08 January 2008

Hearty news

Today was my first visit to the cardiologist since my heart bypass operation. The general perception was that once he pronounced me fit, I would return to my normal life.

Now it is confession time - I decided to start driving again 10 days ago and I started work on Moday, as I felt I was up to it. So when I strode into the cardiologists office this afternoon, my laptop and camera were slung over my shoulder, (I did not want to leave them in my bakkie [truck, van, ute] - too much temptation for the local criminal element) I was very obviously no longer an invalid.

My cardiologist and I are both men of few words - so I knew I had to ask the right questions when needed as I would be getting the bare bones. While in hospital I observed his bedside manner on more than one occassion. If he said, "I am happy," you could rest assured you were ok. If the pronouncement was "I am not happy," there was cause for concern, but he invariably seemed to have a solution.

Shortly after I arrived a nurse connected me to an ECG machine and several printouts were taken of my heart rhythm - they looked fine to me, but then I am not an expert. My blood pressure I was told was good at 130 over 70.

I then had to wait a while to see the cardiologist.

When I was ushered into his room he asked me how I was feeling and I told him, "Great".

He then confirmed my medication and a short discussion followed on my changed lifestyle and diet, to which he expressed his approval and said that it would be good, especially if I could sustain it (he has obviously heard that one before).

I told him it was a nasty operation and as I had no intention of going back for seconds, I would never revert back to my bad eating habits.

He nodded and then started scrutinising the printout.

"So, is it good I asked?".

"Mmmm," was the reply. That could mean anything I thought.

He then looked at the pictures taken of my heart, when he did the angiogram. "It was quite a mess," he said, pointing to the blocked arteries. "I don't know how the blood got through". Then, "Ok, take your shirt off so I can listen to your heart and lungs".

I dutifully obeyed.

He did his thing and pronouced his satisfaction in monosyllables. I was encouraged.

I put my shirt back on and his prognosis was, "I am happy".

"That's good," I replied with relief. I now knew I was on the right path.

"Come and see me in a year's time and I will put you on the treadmill and if you are ok then, we can extend the visits to every two years".


He then asked who my GP was and I told him. He then told me to have a cholesterol test in about three months time, after my pills have had the opportunity to reduce my cholesterol levels. I was to send the results to him.

"I was told my cholesterol was not measured when I was in hospital," I started to say.....

"I am sure it was," came back the reply and he started flipping through a rather thick file of medical reports (R191,000's worth). "Here it is," he said triumphantly, "I'll make you a copy".

As it turned out my LDL cholesterol (the bad one) was high at 4.0 and needs to come down to below 2.5. Boy oh boy, that is incentive enough for me to take my pills and stick to my new eating habits.

With that it was over and as he said, "I am happy," so am I happy.

Next hurdle - the cholesterol test in three months time.


Jenty said...

I'm very glad that's he's happy with your progress! Well done with the lifestyle change.

Oswegan said...

That's good news, though you should continue to walk when you can.


dot said...

Glad you had a good checkup.

Anna said...

Max-e I am glad that you are doing well - I am happy too for you. Just keep up the good work, and take care of yourself and you will see even your cholesterol will go down. Just do what's right, don't get stressed, take care, Anna :)

Neva said...

I am so glad you are doing so well!!! That LDL is interesting but I swear by my oatmeal everyday! Eating it seems to have helped my LDL...all other blood work for me was good but that was a tich high....now I am under 2.5 Whew...Keep up the good work!

MedaM said...

I am so glad you are doing well and now, many things depend on you, Max-e; whether you will be enough disciplined and take care of yourself properly. I am sure you will. :-)

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Great to hear. Now you can hit the back country for some nature photos.

Kerri said...

FANTASTIC NEWS!! You have done well with you new habits...and have made us all happy!!

Keep up the good work!!

PS - Thank you for your kind comments on my blog!

Max-e said...

Hi everyone thanks for the comments, I must say it is great to have a positive response from the doctor.

Anna I am going to keep the stress down and smell the roses more often.

Neva, started on the oats this morning. Aside from the fact that I may soon be neighing, I am sure the bad cholesteral level will drop.

Medam discipilne has always been a problem for me when it comes to food. Hopefully I now have enough of an incentive to keep on the right track. So far so good.

Lynette said...

I am happy, too, for you, your family, the doctor, and us.

Your ABC Wednesday yellow photos are just perfect!

I have just talked with Mama on her cell phone--I'm home still, doing laundry, allowing Duncan plenty of time outside his kennel and some well-deserved attention, tending to her get-well bouquet from a neighbor, etc.--she said she had an OK night, ate a bit more breakfast, and has not seemed as dizzy when she's sitting up, but she said she still falls asleep as soon as she lying down. She said that if I visited anyone’s blog, to say thank you for your well wishes for her, for all of us.