Thursday, August 7, 2008

Rage Update!

The afternoon at the hospital started out with one small tweak of my rage meter. The hospital I go to, to see my cardiologist, is new and maze-like. So I usually stop at the one place I can reliably find--The Heart Lung Center. I asked the woman at the desk directions to Dr. Weiss' office. She asked me if I just had an appointment with Dr. Weiss, or was I having a procedure done. I told her I was having a stress test. She said, "That might be done downstairs." She called downstairs, and no I was not scheduled for the test downstairs. Then she called the Heart Rhythm Center and got their answering service. They were at lunch and wouldn't be back until 1:30. My appointment was for 1:00 so this was the first real tweak of my rage button. Remember I had not had my latte, and I'm not doing well on Zoloft for my bipolar disorder. I can't sleep. Everything pisses me off.

When I got to the correct location, there was one lone receptionist at the desk. The first thing out of my mouth was, "Why would they schedule me for a stress test at 1:00 if everyone is at lunch until 1:30?!!" She said, "I don't know what you mean. The techs who do your stress test are here, and it will only be a moment."

They did take me back to get my stress test post haste. But once I was wired up, they did a pre-stress test echo cardiogram. The found something hinky and asked me if I had a lot of headaches. Yes, yes I do. I wake up with a headache almost every morning. Next question is would I mind if they do a couple of extra tests. No I don't mind. I want whatever they think they see to be definitively checked out. What they think they see is a hole in my heart that could be the culprit in my headaches, and might be bad enough to need repair. I say, "When they did the procedure to to check for clots in my heart, I remember being told there was a hole in my heart, but when I went to see the cardiologist there was nothing in the report on that procedure to indicate that they found a hole in my heart. No mention." Now I'm starting to get really pissed.

So they IV me to inject a dye in saline to follow it through my heart. This makes them decide to do another test. They take me all wired up with the IV in my arm to another room. They put some gadget on my head, screw it on tight at my temples and inject another dye. This confirms something and then they take me back for my stress test. Now I'm stressed. I chug away on the treadmill, huffing and puffing within a minute, but every three minutes they increase the incline and speed. My legs start burning, then my ass muscles start burning. "Can you hang in there, you're almost through." I gasp, "Yes," gasp, "I think so," gasp. I make it through that test but I'm light headed and chugging, gasping for air. Quick, hurry, get back on the table to do the post test echo-cardiogram. Once that's done, they send me to an empty room to wait for my cardiologist.

He takes forty minutes to get to me and my irritation is growing by the second. Remember, I like my cardiologist. He's an Obama liberal. But when he finally comes in I have steam shooting out my ears. My nostrils are flared and shooting fire. I'm wishing I had a shotgun in my purse.
He says, "You have a hole in your heart that might need repairing." I say, "Remember when I came in after the first procedure and told you I heard them say I had a hole in my heart, and when I asked you about it, you said there was nothing in the record about a hole in my heart, and that I must have 'thought' I heard that, but didn't really?" He says he remembers our conversation but there is nothing in the record to indicate that they did, in fact, find a hole in my heart. I said, "This is unacceptable. I consider this omission from my records negligent." Well, this is as close as I can get to blasting him with my imaginary shotgun. I tell him I'm having problems with the new antidepressant and am unusually irritable. He says, "please have your psychiatrist call me--I'll reassure her that the Doxepin wasn't the problem with the fibrillation."

He tells me he isn't the one to evaluate the seriousness of the hole, and that I need an appointment with another doctor who is the one to read that part of this testing and decide whether or not it requires repair. Bla bla bla. I can no longer listen. My brain has shut down, and now rage is all I feel. Funny how rage shuts down the rest of the brain functions. After he finishes his bla bla bla, he takes me into the area where I'm to wait for the receptionist to make an appointment with this other doctor. The desk is empty. The is no one in the hallways. I want to start screaming, "Jane, you ignorant slut. Where the fuck are you, you lazy, slovenly bitch!!!!" But thankfully don't. By the time I get out of the building I'm at swearing, screaming rage level.

When I get home, I eat a bite, fix my latte, and decide to call my shrink's office again and try to find out why she has taken so long to get back to me when I knew I'd lost my mojo, my sweet temperament, my ability to sleep at night and all fucking patience with everyone. I know it's the drug switch, and I want off Zoloft and back on Doxepin. Now! She gets me to stop screaming and is very patient, considering how angry and loud I am. She tells me to stop the Zoloft and to begin to go back on the Doxepin gradually. When I hang up I'm still furious, but with a bit of pacing, and some deep breathing, and watching Keith, I finally calm down.

In a couple of days when I'm not so irritable, I'll aim what fury I have left at Comcast, who has the nerve to call themselves Comcastic.