A Trip To The Zoo, I Mean The Cardiologist

In the ongoing saga of low blood pressure I found myself at the cardiologist 4 times last week.

Day One:  Upon arriving it does not take a carni age guesser to know that I am at least a hundred years younger than the rest of the crowd.  I am also in the minority that is not connected to an iv or oxygen tank.

The truth is, I happen to be in a rush and would selfishly love to be the first in.  Selflessly, I don’t want to go in before any one of these people who could clearly use a once over and someone to check for a pulse.  As I am unsettled by this thought, a woman drags herself in the door and up to the window, “I am having chest pains unlike anything I  have ever felt.  I don’t have an appointment, but can I see my Doctor?”  As it turns out she takes my appointment and thankfully so, as poor Estelle is sitting across from me clutching her heart and breathing erratically.   I proactively position myself directly parallel so that I can catch her if necessary.

Nurse:  “Morty”

As they come out calling for other people, I’m thinking please call in Estelle before she codes.

Nurse 2:  “Phil”

Nurse 1:  “Estelle”

Nurse 2:  “Bea”

Nurse 1:  “Saul”

The receptionist who is joking with all the patients as if it might be there last day, pokes her head out, “Mr. Dale are you gonna give me any more trouble today young man?  Oh, and Mrs. Isenman, he’s getting to you.“

“I’ve been here over an hour is that normal?“

“Nope, he’s usually right on time, but there was a problem with the patient before you and we’ve already had an ambulance here once this morning and it‘s only 10 0‘clock“

Nurse 3:  “Joan”

Mark calls to see how the appointment went.
“I’m still waiting.“

“Oh, you are?  Are you filling out all the medical forms or are you just waiting to be called?“

“No Mark, they’re ready for me, I’m just so thrown by these forms.  So many tough questions, like my name and my age.  Then there are some real zingers like my SSN.  It’s like taking the SAT’s all over again.  They’re begging me to finish up and I’m trying to convince them that I’m eligible for the untimed version.

Nurse 2:  “Sandy”

Look I know he’s trying.  I know he was hoping I would be out so he could check it off his ‘things to remember list,’ and I know he asked that ridiculous question because he wants to seem caring, but I can’t help myself sometimes.

Nurse 1:  “Jenny”

By now the hypoglycemia that they found last week during my 5 hr. glucose test is acting up and the nurse goes to get me an apple juice, that they have for “such occasions.”  “Thanks, but really there’s no need to make such a fuss.”  Did I really say fuss?  See what an hour and a half out there did to me?  “By the way how is Estelle?”

Nurse:  “Who?”

The cardiologist Dr. Seth was, thank goodness, is not what I was expecting.  He was a referral from my, ‘roll your own’ Jamaican Doctor and I was thinking Seth might just be his first name, and that he may or may not have a surf board and that he may or may not have a medical license.  Luckily, he is Arcaad Seth, an Indian gentleman.  Look, I saw “Slumdog,” so I have a birds eye view into his upbringing.  As it turns out my sympathy for his being  part of a panhandling ring of blind singers does little for our deeper connection.  He roboticly set me up for a series of tests to “rule out the possibilities” and sternly warns me not to drive much saying, “You could hit a school bus filled with children.“

“Thank you for that.  Just telling me would not have been enough.  Did the past 30 minutes with me not give you any indication that I have some excessive worrying issues?  Maybe when I was telling you that when I yawn sometimes it feels like the blood gets stuck in my neck, and you snickered under your breath, like I was insane?

Wow, and that was just day one.  Stay Tuned.

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15 thoughts on “A Trip To The Zoo, I Mean The Cardiologist

  1. Cherie

    Aren’t doctors great? They give you any appointment, you wait for an hour to be called, then they move you to another room to wait for a room for a half an hour, and then they move you into an examining room to wait for another half. This has been my experience with doctors. I think they really want to see if you really wanted to see them or what you were seeing them for really wasn’t that important; and you’ll give up and go home. Your experience with the doctor is all too familiar.

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  3. Barbara Hales

    The fact that the malpractice rates have soared into the stratosphere and Medicare is reimbursing the physician oh, about $1.98 per person probably has something to do with the scenario that you describe.
    Add to this mix the fact that when the doctor instructs the patient to get dressed, he takes 35 minutes, fumbling with the buttons, to vacate the room.
    Yes, the doctor’s office makes great fodder for humor but when you think about it, is it really funny? We are all going to be needy someday……….hopefully not in the near future!

  4. Bari

    Doctors are G-ds. Doctors are kings. They are all seeing and all knowing. You must be patient. You must wait. You’re young , you will learn. First you must pay your dues. Then fifty years down the road you get to first or collapse in the young girls arms in front of you.

  5. rachy

    So, Jenny, this is what you need to do when going to doctor’s visits or the emergency room or the like:
    1) Bring reading material like a good long book, or the Sunday New York Times.
    2) Assume you won’t be out for hours; you’ll be so pleased when you’re done only 90 min. after your appointment!
    3) Find your “happy place” and go there in your mind, ignoring the other patients, nurses, and medical smells in the waiting room. (This helped when I accompanied my dear elderly mother to an appointment and she would repeat “This is rediculous! I don’t need a doctor.” every 15 min.)

    If all this doesn’t work, try an attidude adjustment: At 90, my mother has sworn off doctors (won’t let them touch her or test her or sample her blood), but has nothing physically wrong with her and probably will live to 100!

  6. ExtraordinaryMommy

    OK – so seriously – I laughed out loud at your response to your husband when he asked if your paperwork was holding you up. Sounds like a solid day at the dr’s office – glad you didn’t have to catch Estelle.

  7. double-Gee

    sounds exactly like my experience here in atlanta. hopefully it will turn out to be nothing like mine was (false alarm w/ blood pressure; i blame it on the extremely hot nurse during a “corporate welness” day at work). i am only 40 but it was a great “head up” to remember to eat as clean as possible vs being in that waiting room in 20 years. before you get too ticked you are going to feel like “the bees knees” when you kick the living crap out of the stress test they will probably put you through. you know the treadmill thing w/ the radioactive IV; it’s a blasty-blast {{sarcasm off}}. took me forever (4x longer than Saul did at least) to get up to the right heart rate they wanted; like some bizarre speedwalking contest.

  8. Karen Rinehart

    And then there’s everyone clutching their ziploc bags of Rx’s……

    okay okay I’ve done it myself! Easier to just hand the dang bag over to the nurse then remember………

  9. Joanne Grey

    Great article Jenny. Did you write this while you were waiting? Waiting rooms are fantastic places to get your writing done, while the powers of observation come into their own!
    Thanks for the chuckle! So true…

  10. Musings from Me

    On a serious note…I hope you are well and that you find out what the issue is. Heart issues are scary at any age. My 13 yo passed out at school last Monday. No reason except perhaps dehydration. I have an appointment with a cardiologist in a couple of weeks.

    On a humorous note…I was laughing at the names of the other patients. Sounds like you were in an assisted living facility not a doctor’s ofice.

  11. Barry

    Now I know why young pretty girls are in the cardiologist office when I’m there. The Docs keep them waiting so they’re available to catch older, infirm patients when they fall.

  12. Elizabeth Blake

    I went months crawling on my hands and knees because my heart would stop beating.
    First doctor I went to told me to “drink more water.”
    Second doctor I went to told me to “exercise more.”
    E.R. doctor I then went to called the second doctor who told him over the phone, “It’s nothing. Have her see me in a couple weeks.”
    After 6 months of this, the last doctor I saw was a specialist: electrophysiologist. He told me I needed a pacemaker immediately because the electrical circuit in my heart telling it to beat was short-circuiting. He said I would die from this.
    And yes, I’m the youngest one in the office whenever I go there for checkups, which I do every 3 months now.
    Good blog!

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