Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Six weeks down the road...

It's been over a month now since the "event". The recovery has not been as smooth as it seemed at first or as I hoped. Soon after my last posts I started getting short of breath from time to time, and real tired along with that. Not all day, not everyday, but enough to have me concerned.

I started the cardiac rehab class a couple weeks back, been a real good experience. Great program, wonderful staff and it's nice to hang with my fellow cardiac cases. What happens is we get portable EKG transmitters that keep an eye on our heart rates and we work out on treadmills, exercise bikes and recumbent stairsteppers. Our progress is closely monitored as is our blood pressure. After 40 minutes of aerobic work we do stretches and relaxation stuff and discuss a pertinent subject, like food choices, exercise etc.

But even with the exercise(3 times a week) I was really not feeling better. last week I had a couple days of being really short f breath and just feeling generally lousy: no energy, aches, depressed. After the honeymoon of feeling better right after my procedure it was discouraging and disconcerting. At first I figured it was just getting used to the medicine, I was told it takes a month or so to stabilize. But by last week, I was starting to wonder if there wasn't some other problem.

Yesterday when got to class my blood pressure was 90/48! Maybe the medicine is working too well. Exercising did not bring it up more than a few points and the nurses were quite concerned. Instead of taking it twice during the class they must have taken it six times. They were surprised I wasn't fainting every time I got up.

Now I had been trying to get in to see my doctor, but it is so hard to get an appointment by yourself. I finally was able to schedule one:July 7! Over a month down the road. That just didn't seem right. So yesterday I asked the rehab nurses if they would call my doctor with their concerns, maybe that would get me in. I called my doc again today and laid it out to the guy at the call center. After maybe 15 minutes on the phone he got me a better appointment: June 29th. He said he had gotten no message from the nurses. Still frustrated I took the apt, but said i was gonna keep pushing. A while later I got a call from a physicians assistant who actually had some advice(cut back on one of my blood pressure pills). But the big thing was that I needed to see the cardiologist and that's where the nurses note went. So after being on the phone for well over an hour today, maybe 2(mostly on hold listening to crappy musak that was constantly breaking up) I managed to get an appointment with the cardiologist tomorrow.

So, the care I have gotten has been excellent, got no complaints there, but what I have had to do to get to the care has been a royal pain. And I have good insurance(thanks to TJ and a few hundred dollars a month) What hell it is for people without.

Something is dreadfully wrong in our "greatest country in the world". It's just gonna get worse with the graying of America. People die for lack of affordable health care, people have to make choices between food and medicine.

Call me a socialist, but HEALTH CARE FOR ALL is imperative, if not now when?? I know other countries have figured it out. The care my daughter got in Israel was inexpensive, very personal, and very skilled. She said that doctors there make a living but don't get rich, they do it out of dedication to helping people.

So I got my fingers crossed that the doc will have an answer, more on it tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Dang Joe, that kind of stuff is frustrating for sure. Our system is based on a completely different paradigm,one in which Drs. are rewarded for giving less care. I'm glad you got that wheel to squeak loud as it seems to be the only way to get half-way decent care. Back in 2007 I developed numbness down one leg and excruciating back pain. My Dr. said I needed to go to physical therapy for 6 weeks before he could even order an MRI. I knew my body and insisted he type a request for an MRI into his computer right then and here or he would have to get security to get me out of the examining room. Begrudgingly, he obliged, as he reminded me it would be for naught as it was against Kaiser policy to skip the PT. He was certain I would not get that MRI. The following day I received a call telling me to come in that afternoon for the MRI. Turns out I had a benign cyst on my spinal cord that was pinching it off. I was in surgery 10 days later. My spine surgeon was a German Dr. who used to treat kids like me. He went the extra mile to make certain I had the very best procedure and follow-up care possible. I have lived abroad and never had any problems getting the medical attention I needed, including new leg braces at no cost! I pay a boatload for my Kaiser insurance, with a $3,000. deductible and it won't even cover my leg braces or power wheelchair. Go figure! I'm with you on the socialized medicine. Our current system is a national disgrace. I will say my prayers for you and hope it's just the blood pressure meds that need adjusting. Till tomorrow.. Be well my friend.