Friday, December 5, 2008

And the wait continues

Did you hear that four-letter word that the young weather gal uttered on the television this morning? Snow? She confirmed what last night’s weather guy said about Sunday. There’s a possibility of some snow coming into our area, possibly as much as two to four inches depending on where you are. It will be cooler getting into Sunday, but we should be getting a plethora of sunshine until at least late tomorrow.

Today is Friday and my wait for a decision continues for at least another two weeks when I’ll have more tests. You may recall my cardiologist has said I’m probably a candidate for an ICD, Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator. I met with another doctor yesterday, the one who would actually make the implant if it becomes a go.

He reviewed all my tests of the past several years, especially the ones over the last month and a half. He said I was in a “gray” area of need, a place where Medicare requires more definitive tests before they’ll approve the device. The doctor suggested we go the longer route to be sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed but, he said, based on what he now knows, he’s leaning toward recommending the device.

So, in two weeks, I’ll be heading to the hospital for the first in what could be a series of tests. I will have my heart examined inside, both for its mechanical and electrical functions, by my cardiologist looking at it through a catheter connected to a device that reads what’s happening. I had this same procedure back in 2002 following my heart attack. That one led to a quadruple by-pass.

I’ll be growing in anxiety as the day approaches. I always get anxious when I’m facing these things, even though the one I had then, with this same cardiologist, was totally painless, except for the little incision they make to insert the catheter. In fact, since I was awake through it all, I could have watched the whole procedure on a monitor beside my table. Unfortunately, there was a technician standing between me and the monitor so I only caught quick glimpses. Fascinating.

The results of that test will determine if I’m definitely heading for a device or, perhaps something else. That ‘something else’ could be more tests, including a nuclear stress test, or a test where a machine like a CAT scan machine will take a look, or both. Or, of course, there’s always the possibility that nothing else will happen and I won’t get the device or they’ll find something and admit me right away for some procedure. That’s two weeks away.

I did learn a little bit more about the device yesterday. It’s a defibrillator with a pace maker included. It basically watches my heart beat and changes it as needed. If my heart should stop, I won’t have to wait for an EMT or someone to arrive who can use the paddles as this device will do that as soon as it’s needed, possibly saving my life.

We’ll have Part III of this little episode later this month. Now, let’s get ready for an interesting weekend ahead which possibly includes a little snow.


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