Tuesday, November 29, 2011

He's Been Stamped

We drove into the Salt Lake City area yesterday so Chris could get a good night's sleep tonight and be well-rested, comfortable, and relaxed during his cardiac appointment and stress test today.   It didn't quite work out that way.  At.  All.

We had a nice, healthy lunch (Chris' first time at a Whole Foods store!) and proceeded to the appointment.  We wanted to be a bit early so we had plenty of time to find the place.  It was about a quarter after one when we got to the cardiac lab for our 2:00 appointment.  I asked the sweet gal behind the counter (pause for quick public service announcement)
Note to sweet girl @ cardiac lab:  Your white t-shirt is VERY TIGHT.  This might be dangerous to some of your customers who are HEART PATIENTS.  Thank you.
(and we're back) took our name and gave us the clipboard.  {You know, the clipboard full of forms that we've filled out for the 8,273 other doctors we've seen.}   Then she says "Great, you'll be seeing Dr. Mitchell".   And I ask if that's before or after the stress test that we're here for.   "Oh, no, you're not on the stress test list."

Okay, so this is where we get a little unnerved.  We will have driven 700 miles, slept in a hotel, spent $100 in gas and about that much in food just to get here and NOT have the stress test?  Argh!  We'll have to come back again for that?  Argh! 

I did some quick thinking -- and since we had 40 minutes until our appointment time -- I filled out the form and left Chris in the waiting area while I scooted downstairs to the kidney lab folks we met with 2 weeks ago.   I explained to Jessica at the front desk that we had come all this way, were scheduled for a stress test, and that the cardio people said we aren't on the list.  Can we get on it?   For today?   Please?!

Jessica called Doug & Heidi (the coordinators) but just got their voice mails.  I was anxious to get back to Chris so I gave Jessica Chris' cell number and went back up to cardio.  I hoofed it back upstairs and told Chris that I gave her his number and that we should keep an eye on his phone.   Oh, look, there's a message on it already.   The hospital is "Emergency Use Only", so I hoofed all the way out to the front entrance to listen to his messages.   Heidi did call back, but said we don't need a stress test (scream!) and that she knows the call might not go through so she'll call cardio and talk to Chris directly.  

Out of breath and ready to scream, I get back to Chris and he had just spoken to Heidi and returned to his seat.   She apologized for our misunderstanding (OUR?!).

So we did see the doctor (after his nurse and NP, oh, and after another HOUR of waiting as he was 60 minutes behind schedule).   Results:
  • He recommends Chris take an ACE-inhibitor again, so long as the kidney doctor is OK with it.   These do have some kidney side-effects, but it would be good for his heart valve situation.
  • He explained that the options for replacing Chris' heart valve include a mechanical replacement or a bioprosthesis from pig tissue.  The pig ones don't last very long, so typically for young men (Chris) they'd do the mechanical.  But the mechanical option also comes with having to take blood thinners which would make him ineligible for the kidney transplant.   So if/when the valve needs to be replaced the natural tissue would be better, even though it too would need to be replaced in Chris' lifetime.
  • Chris doesn't need a stress test.   He gave his stamp-of-approval without it.

Deep breath.   Relaxation exercises.   Happy to have the stamp.   Wondering why the trip was necessary, though, since our cardiologist OK'd the surgery.   *Shrug*  Things would have been SO MUCH BETTER if we hadn't gotten there early enough to worry about it!  I just thought I was being pro-active and trying to make sure we got what we thought we needed.

Chris phoned Heidi before we left town just to make sure she had everything she needs.   She said she did, and that they'll be making their decision during their meeting on the 8th and she'll let us know.   He said he'd be having surgery that day, so please leave a message.

No comments: