Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dismal Post Heart Attack Care

In my last post I wrote about what I call post heart attack stun.  As I have emerged from this and done loads of research, I have learned a few things.  I have learned enough to know that I should question what is told to me.

I went to my cardiologist in Lawrence on Tuesday.  After almost an hour of waiting in the waiting room, they called me back.  So, we get back in the room and the nurse is insinuating that my family doctor should be managing my meds because he prescribed them.  Really??  Did you not look at my records?  Up until October 13, 2011 I took absolutely no medicine.   So, I asked her why my family doc would manage the meds that my cardiologist gave me.  She got hateful.  We continue on through reviewing my list of meds.  Mind you, she is following through the EMR that is asking these questions.  About three questions after the list of meds, she asks if I bruise easily.  I say "Why yes, I am taking blood thinners."  She looks at me and says "you are?"  We had just gone over the fact that I take aspirin and Plavix.  Plavix is a blood thinner.  Now I am worried because the nurse taking care of me in the cardiologist office doesn't know that Plavix is a blood thinner!!  Isn't that her job?  She also tells me that 120/80 is not normal blood pressure, it is way too high.  I proceeded to tell her that I was quite frankly sick of her and to send the doctor in.  I know, I was hateful but this is my health we are  talking about.  It is at this point after I am livid that she takes my BP and it was high  133/77.  I attribute this to her lack of being a good nurse and pissing me off.

The doc comes in.  He asks how I am doing and we do all the chit chat.  I am expecting that 7 months post heart attack we will do an EKG at least.  Perhaps we will check my cholesterol because it was a total of 134 when they put me on cholesterol lowering medication so "your heart can rest."  He proceeds to say he doesn't think I will have anymore issues and that the four prescription meds I am on will just be lifetime meds because that is how he treats all heart attack patients and he will see me in a year.  Really, this is it?  Don't you think if I am going to take the cholesterol meds that you should check my liver function?  Nope, not even going to do that.  Does he even realize that a lifetime of meds for someone that is 43 is a whole lot different than a lifetime of meds for someone who is 80?

I left there livid.  I'd had a list of questions I wanted to ask and I was so mad I didn't even ask them.  You expect me to take a cocktail of meds blindly for another year just because that is how you treat all heart attack patients?  Screw you.  That means that you are treating me just the same as someone who has had a heart attack that has not made all of the significant life changes that I have.  I now follow a  plant based, whole grain diet yet you are going to treat me just as the person who still eats chicken fried steak and gravy?  Screw you again.  I want to be treated because I am Jodi, not because I am a heart attack patient.  You want to treat me like someone who hasn't lost any weight and doesn't exercise?  Screw you again.  I exercise every day and have lost 30 lbs.  You haven't bothered with any blood work, EKG or stress tests--screw you again.  I am grateful you saved my life, but you have hung me out to dry guessing if I am even on the right path post heart attack.

I have a second opinion scheduled for Tuesday at another hospital.  There is no way I am blindly taking a dangerous drug cocktail with no monitoring for the next year.  You know what really scares me?  I have worked in and around the medical field since I was 22 years old so I am not afraid of doctors and I don't think they are always right.  How does someone that has not gained the knowledge I have over the years know to question this type of treatment?  How does someone who is elderly and confused know to question this type of treatment?  It scares me for all of the patients that do not have the motivation to do their own research on their illnesses. I expect that this next appointment will go much better.  I can't imagine there are too many docs in this world that suck this bad at follow up care as the one I have been seeing.

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