July 15th, 2012

Eye of the Dragon

I'm still here!!

Savannah beach! It's been a full month since I posted ... or, I'm afraid, cracked open my Friends List. I'm not sure how it happened -- I simply forgot!

At this stage, I must apologize: I'm not going to try to catch up on the backlog on my Friends List, and so that means I'm probably going to have missed Important Stuff.

My last post was a bad one to suddenly vanish on, too: "Oh, hey, emergency room, hospital, chest pains, SILENCE".

For the record, I've just been busy and distracted. The "clean bill of health" is, more accurately, "nothing immediately life-threatening -- see your doctor", which I have done.

At the moment, there's no solid diagnosis as to why I've had these "flipping" sensations in my chest for two months. They've ebbed and flowed, but at their worst, a month ago ... well, let's just say I don't plan to see Prometheus in the theaters.

My regular physician is arranging a referral to a cardiologist, but because all this happened literally days after switching from a PPO to an HMO program (all under the same provider), that hasn't happened yet. My new card finally arrived on Friday, though, so on Monday I can make things happen.

Right now, the likely culprits include Premature Ventricular Contractions [PVCs] and esophageal spasms, possibly related to my chronic, lifetime reflux issues -- I have a family history with both.

(I also have had symptoms that are clearly digestive; on the other claw, whilst hooked up to a heart monitor in my line of site after a thallium treadmill exam, I got hit with a couple of "flips" -- and I saw them on the monitor.)

I am trying very hard not to self-diagnose, but it's a difficult thing; I have the kind of mind that isn't happy until it's constructed a narrative. I want to make sure the cardiologist has all the relevant data when I go to see him; unfortunately, that means my brain is trying to filter just what data is relevant, and that turns into subconscious judgment calls whether I want to make them or not.

(As a minor grumble ... there's more than just one set of symptoms going on, but every medical professional I've talked to has tended to latch onto the very first set I describe, without letting me finish my litany of hypochondria the rest. This happens no matter what order I list them: it's always the first thing. "Okay, what can we do about this?")

... that said, at the moment, it looks like all this can be managed or even resolved with just a few tweaks of diet, a bit more exercise (but not too much more), and maybe some nutritional supplements.

Oh, and losing a goodly bit of weight, if for no other reason than to avoid the knee-jerk diagnosis of "he's middle-aged fat guy, I can stop thinking now".

So don't panic. There are probably a few more decades in this old dragon after all.