Part 2 – The Day Has Arrived
So now we have arrived on the day of my in person visit with the new cardiologist. I had time to work myself up with worry, having a list of fears running through my head about:
- Getting to the appointment
- Not knowing where to go in the hospital once I got there
- Getting lost (via both of the above)
- THE WALK- having mobility issues this one was a huge fear.
- The Echo itself- would there be contrast or not
- Will the Echo tech be kind or snotty (it can make a world of difference, especially since you’re naked from the waist up)?
- Will the doctor be different in person (will he fat shame me, will he not remember any of my information from that first visit, or will he change his mind and not want to be my doctor)?
- Will my heart be stable or is this the appointment where they tell me I’m in heart failure or need surgery?
I am no stranger to cardiologists; I also probably know how to give myself most of these common heart tests they provide due to having had them yearly almost all my life – sometimes more than once a year! An echocardiogram is one of those tests I have had yearly. However, for the 10 years before I moved to MA, the echocardiogram was one of those tests I feared and at that time I could talk my now ex husband into going with me. An echo can be given two ways, one without contrast and one with. Due to not loving the way the contrast makes me feel, I get very anxious when I know this is the test I have to have. Long story short – I did not have to have contrast and this made my entire day much less of an issue.
The procedure WAS 45 minutes away, however, and I knew I did NOT want to take public transportation. I knew I would have to make this and future appointments considering Jeremys’ (fiancé) work schedule, and he graciously volunteered to take a day off of work to take me to my first in person visit. This would have given me some relief but due to Covid, only the patient could go in (UGH).
Jeremy was able to find it with the help of GPS and the map that the doctor’s office provided. He drove me up to the drop off, and I got out and sat on a bench outside to go over my instructions. When I headed inside the elevators were pretty close right inside the doors, sending me up to the lobby. I exited into the lobby and there was nice seating there which was helpful as my legs were weak and wobbly. So, I took a deep breath and did what was best for me. I called the office and told them I was there and ready to come up (7th floor by the way), but that I was in the lobby and needed an extended wheelchair transport up to their office. So, within about 10 minutes a female and male came with a big wheelchair. The guy was the size of my leg, and I semi wondered if he would in fact be able to push me. He did run down upon seeing me to see if they had a bigger chair but they did not, so I squashed myself into the chair and after a bit of trouble with the leg supports, I was on my way to the echo. After getting past the fear that he would not be able to move me, I was fine. I did mention after the echo how I bet he didn’t know he was going to get his workout done at work and he laughed and said it’s no problem. All worries and thoughts were gone with the laughter and I was at ease.
When we got to the room where I’d wait for the doctor, I met nurse Isabelle. She was the nurse on duty, who took my vitals. Any stress that was still hanging on was fully released after this point. This is what I mean when I tell people that the staff working at a doctors office will make or break your assumptions if you like the doctor at all. She was so nice, fun, and kind. I was at total peace by the time my Dr. came in.
The doctor was very polite and didn’t make me feel crazy. He answered my questions as well as remembered things about me from our first visit through FaceTime. I was so happy that he remembered and was not like some of the other doctors I had visited since being here that could not remember my name much less my health issues. This was such an unexpected positive factor! He went over the things he needed to. He took off my shoe to see my foot and swelling and then tried to put my boot back on for me. Trust me when I say that is not a common practice for doctors. I finally told him I’d do it before I left … I have a foot thing that makes it hard to get my foot into a boot. I in fact had to take off my sock and enlist the help of Isabelle to finally get it on. Just the action of him trying to help me made me feel so good and like he cared. I know everyone actually reading this is wondering about the weight talk. Let me be clear at this point, I brought up my weight myself and mentioned how much I had gained over the last two years. I brought up the fact my relationship with food had changed and I didn’t know how to change it back. I then admitted about the fear I had of moving about and becoming breathless.
Dr. Carroll addressed my concerns, and thinks that the breathlessness yes had to do with my added weight and lack of physical conditioning. I was very honest about my fear to push myself physically. He assured me my heart could take a bit of pushing and it would be good for me. I do need to see a pulmonologist for my asthma and I have the option of getting in touch with a weight loss clinic he gave me the name of. He said there were two clinics he would recommend to people, and because he remembered my desire to not have weight loss surgery, he recommended one that was more about helping people rather than pushing for weight loss surgery (I SMILED SO BIG INSIDE AT THIS!). Hearing him say this meant he remembered our first conversation and was indeed actively listening. He ended the visit with the knowledge that he reviewed my echo and didn’t see anything to worry about, but once the doctor who reads them goes over them they would be in touch if anything was amiss. He then gave me the name of the weight loss clinic and told me as of now he sees no reason he would need to see me until the following year for a checkup. I was so relieved! He also told me if any problems arose to reach out.
So with that visit done I was on my way out with Isabelle rolling me up to the front desk to make my next appointment for the following year. Wheelchair transport was called and I texted Jeremy who told me he was in the lobby area, and he would wait for me there due to the proximity of the garage close to the lobby area. I got impatient waiting for transport so I asked the original guy who took me up to my appointment if he could roll me down to the elevators and he said sure. When we got to Jeremy, he took over and pushed me out to the waiting bay in the garage where they had a place to leave the wheel chairs. He went to get the car pulled right up and I got in, and it was the most uneventful and flawless appointment I have had in quite some time.
In closing, there was much worry when in reality there wasn’t much to worry about. This visit taught me to speak up for what I need, to accept my abilities and disabilities, and to know that I am a human with needs and if I validate that others will too. I hope my experience can ease your mind about an upcoming appointment or an appointment you need to make.
All my good vibes are going out to you and my wish for you to remember your worth and your validation. You are important!