1.16.2011

A monkey penis which became smaller and smaller and finally dissolved into a rainbow

(Occasionally I want to get a little more creative with the titles here.)

I've put Maybelle in front of the TV, watching the Wiggles, so that I can do some quick blogging. I have a ton of things to blog about--several friends have emailed with various requests, and I have friends in town who are lobbying to read about themselves--but I've been really busy. So for now, here's the top priority blog post (top priority in part because of the title I came up with).

Biffle is good about reminding me, where medical issues are concerned, to start with the ending. So the ending: Biffle does not have heart disease. Instead, Biffle's heart is almost unbelievably healthy. So healthy that we both sort of didn't believe the doctor who told us about the results of a very complex 3D holographic outer space heart scan they did on him. The doctor stuck to his story, though: his heart is completely healthy. No blockages of any kind, no tears, no damage, no heart disease. Period.


Biffle is someone who routinely works far harder than an individual should work. For instance, while I was hanging out with a just born Maybelle, Biffle singlehandedly built his wood studio on the back of our house. No joke. So the other day, he decided it was time to start remodeling our bathroom. He was moving quickly since he had only an hour or so until he had to go pick Maybelle up at school, so he did what he calls "aerobic construction." At one point he found himself balancing on top of a 6' high pointy wall, holding a 4' x 4', 150 lb. window, trying to get it carefully onto the ground before he fell or dropped it, and at that point he got so winded that he said he felt out of breath for several hours.

That has never happened to him before. When he shared this story with a couple of friends--one of whom is a PT--he was told "Get to the doctor!" When he followed through with this and went to his primary care person, he got increasingly shocked, worried looks from the doctor and nurse. They did tests on him and told him there was a more than fair chance he has heart disease.

So the next day, when he felt some heart palpitations and chest pain, we went to the ER. They do take you seriously when you show up with chest pain, so they did a series of tests on him, each of which showed no problems. Finally the ER doctor told Biffle they were sending him to the chest pain center for the amazing heart scan I mentioned above. He said this test would scan Biffle's heart and lungs and reveal, definitively, where he has blockages.

"You've been smoking on and off for fifteen years," the doctor said. "You have heart blockages. They'll be treatable--we just need to figure out how severe they are."

When Biffle first told me that he might have heart disease, I initially didn't take the issue seriously (and hurt his feelings by my glibness). I realized that part of why I wasn't worried at first is that I assume Biffle's body is indestructible. The heart disease concern took a little while to break through this assumption of mine. And then, lo and behold, six hours of testing at the hospital revealed that my assumption was correct. Despite fifteen years of smoking, regular bodily abuse of various kinds, too little sleep, too much music (not to mention bacon)--a high thrill, low anxiety lifestyle, as his friend Jason characterizes it--Biffle's heart is healthier than that of most people a decade younger who've taken very, very good care of themselves.

As is often the case with medical stories, it took most of the day Friday for us to learn this. It was less than a month from the time we spent nine hours in the ER to learn that I had a completely harmless ovarian cyst. I was not happy to be back in the ER, because although I wasn't the one with a medical issue--a nice change of pace--the thought that Biffle might have heart disease was a bit of a bummer. Really, a brain tumor and heart disease in the same family? That just doesn't seem fair.

But then the monkey penis dissolved into a rainbow.  So that was our Friday.

5 comments:

Kenneth said...

Relieved to hear no heart disease. But what was wrong?

Alison said...

No telling. Could be reflux, sleep apnea, anxiety--almost anything, although most of the anythings aren't fatal.

Sarah said...

I seem to remember that Walter has pleurisy, is that right? It's shocking to hear about anything alarming enough medically to prompt him to go to the hospital. I'm glad you're alright though! And my verification word is "hoses".

Aaron said...

Man, that sucks.

I'm interested to know how you're doing.

Just my 2 cents... I've notice lately how much food affects my anxiety/fatigue/strength/etc...

So, if you're working that hard, make sure you're eating well (lots of carbs - energy, and protein - recovery).

Quiche said...

So grateful it wasn't his heart! I was feeling a bit alarmed there for a minute! James had a heart attack three years ago which lasted over a week, and since it seemed lung/breathing related, and like Walt, Mr. Invincible, we had no idea it was his heart. Fortunately we caught it in time, but he had a stint put in.

Allergic reaction maybe? I know he has had several allergic reactions requiring atropine. Tachycardia maybe? I have no blockages, an otherwise healthy heart but I have tachycardia arrhythmia- heart fires rapid/weird sometimes and it can take my breath away and make me light headed. I had to wear a 24 hr. halter monitor to catch it, otherwise it didn't show up, and it is made worse by stress. I take a beta blocker. So glad he is okay. You gotta watch those Mr. Invincible types...