Thursday, February 19, 2009

How to See a Happy Look on Your Cardiologist's Face

Improve your heart's performance!

Four or so years ago I had my second Stress Test in my life and it was average, my Ejection Fraction Rate (the % of blood pumped out of your left ventricle in one pump) was around 40% - at the bottom of the normal range. But, nothing was given or suggestions made to make it better.

A year and half later, I had some irregular heart activity, went thru the tests again and my EFR had dropped to 25%. I was seeing a new cardiologist and he took me off my old heart meds and changed me over to some new ones. The irregular activity was a lot of palpitations, thumping, skipped beats, etc, etc. These episodes would just wear me out. It had been found a number of years ago that I have a left bundle block, which is the electrical path taken to get the left ventricle to pump the blood into the body. The path is blocked and another way is found to send the message. It's not uncommon.

A year later, I had follow-up tests done and now my EFR was up to 30%. I was on a roll. With the encouragement from my cardiologist, not telling me what I shouldn't be doing but letting me find my own way, I set my goal to get my EFR up to 50% within a couple of years. I worked on it learning what I could, changing some of my ways (not all as I still was devouring my Walker's Shortbread Cookies). Lots of ups and downs along the way.

Well, on February 1 I started having some really serious episodes with the ole ticker. I went in an had an EKG to eliminate heart attack as all the symptoms were just like one. No heart attack. Two days later I had an echo cardiogram and learned something about my EFR. Anyway, the episodes just kept going and going. Nothing like I had had before. Even had another EKG to make sure as the symptoms were still there. I saw my cardiologist Monday (he now is in a city 2-1/2 hours away) and he wanted to do a heart catherization before he made any decisions.

I went to Hutchinson KS to have that done last Wednesday. Was very well taken care of by all the staff that I came in contact with at the Hutchinson Hospital. During the procedure to look for blockages (which is what I suspected he suspected without saying anything) and maybe some more problems in the heart, I watched his face and he just kept smiling and saying "oh my, oh my, this is really good Emily. There are no blockages and your heart is really doing good. Your EFR is up to 60%." I was subdued enough where I could let out a small yell, he was doing all the happy movements for me! Inside me I was so ecstatic. I had exceeded my goal and he was so happy that he had found a medicine therapy that worked for me. My daughter (who took me down) said that he was so happy when he was explaining what he found, to her. I am so happy I made him happy. Thank you Dr Janif.

I have been having visits with him every 6 months and he became interested in my traveling adventures and has, he said, followed me from time to time. He told me one time that my adventures, was my "medicine" and that what he prescribed for me got me started towards the improvements.

I go back to work on Monday. I am getting close to my required 1250 work hours that I need to take some personal time off in April. I am going to be spending a week with my brother out scouting around the Mojave Desert in California, some more time with my grade school chum Annie, who lives in the Palm Springs area. I hope to include some time around Death Valley. Remember the TV series "Death Valley Days"?

So now it's onward. More later on my plans, right now it's getting myself back on track living symbiotically with all of me. Until later.

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