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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Doctor Visit

You know, I miss the good old days when a doctor was your doctor for life or until you moved.  But these days it seems to be the doctors who bounce around.  You get used to your doctor and all of a sudden, for one reason or another, you need to move on.

When Marshall was diagnosed with prostate cancer we spent a lot of time researching oncologists and we chose Dr. Flaig.  We had to drive for 4 hours (one way!) to see him once a month.  We really liked him and Marshall was doing so well under his care.  But after about a year he started saying, "You really need to start seeing my Nurse Practitioner, Kathryn, because I want her to be familiar with your case in case I can't be here."  Sounded reasonable so we made our appointment with Kathryn.  Well, Kathryn pretty quickly become the only person we saw and it's hard to explain your thought process when you know you are dying, but when we realized we weren't really going to be seeing Dr. Flaig any more (unless we specially requested it), Marshall's mood started deteriorating and his condition started worsening.  He felt betrayed and abandoned and it affected his frame of mind.  It was sad.

Well, today I went to my cardiologist appointment and instead of my doctor, who I just love, I had to see his Physician's Assistant.  I understand that doctors are busy and they need to open up time for new patients, but still...  And on top of that, his nurse, Michael -- who I see every week for my blood work and who I have developed a really good relationship with -- has applied for a job with the government and he may be moving on.  I'll survive but I hate these kinds of changes.

At any rate, I did like the Physician's Assistant.  First we did the regular vital signs and my blood pressure and INR bloodwork was right where it should be.  Then I saw the representative from Medtronic and she "interrogated" (that phrase just cracks me up) my pacemaker. All of the wires are still attached as they should be and I haven't had a single solitary episode of atrial fibrillation.  But the best news with regard to the pacemaker was that with all the little tweaks they made to it the last time I was there, the pacemaker re-set itself and the battery life is now 6.5 years (instead of 1.5).  That was great news.  She then made one tiny little tweak to the pacemaker, which she described as something that would make my heart use its own power a little more instead of being pacemaker-driven 99% of the time (she explained that to me twice but it was beyond me), and she said that little change may give the pacemaker even a longer battery life.

Then we discussed what I can and can't do.  Because my implantation surgeries were problematic, they don't want to release me to regular activities for a while longer.  So for at least another month, no motorcycle riding, no heavy lifting, no over-stretching, no mammograms (boo hoo), no high impact exercises, no unpacking any boxes (will I ever get unpacked?), etc.  I asked about altitude (since I'm going to Westcliffe this weekend and will be at 9,000 feet) and she said that was fine, just drink a lot of water.  So that was a great report!

I've been spending time in the garage polishing Marshall's motorcycle and reminiscing.  That bike was so important to him.  It feels really good to have it here.

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