I had a medical issue come up here recently. I am not one to go to the doctors’ office or go to a congested emergency department at a hospital. I don’t even go for annual check-ups as there is no need at my age, or so I thought. Let me start from the beginning and it will come to my main point I think.
Two weeks ago in the middle of the night, I went to go lay down for bed and began feeling short of breath. Not so much in the ways of gasping for breath as much just feeling like I couldn’t get enough air.
The following day, it continued on but a little more mildly. That night came and the same thing happened, only this time worse. I got up and began to worry. Of course, I would worry, who wouldn’t? I began to feel my heart pounding and then tingling on my face and arms. these are signs of a panic attack for sure. Caused by my shortness of breath.
I remembered that I had a pulse oximeter in the closet, and that would show my heart rate and 02 SAT rate. I pulled that bad boy out, stuck my finger in there and the heart rate showed 146bpm and 02 SAT rate showed 94%. I’m in my early thirties – These levels are not normal, especially at bedtime.
This happened for two more days/nights until I couldn’t take it. Now I was becoming more and more fixated on my heart rate and 02SAT rate. Not considering going through it another night as it had been a week, I decided to call the phone physician service I have with my insurance carrier. I called and spoke with the doctor for about 5 minutes, and the doctor said it was best to go to the emergency room. I went to the emergency room, thankfully I didn’t need to wait long before they took me back and began running tests. The drew blood, took an X-Ray of my chest- all came back clear. they sent me home an hour later and said I needed to follow up with a regular doctor. I went home thinking it was all in my head. Defeated, feeling like a hypochondriac.
Two days pass by, symptoms still in full swing, heart rate has yet to drop below 110 BPM and 02SAT rate hovering between 95%-97%. When morning came on the third day I went to the local urgent care as I didn’t have a regular family physician to follow up with. I went there and the doctor was very nice, listened to what I had to say and came up with a few possibilities. #1: I am over stressed and it is causing me to have anxiety attacks. #2: I was depressed and maybe I should think about starting on an anti-depressant or #3: There was something that he could see. I explained the first two, are not likely. He said, that he believes it really is anxiety but maybe to help me feel better, he would refer me to a Cardiologist and he sent me home.
Three days pass by and I receive no call on my referral so I decided to call. After a few more phone tags back and forth, I got a referral but I needed to call and get an appointment. I did make the call and this office was very accommodating. They got me in the very next day as a work in.
I get to the doctor’s office and waited all of 5 minutes. they were very timely. The office had an MA sit with me the entire time and go over everything. Shortly after, the cardiologist came in and we went over it all again. He was a man of little words but told me he will order some tests. I asked when was the soonest we could get these tests scheduled- he said immediately, he would do them right there in his office and he would oversee them all. I was very surprised, to say the least. He left the room and the stress test began, he came back in the room while I was 3 minutes in and he stopped the test at around 5 minutes as it didn’t take long for my heart rate to hit the number they needed. He sat me down and said, “this is not normal, we will check more.” Even though that wasn’t good news, I was so relieved that it wasn’t in my head. He then did an EKG and then told me to come back in an hour and he would do an ECG. I returned and he did the ECG himself. Again he was of little words, only asking me if I drink a lot of coffee. BPM never went below 120 even while lying down. He completed and then gave me a prescription to lower my heart rate and said come in the morning to get a fasting blood work completed. He also scheduled my follow up for 5 days later to allow time for the results. Before he walked out, he said, “don’t worry, we won’t stop until we find out the problem, this is not normal, take care.” I don’t care about the language barrier he also had, this level of caring, was beyond what all the others had given me.
So this is where I am left standing, or sitting as the case may be. I went and got the prescription filled and I have to say I do feel a little better but not completely. While he was a doctor of little words, I think I understand why; it’s because he doesn’t know what to say yet, and he wouldn’t want to make a wrong statement when dealing with such a serious issue as the hearts function. Awaiting tests still.
the point is. Why does it take so much to get physicians to run tests instead of feeling like everyone wants a prescription from them? Why are they so quick to dismiss symptoms in relation to my age? Don’t think it’s X because he’s only Y sort of mentality.
Is it because of the abuse of our medical systems by the masses? I gave them my insurance just as I did the cardiologist as well as paid a $300 copay. I would do it again too. But they are getting paid for a service and expertise. With service comes to care, why wasn’t I receiving any “care” from the three doctors I had seen prior to going to the cardiologist. the cardiologist, a 62-year-old man made me feel better and more cared for than the phone doctor, the ER doctor and the primary care physician. Just with his care and concern for my well-being.
I have thought if we have insurance that we pay tons of money for and have never used it before- if we aren’t feeling well- wouldn’t it be better to go and allow us to have our own blood work done without a physicians order to do so? They could send it to the doctors to check and of course, follow up on but wouldn’t this save money as well- for the insurance carrier and the public as well?
The United States has the top medical minds in the world and yet the caring side of Medical “Care”, is missing by so many. What has happened here? We pay $800USD each month for insurance- then when we go to the doctor’s office they charge us there, then the insurance only pays 75% of the charges and then I am still billed for the other 25% all for care that is sub-par. Seems like double dipping to me.
Yes, I am ranting and this isn’t written as a proper “paper” should be. I’m just pissing and moaning over the corruption of the insurance companies and how our systems have become so corrupt that doctors have to push us through on a convair belt pushing the numbers just to break even, that we don’t get the proper care and attention that we are going for in the first place. This is what happens when government gets involved in the insurance business. Of course this is a multifaceted subject of cause and effects but still! How hard is it to take my concerns seriously?! Run a damn test for heaven’s sake!
Still, have to go for follow-ups to get the results of more tests this wonderful cardiologist has ordered. Symptoms have mostly subsided with the new medication but the root cause has yet to be found.
Have any of you ever had symptoms that physicians wouldn’t take seriously? What was your journey? What was your cost? How much time did it take you in suffering? Did you find a resolution?