The good news for today is that I can expect to live as long as Robert Plant.
My little visit to the Doc about my face fungus has had some disconcerting effects– she implored me to finally follow up with my cardiologist regarding my mitral valve prolapse, patent foramen ovale, and the slight thickening of my left ventricle. Which I did, obtaining an echocardiogram, and enduring a great silence from anyone of the doctor persuasion. Which made me nervous, but not as nervous as the letter that came from Dr. Selsun, who told me that, based on my recent testing, I no longer needed to take antibiotics at the dentist, and that my heart was enlarged due to my blood pressure. There was no mention of what my blood pressure reading was, but there was a prescription enclosed for a diuretic blood pressure med. I double-checked this with my primary care doctor, and he insisted that I begin taking the medication immediately.
All of which sent me into a spin, worried about how my condition had worsened (and/or improved?), and about the side effects of the medicine (what? Did someone say impotence? yikes). I was also suddenly feeling really old, and worried about my longevity, and was suddenly reticent to push that stroller up the hills of our neighborhood. I started haunting local drugstores to check my blood pressure on their machines (it was slightly above the ideal of 120/80) and practicing relaxation techniques while The Girlie watched from the empty shopping cart next to me. I also kindly pushed my way past the scheduler to actually make an appointment with the cardiologist to get the straight scoop from the source.
My anxiety was running high as I dropped The Girlie off with a friend, and picked up the wife for moral support and medical expertise. The cardiologist made friendly small talk for the longest time to let me relax before he strapped on the cuff for the moment of truth, but it wasn’t helping my anxiety much. So when he gave me the reading of ’115/70′, I nearly jumped out of my seat. No, no blood pressure meds, he insisted. In fact, he declared me not only ‘healthy’, but ‘athletic’, noting my heart’s slight enlargement as a useful adaptation, providing a higher stroke volume which logically correlated with my lower heart rate (45-50bpm). And the leaky valve is evident, but relatively minor. I’m good to go– run a lot, and I’ll live longer, he said– and he doesn’t even need to follow with echocardiograms. If I feel good, I am good.
So I’m toggling between relief and rage, as I try to figure out why the cardiologist’s report to my primary care doc got translated from a clean bill of health to a dire warning about high blood pressure. But mostly, I’m stumbling through my life like George Bailey in the Greatest Christmas Movie of All Time, gleefully greeting the emporium, and movie house, and the wonderful old building and loan, and even Old Man Potter as he stumbles through the snow. Maybe I will see Ella graduate, and maybe I will be able to avoid some heart surgery in a few years. And lo and behold, I walked through the door to an email from Steve the Great, informing me that they started digging up the Awakening today for his fateful move. So The Girlie and I will be there tomorrow morning– I wonder how many laps I can manage?