Saturday, August 26, 2006
Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated
(I always envied Twain that line; it's fun to use it myself...)
Yesterday, blogging on Eschaton, I made reference to the fact that I was on my way to the hospital for an EKG. Many of my usual correspondents and interlocutors became alarmed, and expressed concerns, sending good wishes for my health They have continued to express concern and to inquire as to my prospects.
Okay, here's the story:
About 4-5 months ago, in late March or early April, I began to notice some discomfort in my chest and feelings of constriction in my arms. I figured it was some kind of angina, and that it wasn't too serious because I wasn't experiencing the severity of those symptoms popularly associated with serious heart issues, and more or less ignored them, carrying on doing whatever it was I was doing at the time (which was, mainly, performing as a background artist in various roles in "Comanche Moon," the prequel to "Lonesome Dove;" CM is scheduled for television in the fall, on CBS, rumor has it in late September). The incidents were irregular, brief, and more unnerving than painful. But they were not in any substantial way debilitating, so I just kept on doing what I was doing.
I have always been moderately sanguine about heart problems, since I've known I had a heart murmur since I was a kid (mytral valve prolapse, caused probably by rheumatic fever I had as a child; my parents forbade me to play organized basketball, because they thought the constant activity might be deleterious; they didn't prevent me from playing football or running track, playing tennis, or swimming). Looking back, I do not know how I passed the military physical in '64; but I did (which is neither here nor there).
Fast foreward to yesterday when, after walking Hannah, the most energetic of my four hounds, I felt myself beginning to experience the onset of one of the angina episodes. Meanwhile I had remarked to several folks on the experiences, and all had enjoined me to seek the advice of a physician. With the incident yesterday, I finally betook me of their advice, and called a nearby hospital, where I have been attended in the past. In a little while I found myself talking to a very nice and very concerned nurse who, after I explained why I was calling, and explained the symptms, told me to hang up and call 911. I did not think I was in any immediate distress, however, and so I drove myself (with Buddy) to a nearby ER. There, I was administered an EKG, and about a quart of blood was drawn for various tests.
The upshot of the visit was that the EKG registered no 'significant' anomalies. And the blood work was inconclusive. The doc prescribed nitroglycerin, and told me I must check in with a cardiologist for more tests. I filled the scrip today, and have so far not needed to test its efficacy. The incidents do not occur daily, or even over any regular interval. If one does occur, the doc says I am to place one nitro tab under my tongue and wait until I either 1) feel the effects in the subsidance of the symptoms or 2) feel no such effects; in which case I am to take another tablet and wait; if there is still no subsidance or diminishment, I am instructed to take yet a third tablet. If that third tablet still has no effect, I am to immediately call 911 (and presumably give my ass to god).
I am inestimably touched by and grateful to all my blog-buds at Eschaton for their care, concern, and good wishes. Thank you, all.