasteful and appropriate manner.
P.P.S.: To those who care about my health and are
advocating abstinence from caffeine from this point forward:
I weight the risks of coffee consumption with the health benefits. Please check out this article before you shake your head ruefully and call me an addict.
Until next time,