Posts about medicine

The Afib Chronicle

Since I’m boring you with my afib chronicles, I should give you an update: I’m still in fibrillation but feeling much better thanks to being on a beta blocker, Toprol, which slows my heart rate and makes stairs once again no big deal.

I fired my cardiologist at the start of this episode. I’d had a great doctor — let’s call him Doc A — who, sadly, left practice to take a corporate job — some of the greatest talents in medicine can’t take the hassle, tragically — and ended up with this doctor — let’s call him Doc B — whom I didn’t much like. He wouldn’t consult directly with me; I think he should have zapped me immediately but by waiting past a magical 48 hour mark I had to endure an expensive and failed procedure and now I’m stuck in afib and on various unfortunate drugs for a month with a greater risk of clots and strokes; he took me off Toprol though Doc A had said I should take it as needed and he did so without explanation; when I tried to get a second opinion, he came and confronted me, which didn’t do wonders for my heart rate. I’m now with another doctor — Doc C — and he has been great because he not only explains and consults with me but he put me back on Toprol, which has ended my tachycardia (rapid heart beat). I lost a week’s work on the couch because of the debilitating effect of that tachycardia, but now I can move around and it’s a great relief.

I think I may just rate these doctors.

Because the risk of afib is blood clots, I’m now on blood thinner and have to go to the doctors’ offices to get my blood checked often. Before the procedure I had the other day, I didn’t have enough of the stuff in my blood; now I have too much. They told me not to take the pill last night and ordered me to eat broccoli, kale, or spinach to counteract the drug. I said I was going to a business dinner with one menu and had no idea what they’d be serving. I got a stern look from the nurse: Eat your kale, young man. Well, it so happens that the veggie last night was broccoli. I hate broccoli. But I was a good boy. Now I’m going back to the doc’s to get pricked again.

Now I may complain about a particular doctor or the inconvenience of some treatment, but let me make clear that I’m grateful to live in an age of miracles and knowledge, when these things can be treated. So I don’t want to seem ungrateful wishing that the counteracting agent to that drug were beer.