I was at the IJN (National Heart Institute) for the better part of the morning today, March 03, 2010. It was the culmination of a series of tests conducted which started sometime last month and I came away smiling from ear to ear.
I got it off my chest. Yes, that’s where it all started, my chest. There was a slight tinge on my left side where the heart is. It came at odd times lasting just seconds though not that frequent, but enough to cause worry to me. The GP years ago said it was muscular. The specialist that saw me quite recently said the same thing.
I want a second opinion I said, not that it mattered to anyone. If it was anything to do with the heart, a pain would have been triggered off by a physical activity, say 'running up the stairs or rushing to catch a plane.', they said. There ought to be an exertion of some sort on your being, not when watching the TV or while having a meal.
It may not have anything to do with the heart they reasoned. So it is, I thought, but still it left me unsettled. It was unsettling and it was worrisome.
In the meantime, my blood pressure is under control through medication so also my cholesterol. I needn’t worry.
The good thing about the medical specialists looking after me were their positive attitudes. None stopped me. They encouraged me to explore the various avenues to determine what was the affliction. So started the series of tests.
First, the Stress Test on the treadmill and the accompanying ECG. I did the walk, brisk walk, slight trot, faster and faster trot and completed Level 3 within the standard time required for my age. Would I need to go on to Level 4? No, I did not have to prove anything, so I stopped there.
I then sought a reference to the IJN, the premier heart institute in the country. I mean, if you cannot trust the IJN with your heart who else would you trust.
Second, 3 weeks ago I went to the IJN for a CT Coronary Angiogram. It was a heart scan in simple terms. A ‘spiral imaging with resrospective gating was performed’ – images in colour from various angles in other words!
Aorta: - ascending aorta is normal in size with no significant atherosclerosis - descending aorta is normal in size with no significant atherosclerosis
Myocardium: - appears normal . No evidence of scar or other abnormalities
Chambers: - normal size chambers
Valves: - normal to extent visualized
(my comment: I am fascinated by the word ‘normal’ in all instances)
Third, the Pathology Report(blood test) showed all were within range, kidneys are ok and cholesterol is ok
Fourth, the Echo done this morning showed an EF of an acceptable % ( the number I shouldn’t reveal here)
All in all, it was a satisfying morning. So what’s next?
All that I’ve heard before as advised by the GP ought to be given serious adherence not just serious thoughts ie Diet and Exercise
Diet - you can eat what you want but of a smaller portion and of less frequency. Less carbohydrates and noodles but take oats and fibres. No limits on fruits and vegetables, take fish and chicken but avoid red meat and anything deep fried. So it is , simple enough (now to be religiously adhered to, yes, adhered to)
Exercise - No, not jogging. Just brisk walking around the neighbourhood. BUT do it! Yes, a regime ought to be worked out and improvements to weight shedding to be noted. (It should not have to follow the vigorous gym work of the ‘Biggest Loser’ though)
I ought to renew my ‘love affair’ again and be more demanding. Yes, my clubs are all rusty. I will have to go back to the Driving Range to hit some balls first. My ‘golf muscles’ ought to be toned up and fitness enhanced. Only then can I accept calls from my buddies to have that round of golf ‘on a regular basis’ again ( which I had declined all these while ‘on doctor’s orders’)
Last but not least, a regular medical check-up every 6 months must be done to keep in check anything untoward that might just appear undetected.
Tiger Woods has gone through rehab and ‘domestic counselling’. He is ready to take on the world again. So am I!