The Tilt Test Has Been Scheduled

English: Kirnu, a steel roller coaster in Linn...

 

I’m not ashamed, ever, to say how I feel. Obviously you all know that by now. I’m honest, sometimes too honest but writing gets my feelings out, the good, the bad and the ugly. The anxiety, the fear, the fibromyalgia symptoms and most lovingly, the food.

 

Because I had another collapse/fainting/black out episode/severely bruised my leg and had a huge bump on my head… I now have to have a series of tests. I keep telling all these stupid doctors that I am sure it is due to my low blood pressure. 85/60 wouldn’t you consider that as a cause?

I have salted my food, adding pretzels and potato chips and nothing seems to help. Doctors bug everyone about high blood pressure but as my internist always said, “Yeah, I have low blood pressure too, just sit up slowly and salt your food.” After twelve years do you think that’s been working? Apparently not. You were only interested in this now because I told you my rheumatologist had suggested an idea and would run it by my nephrologist. All of a sudden you wanted to get involved? Like you forgot I asked about this for the last twelve years??!!

Nothing like a little medical competition.

But still, they have to rule out everything else first. Gotta love the medical industry, schedule those tests, pay the bills, I’ll see you for seven minutes, kick you out at eight. Insurance number? Same address? Medications? The same, doesn’t matter, fill it out again, we know you were here yesterday. Rules are rules.

English: Blood pressure measurement.

As one of my favorite doctors, my nephrologist, put it you must have: “The Vomit Test.” Thanks Doc, not the right time to be friendly and casual even though I’m sure your intentions were honorable. I can’t even say the name of the test without feeling like I am going to throw-up. I am dreading this, although I admit, the nurse who is monitoring the test has probably seen it all. Actually, not really, I am dreading it more than anyone or anything.

I HATE the feeling of being nauseous, dizzy, off-balance, I have always called this test “The Dreaded Tilt Test” and so here we are. My cardiologist talked me into it and since his father (coincidentally) was my pediatrician growing up and because I like this dude I said I would do it. But NOT HAPPILY. (I can still cancel and I am considering this.)

I’m the nerd who has to take Dramamine for a long car ride or any ride in a boat. Those big cruise ship lines where they say you don’t feel a thing? Been there, done that and definitely needed a drug for anti-nausea. I HATE ROLLER COASTERS. Went on a baby roller coaster once and screamed my head off, never to be seen on a roller coaster again.

If I’m feeling nauseous just thinking about the test I can only imagine what the test itself is like when they swing me around from start to finish, in rapid movements, in different positions. They said it only lasts about thirty minutes. For me, this is thirty minutes in absolute hell. If I see this contraption and it is anything like the Disney tilt chairs or like a small roller coaster, I am out of there. Cancelling has never looked better. Help!

“The vomit test?” Really?

 

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And Now I Shake

ECG complex.

ECG complex. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the last six weeks I’ve felt light-headed; I’ve often brought this up to my internist and she has always said that it’s my low blood pressure ( 80/60.) “Salt your food” she murmurs, “stand up slowly from a seated position.” Then she adds: “That happens to me too!!” (Now I’m SURE we can be best friends because we have so much in common.) My husband insists that it has been happening more often and he has nagged me to see my doctor for a few weeks now, I’ve refused.

Yesterday I had an annual physical with my gynecologist who I like but totally FORGOT that she’s a worry wart like I used to be. Notice the PAST tense. I casually asked her if she thought I needed to see my internist about this small issue. She said “yes” and “that it might be a problem with my heart “valve.” The only “v” word I expected to hear from her was “vagina”( if there are any guys reading now is your opportunity to run) valve did not make me happy. I finally confessed to my husband, tried not to look at his smug face and called to set up an appointment.

I described feeling light-headed, having to bend my head down to prevent fainting, feeling very warm, getting a massive headache but never passing out. I could reach a chair or a bed and sit down and I’d be fine in a few minutes. It never happened when driving and obviously if I felt weak, I wouldn’t go out. It did happen going up or down stairs but I always held on to the banister. It was NOT, in my estimation, dangerous.

Now that I had conceded, a nurse gave me an EKG which was perfect with the oddest exception. My whole body started shaking. Once or twice lately I have noticed that my body starts shaking uncontrollably and I can’t stop it. I have asked my husband if he could see it and he has always said “no.” I think it’s one of those “guy” things. The nurse noticed it right away, I’m sure a best friend could as well.

So now, I could add “shaking” to my long list of maladies. Along with Fibromyalgia, almost passing out, Thyroid disease, Auto-Immune disease of the thyroid,  impaired hearing, I shook. I felt like one of those bobble heads except it wasn’t just my head that bobbled, it was my body wobbling. A nurse took five or six vials of blood and then the doctor told me (wait for it…) I had to go to the cardiologist for an echocardiogram and even worse, a stress test. No, No, No! Ugh, this is sweat and embarrassment  in front of others and I hate that kind of stuff. I gave my husband the evil eye, actually two evil eyes. They scheduled me in six weeks, obviously not a crisis situation to them (Thanks, honey!)

My doctor used this new phrase at least five times during my seven minute visit: “due diligence. In my language that means ” I’m running these tests to cover my ass.” For someone who used to get anxious for days, even weeks, I only got anxious for about five minutes which for me is zen-like (and that’s when they  told me I had to see the darn cardiologist.)

As soon as we got home,  I made myself my old standard comfort food, an American cheese sandwich on soft bread with butter, some salt-ridden baked sour cream and onion Lays potato chips( for medicinal reasons only) and a cold Yoo-Hoo to drink. For dessert, nothing speaks comfort more than a dish of really rich vanilla ice cream, softly melting in a red ceramic dish. No drugs of any kind were necessary. No jelly on pizza, I required nothing else. Damn, I was proud. But, I still have to do those stupid tests unless, as my sister suggested, I cancel?! What do YOU think?

Woman in Café with Yoo-Hoo and Cigarette, afte...

Woman in Café with Yoo-Hoo and Cigarette, after William Glackens (Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)