(Names in this series have been changed)
4th June 2019
While seated in the waiting room a friend sent the following pictureAll messages, quotes or videos sent during this period truly meant a lot. Your efforts are not gone by unrewarded. I clung onto each one sent. They fortified hope and strength while my mind wandered through the uncertainty. From the countless appointments over a 4 year duration, this one was the most decisive of them all.Hence, it felt good to be reminded of the things, people, places, and moments onto which I should hold tight.One of the most common phrases we pass on to one another is”Hang in there”Where? “Hang on”To what? People have said it to me and I’ve said it others. Reassurance is provided, but sometimes a person is bewildered to the extent where it doesn’t even make sense because your mind hears:“Hang on – it’ll get better”But at that juncture, the darkness has clouded your vision and your heart meets assurance with disbelief. It questions what should it hang onto that will pull it through? And even further – will hanging on be worth the effort?So it remains an appreciated and sentimental quotation.A little later, she also put up the following status as a means of motivationAfter forms were filled in, the physiologist called me to conduct the Pulmonary Function Test, which I’ve spoken about numerous times in the past. Those experiences were bad so I was slightly apprehensive this time. He also sensed that I was a little afraid to pull the exhalation for a longer duration out and inquired why? After I related how all the others triggered intense angina attacks, he understood.But this was the easiest of all PFT. The physiologist was a master at the job. Easy going, kind and gentle.According to him – usually your pulse rate should be in the range of 70. When you do a pulmonary function test, the highest it increases, should be in the 90s. Whereas, mines flew above 150! This number caused him great concern.It also proved NO asthma! Now tell me again Dr K how did you insist I have asthma with no proof from your own first lot of PFT results.
Next: A walking test
Where you walk up and down between 2 points of 30 km for 7 minutes as fast as you possibly can. A pulse oximiter is placed on your finger to monitor and see if your oxygen levels drop during those 7 minutes of exertion.The physiologist fills in the intensity of your symptoms on a chart before commencing and after completing the test. He also walks alongside you at certain parts to ensure you’re still okay..I only managed to complete 5 minutes of walking because my pluse rate accelerated higher and higher, beyond 166 beats per minute. I became dizzy, breathless & coughed excessively. He said it was too dangerous to continue, so we stopped & I was put back on oxygen.
Next : Ecg
The lady was absolutely pleasant. She made some chit chat and enquiries with regards to my condition. Then told me to wait for Dr who was in the wards.She notified me of a long wait but also mentioned it being worth all the time. Whoever goes out doesn’t usually leave disappointed or without the answers required.Approximately 3 and a half hours later, Dr Andrew walks in.I was third in line but began to feel more at ease once I saw the amount of time he spent reading each patients file prior to them going in, & hearing some laughs resound loudly from inside the room.. Observing the fact, that hes not a rushed person, considering the time, as well as 2 more patients after me.At 6:46 pm my name is called and in I go. Feeling quite cheerful and confident, I take my seat.While people waited, listened, and searched with anticipation for the sighting of the eid moon 🎑, I sat with anticipation waiting for Dr to commence the verdict as he browses through the 17 page summarized historyDr begins by stating: “No patient of mine ever came with such a write up of their medical history 😂. Im very impressed with the write up and the writing. I haven’t seen a patient before with a situation as complicated as this, where there’s more than a dozen things all intertwined”-Note: He is a senior specialist in the 50s and is therefore stating the above with years of experience from an unlimited number patients.He read through everything again 3 times thoroughly!! Then made a copy for himself & handed it back over to me saying: “here’s your artwork” 😂All that effort wasn’t in vain… I thought to myself with glee!Thus far though.After discussing different points and answering questions until he was satisfied, we went in the adjacent room to do an echocardiogram.Note: If you’re underweight, it’s a little difficult for them to see your heart correctly, and the test takes longer.
“Ok, your resting ECG shows different abnormalities. It clearly isn’t normal. But the thing that’s shocking me is your rapid pulse rate, and you’re not anxious! It just races. You turn an arm, it races. You turn a leg, it races. Anything you do, it races faster & faster. So there is definitely a cardiac rhythm – electrical and muscle problem.. The main problem is in the heart itself, then affecting the lungs. Not the other way aroundI feel Dr Yusuf whos the cardiologist and works in conjuction with me should assess you. He can conduct the tilt table test (which we’ve waited for almost 2 years now). A CXR should be done & few blood tests”He then wrote the referral to the cardiologist & said we will be informed when it’s confirmed.(Family members will recall parts of the journey which I haven’t yet reached here the blog, I was supposed to meet Dr Yusuf since November 2017. In January 2018 when we tried to consult with him, his junior entered the picture. That guy was too young, inexperienced and spoke some nonsensehttps://kayborninmay.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/22-time-or-age-matters-not/ )So Dr Andrew also admitted: “He is an intelligent guy, but intelligence and experience go hand in hand and his experience is still on its way” 😂Then he said: “Heyy how could Dr so & so tell ya’ll only Cape Town is geared up with cardiopulmonary expertise. That’s not very loyal of him” with a hearty laugh 🤣🤣🤣https://kayborninmay.wordpress.com/2018/01/16/21-lifes-wildest-journeys/He was a little confused with the blood and pink tinged sputum. Said he cannot pinpoint where its from exactly, & perhaps it’s gastrointestinal related. Whereas I know it emits from my lungs without a doubt. When dealing with these symptoms for such a lengthy period, you become well acquainted with regards to the differences.Finally he said: “I’m sorry… I know you came to me for a better diagnosis and care.. But Im going to disappoint you and say that I cant yet confirm Pulmonary Hypertension or whatever else, although your ECG is suggestive of PH. The other tests to prove it are costly and we don’t want to waste money also. Let’s look at the heart first from the cardio side, do further tests, then we can move forward from there onwards”The final conclusion was slightly disheartening & confusing.. I held my breath wondering if I reached yet another blank wall after being fully optimistic.Everything about Dr Andrew was fantastic:✔️Mannerism✔️Dedication✔️Respect✔️Witty✔️PatienceNow it’s just the whole diagnosis part..
The rule is you cannot confirm or rule out PH & certain other conditions without more invasive tests. His trying to avoid them & take the roundabout route, which is thoughtful and considerate in a way of avoiding high costs, and radiation as he pointed out… But, how to reach a finality???We gotta wait and see! If Dr Andrew & Dr Yusuf work together… Perhaps we’ll reach somewhere concrete.Only time will tell! In the meantime, I’m clinging onto the thought and hope that this door opened for a purpose, I am yet to discover….