Flirting with control

I have no idea what this blog post will say. I’m only writing it because I came home from work, took my blood pressure, swallowed my medication and made a cup of coffee… and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do this evening. But I knew I wanted to write. So here I am.

I titled it “flirting with control,” because I’m looking at my house and my list of phone calls I need to make (check with physical therapist, reschedule Ob/Gyn, schedule annual service and car inspection, see if I can get a rental car from the insurance company of the person who hit my car in February.) Thinking of the chores I need to do. And everything I want to achieve for the business…

And I realize, everyday I am merely flirting with the idea of having control of my own life.

My blood pressure was 115/73, which is excellently consistent. I have to say I had a few times today where I felt off– so I used the EKG function on my Apple Watch and hit the heart rate button periodically. It’s been two weeks since I had my last “high heart rate scare” and today I saw my heart rate jump from 90 (which was already on the high side for standing at my table at work) to 165 in one movement. Not gradual, just BAM, and back again. It did this at least twice. But the watch registered a 176 also around this time that I didn’t notice.

To be on the safe side, I took the voluntary time off offered for tomorrow.

I don’t feel bad. In fact, I feel 90-95% of myself. But I get tired easily, and I often get a weird sensation that I describe as lightheaded, but it’s more like my body internally swaying. And my ears have been ringing for months and my headaches are getting more frequent.

After hearing about my unfortunate experience at the cardiologist, I have been collecting opinions from people. Some requested, some not.

And among the solicited type of advice came this gem: “You might want to get a second opinion from a FEMALE cardiologist. Its known, researched, and documented that female patients have a greater chance of being untreated for cardiac concerns. Just consider.” That person even recommended a doctor, though by the time I got the name, I had already booked a doctor from my own research.

I don’t know if the average person realizes this, but with the modern computerized booking systems, most hospital networks will allow you to schedule appointments online, even with specialists you haven’t seen, because most physicians have an open scheduling block even if it is only a few appointments once a month.

So I researched female cardiologists affiliated with the hospital with which I routinely deal. I scanned their reviews and quickly discovered that the hospital has a women’s heart center and encourages, at least according to the web site, any woman with concerned to schedule an appointment.

And that’s what I did. I won’t see her until August, but by then all the other specialists will have run their tests and hopefully we will have more answers. And regardless, I want to sit with someone and review what has happened to me, what’s normal, what’s not and what of that is concerning. My current cardiologist doesn’t want to see me again for six months, and his schedule hasn’t been released that far out, so I may not even go back.

I told all of this to someone at work, and he reminded me of something he has said to me in the past. The Lehigh Valley sometimes lacks medical talent. And then he added, “and I suppose I can tell you that I always seek out female physicians.” And proceeded to explain that women have a different attention toward symptoms and how they fit together.

In the meantime, I also have a list of other professionals I want to see as I hash out my own plan for how to care for myself. I know I already mentioned a hospital-affiliated dietician, but I also want to talk to the clinical pharmacist at my doctor’s office because I don’t think I should be or need to be on some of these medications together.

Oh and I got a survey for the smug little doctor man. I gave him a 5/10. I wish I would have recorded my comments which went something like this: “I didn’t ask questions because I couldn’t put my finger on it but he seemed dismissive. I went home and read his notes and realized he had come to conclusions about my symptoms that he did not discuss with me and were based on assumptions made because of my congenital disability which contradicted the concerns of my entire care team. That was a shame as he was a charming man and his office is close to my home.”

Final days of medical leave…

The reduced dosage of my beta blocker has put more pep in my step and so far improved my symptoms of feeling quasi-lightheaded. And I can get out of bed without sleeping 10 hours a night!

Yesterday was a magnificent day. The Teenager and I went to her grandmother’s for an impromptu early Easter dinner and pie baking lesson. Grammy’s crust is 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup shortening and 1/4 cup water.

We brought the dog and invited Southern Candy to have dinner with us, since she had texted that she missed me and I had produce scraps for the guinea pigs.

Southern Candy told me she had regrets about accepting the invitation because she doesn’t “know these people” but I assured her it would be no problems, she’d have fun and there would be pie. Prune custard to be exact.

And Southern Candy told me she doesn’t like custard. I told her she should try it, and if she didn’t like it, she could slip it onto my plate.

Southern Candy loved Grammy’s decorating style, her cooking and our free-flowing conversation. And then she was the first person at the table to reply when Grammy asked how the pie turned out.

“I’ll tell you,” Southern Candy said. “I don’t even like custard but this pie is delicious!”

Grammy’s pie does that to people.

Grammy tried to make me memorize the custard recipe: 4 eggs, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 regular can milk, and corn starch. I forgot the exact measurement.

Meanwhile today I deep-cleaned my room. I only got it 75% done, but it gave me a chance to do sustained work before returning to the warehouse Monday. Perhaps in the future I will do a blog entry on family books. I have my travel diary, my great-grandmother’s little brother’s copy of Walden, my great-grandmother’s Aunt Tilly’s scrapbook and family notes, my great-grandmother’s journal from when she was 20, some old prayer books and hymnals, and my grandfather’s scrapbook of his time on the Queen Mary during World War II, which has Bob Hope’s autograph in it.

And I got the results of my Zio patch — but the cardiologist has not reviewed them yet.