As happens to many of us and our loved ones, heart symptoms have brought red flags up in our household as my husband has started having suspicious angina-like symptoms. He is prone to want to explain how benign it all is, while I am sent into paroxysms of fear as I see him clutch his chest and take sudden sharp intakes of breath!
It's so different when it's your own family, and not a patient. My husband and I are both RN's so have a potentially dangerous tendency to want to diagnose, then treat our own illnesses. Given that Doug used to work in CCU for ten years, he knows it all. Nevertheless, he did agree to have a cardiac workup with my cardiologist. We went yesterday.
Things have changed since the arrival of my heart disease 5 years ago.
Tests have changed. Given that Doug is not having current emergency problems, the good doc has outlined a plan of diagnosis-- he will first have the old stress echo, followed by a cardiac CT for calcium deposits, and a fine tuned Berkeley Heart Lab cholesterol test that examines the finer points of cholesterol, pinpoints genetic hypercholesteremia, and then guides the doc re: treatment thereof.
What grabs me is that this approach is so different than the stuff that happens around emergency diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.
It is hugely helpful for me to understand that Doug is NOT having an emergency, he's just looking into the possibility that his chest pains are of cardiac origin. So, all of this testing has the effect (for me and for Doug) of quelling the knee-jerk fear that I tend to have around anything that suggests heart disease. The doctor's calm and reasoned approach is just what we need.
So, that's what's happening in my neck of the woods, as the holidays approach. That, and my upcoming spinal cord stimulator implant on Friday. I'll let you all know how it goes.
I am hoping for some garden-variety explanation for Doug's symptoms, but realize he has some big risk factors, so also hope that we're nipping whatever this is in the bud, before any big deal emergencies have a chance to develop.
It's good to write it all down, and know that my gang of heart sisters is out there. You have provided such wonderful and loving support to me over the years. I wish you all a peaceful holiday, and a healthful and happy 2013.