See you later, doc
I started seeing my cardiologist in the spring of 2014.
When we first started working together, he wanted to see me ALL the time.
I was in there every two weeks for the first summer. He loved taking my blood (and my pee!), tinkering with my meds, giving me EKGs, doing all sorts of autonomic tests and watching what happened to the blood in my body when I stood for different periods of time.
Dr. A is the most thorough doctor I’ve ever had.
Over the last two years, we’ve changed the frequency of our appointments. I’ve never gone more than 3 months without seeing him or his wife, another cardiologist (They’re married and they practice highly specialized cardiology together and living the dream together? DOES IT GET MORE ROMANTIC?!) —
Since the initial “we need to learn everything about your body” intake period that lasted a full summer, I’ve seen them every six weeks. We’ve talked about my POTS, my EDS, how it interacts with my depression, my daily routines, my goals, my failures, my triumphs, everything. Their nurses and physicians assistants take the most extensive notes and patient histories that I’m fearful of how many gigabytes of data their servers are storing.
Yesterday, I went in for an appointment and my numbers are great. I still get splotchy and sweaty and thirsty and complain “GET ME A CHAIR” after two minutes of standing, but my heart rate no longer spikes 40 BPM from getting up. It only rises 20 BPM.
I got to go off of one of my meds. I didn’t ask to change anything else and my doctor reinforced, “yes, you definitely need to stay on Midodrine, you really need it” because of my blood’s propensity for pooling in my limbs.
But as she left (I saw Dr. A’s wife yesterday) (and not before ordering a 24-hour Holter Monitor, just because it’s good to do them), she said she’d see me in six months.
Half a year from now.
Even though feeling well should be the indicator of progress, not arbitrary numbers—that “see you in six months” was the arbitrary number that felt like the marker of growth.
I’m far from recovered, but I’m at a place where I can take care of myself, independent of my doctor. I’m stable. My aches and pains are unpredictable, yes, but they’re not out of control to the point where I feel like I need to go to a hospital. My nausea pops up a lot, sure, but I haven’t puked in a while. I get dizzy a lot, but I haven’t felt like I’ve been stuck in spinning teacups for quite some time.
And that is great.
I’m not in too much pain to the point where I can’t sleep. I’m not choking on food when I eat. And some days I have enough energy to put my laundry away.
So knock on wood, pray I don’t jinx anything, do all of those things to ensure that this doesn’t change.
Because seeing numbers change like that is pretty cool.