Thursday, May 22, 2008

Excuse me you're having a heart attack

I went for the gym this morning as usual half-cocked. There were two mortgage bankers I had to talk before. Then I was trying to clean the flat up before my family friends showed up. The light fitting in the bathroom had a meltdown. And I ran out of the house without having my breakfast.

Did five minutes in the gym - and my trainer noticed my lower lips turning pale. So he sent me home and told me to go see a doctor.

I did have a bout of flu and my stomach wasn't feeling top notched either. I think I caught something over the weekend. But its most likely due to my poor diet and sleep. Apart from some fatigue I felt ok.

I went over to my old doctor - a senior physician - and expected to get the usual blah - go get some rest- take two panadols, call me in the morning and btw take some antibiotics for your stomach. However, he found my heart rate a little too high - and got me to go take a ECG for my heart. Cost $35.

The results according to the tech was ok - normal. But the doctor freaked out. There was a dip in the rate and he interpreted that as bad news ... very bad news... so f@#king bad that he told me to cancel my Maldives diving trip.

"See that glitch, you've got a serious problem mate. But first pay me my bill of $50 before you die... I mean leave."

Waaaaaaaaaa??? What did you just say???

"Apparently, according to the test results - there's a fucking abnormality in your heart, buddy boy. So no more scuba diving for you. I have some experience in this field and I know."

WTF?? Oh no. No more Maldives diving trip. And I didn't even sign for the insurance yet.

He referred me to a cardio specialist at Mt. E. Apparently Mr LKY also sees this cardio too. 

When I got there, I was half expecting him to confirm the old doctor's confirmation. And to eyeball me and say I've got 6 months to live or something. For some strange reason I approached the  news of my imminent death with a vague sense of relief. Great, I'm going to be free of my problems and I'm going to get to see God. Boy, I'm gonna tell him off for slacking off his job. And so I bid my time at the cardio's waiting room, rehearsing what I was going to say to the Almighty. But damn was I disappointed I was going to miss this diving trip to the Maldives!

The cardio's staff seemed amused by my presence for some reason. I went through the barrage of tests, ECG again, treadmill exercise and the ultrasound.

I gotta tell you seeing your heart on the ultrasound monitor is quite scary initially. Hearing its beat on the speakers blows your mind away. Its freaky. There it is. Your heart. On TV. There's a little thing thats flapping about. Oh, that's your valve. What happens me I stop breathing? Can I make it stop??? Will it get self-conscious and get camera-shy???

Anyways, the good news is that I'm ok. The so-called glitch was just a normal variation - perhaps caused by a very slight backflow - which is common. According to the tests, I'm top notch in fact. Well, maybe a bit over-weight. But nothing that some extra running and good dieting won't cure.  The bad news is the tests and consultation cost me another $680.

Now excuse me whilst I go and kick the arse of a senile doctor.


Jeremy N said...

Dude, should have had the ECG/Ultrasound done here - I'd have bulk billed you for the lot, courtesy of Prime Minister KRudd..... got any other pics of your heart? Your left ventricle doesn't look terribly abnormal from that pic.

Yauming YMC said...

Ah well. It was sort of an emergency - I didn't expect to get the ECG done at all really. I'll try and bring back the receipt and see whether I can claim any of that off Medicare or Medibank. BTW, that ultrasound photo of the heart is not mine; its stock footage. I only have a VHS copy.

Jeremy N said...

Oh good... so you're not expecting twins then.......

Jeremy N said...

Might need to jump through a few hoops with medicare if you want to claim - for an echocardiograph, they need to receipt to mention the referring and reporting doctor, both of whom need to be registered with medicare (provider numbers). Might be better off claiming on travel insurance.

Andrew Hall said...

Good to see you're still going to live. I told you Pizza every nigh was a bad idea before you left - even if it is at the infamous "Peppercörn". I'd still double your life insurance though if you get back and eat a staple diet of Pizza.

Yauming YMC said...

I've taken a fondness for oat porridge - no sugar, just boiled water. Yummy!! I'm actually going to bring along a small packet for the Maldives trip.

Althea Wong said...

wah that kind of misdiagnosis is really scary! gosh, me thinks the doc should go back for some revision lectures on how to read an ECG!

Andrew Hall said...

yep- its the only type of porridge... made from oats, none of this rice congee stuff.

Jeremy N said...

Hear hear! Real porridge looks like horse-food in its raw state and goes with honey and fruit... not soy sauce, pepper and meat from any carbon-based animal life from available.

BTW did your doc say there was a dip in the HEART RATE or or ST-interval (ST depression)?

Yauming YMC said...

ST@10mm/mV 60ms post J - Probable normal early repol pattern... thats all. Thats just a slight dip before the actual spike.

Andrew Hall said...


I hear you... sounds like we need to do a real breakfast one day... a barn full of chicken eggs, enough bacon to upset the animal liberation front, sausages made from the finest road kill, freash toast, a bit of cheese with some fried tomato and a selection of spagetti or beans. Those who want their congee, enjoy your soggy cardboard taste!