Walking through the Hospital door with V we walked over to a rather unfriendly looking receptionist sitting behind an elegant looking desk. I wonder if it is a prerequisite of the Job that all Hospital receptionists need to be of an unfriendly disposition to progress in their chosen field. Perhaps they start of being nice and cheery and end up being dull and unfriendly. Perhaps it’s all an unfortunate side affect of spending their day staring out at sickly faces. Who knows, but I sure got the cream of the bunch today… In my most charming voice I asked for directions to the Cardiology Department. The gruff response I got was clinical, concise and final…. “Up the stairs to the Left, Second floor, third on the right”…. And that was it!
Walking up the stairs I wondered all sorts of daft stuff.. Will I get out of here today, what if my heart is screwed, do they do heart transplants here! The sooner I got this over with the better!!!!
Arriving at the cardiology reception, the young chap manning the reception desk was rather friendly in a metro sexual sort of way. He was definitely friendlier than the “Bint” at main reception. This was a lad I could do some man chat with while I waited. Unfortunately, he was just about to end his shift. V and I sat down and low and behold who turned up to relieve him but “Bint biddy” from reception downstairs. Never rains but it pours they say!
Sitting in the waiting room you can’t but help glance around and wonder what all the other poor sods are there for. Given this was the Cardiac waiting room there was a fairly good chance they all had some form of heart complaint. Guessing I would say the average age in the room was about sixty. So what the hell am I doing here at forty? We must have sat in that dammed waiting room for about an hour! Turned out the consultant was running late from an earlier appointment or at least that was what “Bint Biddy” was telling everyone. When my name was finally called we got up and headed for the consulting room which was located at the end of a long corridor. I felt like a man condemned as I walking towards it….
All hopes of a cute consulting cardiologist vanished when I walked into the room. There, sitting on his throne, was what I can only describe as the gruffest looking Doctor I have ever seen. Doctor H was his name. His manner was direct, matter of fact and very affirmed! Not the kind of chap who would like getting questioned about his diagnosis. I could see this was going to end badly as soon as V started questioning him on the more holistic side of blood pressure control. Suffice to say that conversation ended in him suggesting that perhaps my high BP was partially influenced by my wife. Not a comment which sat well with V!
But I digress, what happed after the brief introduction was far more worrying. I recounted all the symptoms I had experienced over the past few weeks / months, recounting the knockout and subsequent high blood pressure findings followed by the heart fluttering etc. After I had presented my tail of woe he took the usual blood pressure readings which were high but not as bad as it had been over the past few weeks. He then for whatever reason decided to run an ECG. Whether he decided to do this as a result of something he heard while listing to my heart beat I do not know but I could tell from the look of worry on my good wife’s face that this turn of events was not as expected!
After hooking me up, he ran a trace which looked just like those traces you see on TV during lie detector tests. He looked at the results for a moment then turned and declared I had an enlarged left ventricle, most likely as a result of long term exposure to high blood pressure. “Bollocks” was the first though I had, quickly followed by shock! Before I could formulate something coherent to say he declared he wanted to confirm the diagnosis with an Ultrasound. Turns out the ECG gives an indication while an ultrasound allows the accurate measurement of any enlargement. In short, he could determine the thickness of the muscle wall in my heart from an Ultrasound. Once this was done he would then be able to measure the scale of the problem and recommend a best course of action. The only words I heard at that moment were, “Best” and “action”. At least there was something to be done I told myself. I looked over at V who by this point had turned white. I could tell she was worried. I could also tell that Doc H was not for providing any further words of comfort, other than “nothing a few pills wont fix old chap, at least for the moment anyway!” I suspect his next fee paying geriatric was likely to furnish him with a far more lucrative case than I had been able to muster up. Anyway, his parting words were that he would be in touch to arrange the Ultrasound along with a 24hr blood pressure monitoring test. We both left feeling rather lost. All hope or even desire to go for a quick pint had long vanished by this point! Driving home that evening the only though I kept having was! “How do I fix this?”….