Out of the Gizzard: Part One

Someone asked me the other day why I hadn't posted recently.

Um, maybe because life swallowed us whole, ground us up in its gizzard and has yet to decide whether to regurgitate us back out the way we came or pass us out the other end?

Here's a little sampling from the last few weeks:

La ti da....I was working out with a trainer one day when I realized I was completely short of breath....the pain in my chest that started pre-marathon was ever present.....a friend suggested I see a doctor perhaps, you know, like a normal person.

Not wanting to end up in some crazy story about that "marathon running mom of 5 who keeled over at the gym of a random heart attack due to an undiagnosed heart defect" I called to make an appointment with a family doc.

Apparently they take chest pain with shortness of breath very seriously, even when the semi-young and very healthy person has good explanations for both. Sigh. So after convincing the triage nurse that I was not going to call 911 because there was no real need, after all, I just ran ten miles the day before, and someone had soccer or something that night and it was kind of an inconvenience, etc. etc., I got in the very next day.

Unfortunately, I had a coffee date with a friend that morning and forgot to ask for decaf so by the time I got to my appointment, I was jacked up on caffeine, my pulse was racing, my blood pressure was slightly high and the doctor worried himself over my "very significant heart murmur." He ordered an EKG and chest ex-ray and a bunch of blood work. As I was waiting for the nurse to come back to do the EKG, I got a call from Liam's geneticist.

Geneticist: Well, all of Liam's blood work came back normal except for this one test we ran which came back just slightly abnormal. Now, I want you to know that it is an indicator of this very, very bad thing called Fanconi Anemia but I don't really think he has it. However, I know you are going to look it up on the internet because that's what I would do and I want you to know it is ridiculously scary, but don't worry. I really don't think he has it.

Me: Um, ok. Could you spell that please?

Geneticist (after spelling it): Really, try not to worry about it. We will run more blood work when you come back in October. Ok? Great. Have a nice day!

Enter nurse, stage left, to run the EKG to verify the heart attack I am now having...... Actually, at that point I hadn't looked up the ridiculous, rare genetic disorder that our kid "probably doesn't have" but that he happens to meet like HALF OF THE CRITERIA FOR depending on what site you go to.

Ok, seriously people. I don't know about you but I am fine with the withholding of information when there is like a .0000000001% chance of something....maybe that is just me but she could've just ruled the darn thing out without worrying us. And what's with waiting until October to finish the testing? Really? She will realize how ridiculous THAT is once she has that baby who's currently about to burst her seams.

Anyway, the family doctor referred me to a cardiologist and sent me on my way but not before telling me I shouldn't do any more running until being "cleared" by the heart doc. Sheesh, doctors.

I got in to see the cardiologist the very next day.

Cardiologist: So, let me get this straight, you have five kids and run marathons and were in Boston and  are like half the age of every patient I have seen in like the last ten years....why are you here?

He kindly listened to my story and then to my heart and lungs and then ordered an echocardiogram and a coronary angio complete with contrast dye......yes, I am serious.

Cardiologist: Oh, and I think you should probably hold off on the ten milers until we get you all checked out.

Me: Well, can I run five?

Cardiologist: Let's just have you not run until after these tests.

Me: Well, can I work out at all?

Cardiologist (getting a wee bit exasperated): What kind of working out?

Me: Um, weights? Lunges? Pull-ups, push-ups, dips, core, anything not too cardio-intensive?

Cardiologist: Why don't you just chill out with your 5 kids until after we get through the testing. I think that is enough of a work out and it's best not to stress you out right now.

Me (fighting the urge to explain that not getting in a good workout is what's stressing me out right now!): Ok, can I get in later today or tomorrow then?

Cardiologist: ____________(insert long frustrated silence) We'll see what we can do.

Long story short: They got me in two days later, added a pulmonary embolism series to the day (I mean shoot, why not, this chick has great insurance!) and then a few hours later, I was on my way TO THE GYM because I assumed that since they let me out of the hospital, everything looked good.

And it did. The nurse called me the following Monday to tell me there was not even evidence of the murmur, everything looked perfect (well, DUH!) but that if I wanted they could run a 24 hour monitor to double check heart rhythms. (Uh, I'll pass, thanks.)

And THAT my friends is what too much caffeine (and stubbornly not using your inhaler to control your asthma) can do for you.

As for Liam, well, we are going on faith here that the doctor is just covering her rear end and that there is nothing to worry about. I suppose time will tell.

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