Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Appointment with the Cardiologist


Remember that time that I was running, had crazy chest pains, and my heart rate jumped to 230?  Yeah, that was awesome.  I posted it on here and everyone told me “hey jerkface, go to the doctor or else we’re going to punch you in the kidney so you have a real reason to go“  Of course, I didn’t go at first. But then, they happened again – and actually happened a second time.  I think the straw that broke my back was when my wife continued to ask about my life insurance, started measuring me for a suit, and we started to get beach home catalogs in the mail.  Appointments were made and before I knew it I was at the Cardiologist.  Swell.

Honestly, there were a lot of reasons why I was hesitant to schedule the appointment.  Frankly, none of them were all that good:  I didn’t want to go through the hassle of all of the appointments and I knew that it would cost money better spent on beer.  But the real reason?  FEAR.  Honest to goodness fear.  I had lots of worst case scenarios running through my head.  In my mind the doctor would tell me things like:

  • “If you keep running you’ll die.”
  • “Actually scratch that, you’re going to die in 2 weeks.”
  • “Just kidding!!!  Do you want an oak or a walnut casket? Did your wife get the life insurance beach home brochures I sent?” 


The truth is that we all live our lives not knowing how long our fuse is.  Frankly, I like it that way. Call it 30 year old superman syndrome.  I thought that I was invincible and was scared to death that the doctor was going to tell me otherwise. I’m just fine not knowing that I’m going to pass while having sex in the year 2075.

But, I went.  On Monday I went to the cardiologist to get my heart checked out.  Unfortunately, the doctor had emergency surgery that morning was running two hours late. Lovely.  No bother though, I spent the morning watching the game show network with the other 80 year olds  in the waiting room.  I swear, I lowered the average age of the place by half.  Eventually I did get to see a nurse, they hooked me up to a 10 electrode EKG (I tried to take a picture, they wouldn’t let me), and I got to speak with a Cardiologist who was as rushed as you’d expect someone to be if they were running 2.5 hours late.

But, as rushed as he was, he still answered all of my questions and reassured me that I probably wasn’t going to drop dead during a hard tempo run.  Like I said before, everything essentially checked out fine with my EKG.  It showed that my heart was thickened.  Bad for someone w/ high blood pressure (heart is working too hard to squirt your 90 p.s.i. blood) but that is normal for an endurance athlete (your heart works hard to kick age group ass).  Even though that was all fine and good, he still wanted me to get a sonogram on my heart and wear a heart monitor for 30 days.  So, on Friday I was fitted with this little ditty:

Can’t see it? (That's what she said)
Tucked away in my pocket


Probably can see it better now (Also, That's what she said)


The good news is that I have a million little pad dealies that I can swap out every day and I CAN take the machine off during various activities.  (Showering, other “activities”, etc)  Any time I’m feeling heart palpitations I press a button on the machine, it records my bonkers heart, and then uploads automatically to the mother ship.  Conversely, it is always monitoring me so if it feels like I’m dying (literally), it’ll start recording and I’ll be contacted to make sure that I’m OK.  Of course, I’m not sure how much help a courtesy call will be if I’m flopping around on the ground.

The bad news is that now that I am all jacked into the Matrix, I’m not sure what is real.  Also, an oracle told me I was Jesus. Oh, and I know kung fu.  Actually, maybe the matrix isn’t all that bad.......

Of course, I’ll keep everyone posted on the results of any developments.  But until then, I’ll just be pretending I’m a robot and cracking Matrix jokes.  “Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth. There is no spoon.

33 comments:

P1t0 said...

"Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. "....

Hope this heart thing turns up to be nothing.

James said...

I wore a similar device a few years back because of some breathing problems. This was before I got back into running and I was severely out of shape. I only had to wear it for a day though. I hope they identify the cause and it's nothing important.

Losing Lindy said...

I am glad you are getting it checked out.

The Banter said...

The electrodes coming off of your chest remind me of Spderman's nemesis Dr. Octopus. Pretty soon, the recording device is going to send messages to the wires and you'll have a couple of new arms.

annieology said...

Simeones been doing their pushups.

Lisa said...

I had to go through all of that to find out htat I have heart arrythmia. At some point in my life I'll probably be on a pacemaker or die when my heart skips a beat some time and decides just to stop (nice, huh?). But until then, they told me to keep doing what I'm doing.

Kate said...

Your waiting room experience totally reminded me of my son. His surgeon specializes in breast cancer surgery, so every appointment we were surrounded by older women.

Mike said...

I totally get not going to the doctor to avoid bad news. I

I had a change in my ekg at my 45 year old check up last year and avoided mentioning to my doc I was doing a half iron man in a few weeks in case she might have said no :-). Had an echo-cardiogram which revealed thickened heart wall due to endurance sports (athletes heart) and was cleared to exercise at which time I told my doc about the race.

Your waiting room experience reminds me of when I go to the dermatologist to get my skin checked. They should set of a walk through cataract surgery and hearing aid both in these waiting rooms. They would make a fortune!

pensive pumpkin said...

i'm jealous yours is removeable for activities. also, i want lisa to be my running partner so we can fall down together and freak out passers by. lol

Nicole said...

Good for you getting past the fear and going! I hope that they figure out what is causing the anomoly and it is nothing serious.

Teamarcia said...

Darn it I had an EKG and a stress test but no monitor...I'm feeling a tad deprived. I showed the cardiologist who's boss on that mill though.

Brendan said...

Well, I was the healthiest person in Cardiac Rehab for a while. Three days before my 50th birthday, I went into cardiac arrest during a race. Fortunately, there were a cardiac nurse and a physician's assistant in the race, and they performed CPR until the EMT from the ambulance could get to me on an ATV (it was a trail race). So, yeah, I spent a few weeks going in for rehab twice or three times a week with a room full of men and women who were older and sicker than I was. And now I wear a monitor whenever I run, but fortunately, it's a commercial one and not one with all the leads and pads. Those are hard to run in.

XLMIC said...

Glad you overcame the fear and got your ass in there. And glad that nothing really looks threatening. And yeah, a courtesy call while you're kicking the bucket...ummm....hmmmm... not sure how helpful that would be!

Melissa said...

Hope everything turns out OK!

I had to wear one of those for a month a few years ago. What made it really fun was that I was going on a beach trip the 2nd day of my "sentence". Of course since we were meeting up with my family, my mother forced me to be compliant with the doctor's orders...so that resulted in not only some interesting looks from people on the beach (good thing I have thick skin!) and some even more interesting tan lines!

Lisa said...

Yep, I know how it is to put off doctor's appointments. So glad to hear you went. If only for your wife and son, it's better to know what's up.

And wow, it's amazing to read all these responses. It's so interesting to me how a lot of us have health issues but unless you know a person really intimately, you probably would have no idea. We just have to keep on living life to the fullest!

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

You wore it while shitting, right? Can you get that data?

Spike said...

Love what Rose said. Also, I think you should do a giveaway with your old 'little pad dealies.'

Also, a belated congrats on your new 5K PR. The Redhead says you are a better man than me now. Thanks for that.

gene @boutdrz said...

Ok, Neo....congrats on wearing the transmission device. Lemme know how that third arm works out for ya...now you'll be able to push H's strolled, wave, AND drink a beer, all at the same time.....
Glad you got checked out.

Jeff Irvin said...

Sounds like you have nothing to worry about but it is always better to be safe than sorry. Even if that means running around like the Terminator for the next 30 days!

Keep us posted!

Half-Crazed Runner said...

Totally get feeling young in the drs office -it's a weird feeling, kinda like placing first in a Master's Division. Good luck with the ticker, I'll say a prayer (or 2) for ya'.

Laura is Undeterrable said...

Somehow I feel that universe is telling me to finally make my appt to get my echocardiogram done on my dang heart. I might be deformed or something.

I hope all is well with your ticker and that you can continue with age group ass kicking!

Al's CL Reviews said...

Glad you went. Waiting for 2 hours...they should have hooked you up while waiting...I'm sure your HR was high.

Hope everything is found to be good.

Kathy said...

Next time come down here where you have the cardiologist's home phone and cell phone number and get same-day appointments and never wait more than 10 min for an apt.

I'm SO PROUD of you! way to show those stupid nerves! :)

C2Iowa said...

Good to see that you are getting it checked out - so you dont check out.

Nitmos said...

You will go to any lengths to get a topless photo of yourself on the internet, won't you?

Redhead Running said...

I'm so glad you went in and are getting everything checked out!!

Runners Fuel said...

My hubby had to wear something like that for a couple of weeks. Glad you're getting it checked out!

Barry said...

So you are now like the lady in the commercial?
"I've fallen.. And I cant get up!"

Weight Wars said...

After the situation with Fabrice Muamba at the weekend, the importance of getting weird heart stuff checked is really important. Well done for going :)

Kimi said...

Best wishes for a boring outcome! We don't want any excitement with your heart!

Jill said...

Happy to hear no casket ordering is happening this week!! :)

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Anonymous said...

Hi. I came across this blog while googling "cardiologist who is a runner." What you have sounds like it could be atrial fibrillation. Your symptoms are almost exactly like mine were: heart palpitations and pounding that come and go, once that happened on a run when my HR spiked to 226 (I thought max was 220-age!?). I too went to a cardiologist (about a year ago) and got a clean bill of health. Last weekend I ran a marathon and 2 days later the palpitations started and did not stop (and still have not, although reduced with meds). I eventually went to see my doctor who was able to diagnose me because I was in the midst of an attack (otherwise it is impossible to diagnose - I've had plenty of normal EKGs over the years). You should know there is a growing (yet unproven) consensus that young, healthy endurance athletes are prone to it (the general theory is the muscle gets too strong and disrupts the rhythym). Also, it is progressive: if you notice the attacks getting longer or more frequent, that's a sign you have it. It is not life threatening (the problem is not the heart but the electric rhythym), but it can cause clots if an attack persists over time, which can be life threatening. Also, alcohol (defnitely) and caffeine (maybe) are triggers. I don't want to be a downer - I really hope you can keep running. I just wish I had known so that I had dealt with it sooner, avoided alcohol, etc. (there's a chance mine reverts back, but probably have to go through some crazy things that may or may not work). Anyway, talk to your cardio about it! I think I saw you're running NYC - I was supposed to be out there too, but will still be on the sidewalk cheering for you.