Laura's Life Day by Day

These are the things that go on in Laura's life. Thoughts, emotions, concerns, and just day to day living in Laura's world.

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Location: Roseville, Michigan, United States

I've been married for thirty years now. I have three grown children and five grandchildren, and another due in November. My boys are both married and my youngest, my only daughter still lives at home. I work at an assisted living place taking care of elderly residents.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Just a physical please

OK, as you know if you read this blog regularly, the owners of my work are selling the assisted living facility to new owners. I am not sure yet just who those new owners will be, but I know the transition will be happening soon. Therefore, I figured since I have good insurance now and who knows what I'll get when the new people take over, I thought I'd get a physical, new glasses, and my teeth checked before the policy changes. Well, I got as far as the physical. Now, when I went in that doctors office, I was feeling pretty good. You see, I don't usually go in for regular check ups, I just go when I'm sick, get something to help me get better, and then forget about the doctor until the next time I get sick. Not this time.
My brother wanted me to get my cholesterol checked because his was high even though he's not overweight and he's very active. My best friend, Betty keeps harping on me about a pap test and a mamogram, and Sammy at work says I should go to the doctor about this dull pushing pain that I've been experiencing for the past few months in my chest. I think I just hurt myself from putting on one of my very large resident's compression boots every day. Also everytime I go to the doctor with bronchitis, he always tells me to set up an appointment for a breathing test when I'm feeling better . . . which of course, I never do. So I make the appointment at the doctor's office. They tell me I have to fast for 14 hours to get a proper reading on my cholesterol test. This sucks bigtime!!! However, I'm a good girl and I starve myself for the 14 hours before my appointment and I go into the office feeling hungry, but good. I get weighed, get into the room and the nurse asks me what I'm there for. I tell her, just for a physical. Then she asks me a ton of questions such as. . . when was your last period, when was your last pap test, last mamogram. She gasps when I tell her the last time I got a pap test or a mamogram was when my Sheila was 9 years old. Then I tell her about my brothers cholesterol levels being why I wanted mine checked and about the dull pain in my chest. She doesn't seem too concerned, takes my blood pressure, which is a little on the high side, tells me to pee in a cup she hands me and leaves the room. I go to the bathroom, pee in the cup, then go back to exam room where the nurse is waiting for me with one of those stupid tie up hospital type gowns. She tells me to take everything off and put the robe on and that the doctor will be with me shortly. Which I do, no problem.
Then the trouble starts. The doctor comes in with this very concerned look on his face and starts with "lets start at the begginning." He asks why after all these years did I decide to come in for a pap test now? Asks if there was anything wrong that caused this decision to be made. He smirked when I told him no, but while I was getting examed I might as well get one of those tests too so my best friend would get off my back about it every time I see her.
Then he starts in with my brother's cholesterol problem, asks about different diseases that family members have. He becomes very interested about my dad's valve replacement surgery and the fact that gestational heart defects run on his side of the family and that my dad found out when they did surgery on him that he was born missing one of his heart valves, which was probably the reason for him having an enlarged heart since he was about 40. The doctor writes stuff down then leaves the room. OK, now I'm getting really nervous.
The nurse comes back in to get me ready for the pap test. The doctor comes back in and does the test. Both the doctor and the nurse are commenting on the funny look I have on my face while this procedure is taking place. I respond by saying, Why do you think its been so long since I had one of these done? I hate these things. The doctor laughs and says, " I'd be worried about you if you said you liked it." Then he tells me about the breathing test that the nurse is going to do and tells me that she is going to take my blood. He leaves the room again.
The nurse gets my blood, and then brings out this little machine that I'm suppose to breath into as hard, but steady, as I can for as long as I can. I take a deep breath when she tells me, then I blow into this little thing. Meanwhile she is saying to me, "that's it, keep going, keep going." After the first time she makes me do this, I'm feeling dizzy. So she makes me do it 2 more times. Then I have to get a couple of chest x-rays. After that, she brings me back into the exam room, does an EKG on me and tells me the doctor will be in to talk to me shortly. Then she leaves the room. I sit there waiting for the doctor.
The doctor comes back in a short time later. He tells me that my pap test is negative and I'm thinking, well that's good. Then he tells me that he wants to set up a couple of heart tests for me. A stress test and a echocardiagram (he tells me this is an ultrasound of the heart) and also a doppler test, which I have no idea what this is. Then he tells me about the mamogram he wants to set up, which doesn't bother me at all. Then he lays on me that my breathing test results say I have moderate emphysema. He procedes to tell me that the test compares my results to that of a non smoking female. He says I have the lung funtion of a 120 year old non smoking female!!! So I say, What are you trying to tell me? That my lungs are dead or something? He says that he's not going to do anything about the lung thing until my heart test results come back. Then he wants to see me again to discuss the heart tests. He says that my lung funtion could be caused by a heart problem and he wants to rule that out first before he deals with the emphysema. I leave the office feeling scared and yes, still hungry. The next day when I get home from work, there is a message on my answering machine from the doctors office wanting me to call. I'm thinking, What now? More bad news or what? So I call the office and the receptionist tells me that my blood results came back and my cholesterol and my tryglisoride levels are too high. I think, wonderful. So now on the 30th of this month, I have to go get these tests done, then set up an appointment to see Dr. Doom and Gloom about a week later. All I keep thinking is that I hope all this stuff gets done before they switch my insurance provider at work. And all I wanted to get was a physical. Well, at least I have a normal pap test and the lung x-rays didn't show any signs of lung cancer. Thank God for small favors.


Blogger Erik Donald France said...

Laura, what a nightmare! Good God, I hope the new tests go well. All good thoughts your way.

3:06 PM, April 22, 2007  
Blogger Cheri said...

We went through a nightmare of the same sort with my mother just before Christmas. Her heart skips beats and sometimes stops for a quick moment and its quite terrifying to hear on the stesthascope or when checking her pulse for her. At one point we thought that she was goign to get a pacemaker. My grandmother had heartfailure and a whole lot of other issues. I hope that you're okay!

1:40 AM, April 23, 2007  
Blogger ShadowFalcon said...

Oh my how terrible I would have totally freaked out!

Gald your that the chest x-ray and stuff was clean

4:40 AM, April 23, 2007  
Blogger Michelle's Spell said...


That sounds grueling and awful! I'm like you -- get very nervous around doctors and have put off many visits. I hope that you're okay and that everything turns out fine!

11:52 AM, April 23, 2007  
Blogger Laura said...

Erik Donald France, Cheri, ShadowFalcon, and Michelle's Spell . . .

Thanks for the well wishes. I'll keep you all posted on the test results when I get them. Stuff like this is really scary. I figured maybe in my late sixties or early seventies I'd be going through this junk, but not at 49!!!

10:27 PM, April 23, 2007  
Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

You are the proof I'm looking for as to why I hate going for a check-up. Every time I go, they find something. Hope you're feeling better--wait, you were, are--hope everything can be corrected with ease.

12:00 AM, April 24, 2007  
Blogger Dorky Dad said...

How can you have the lung function of a 120-year-old? That makes absolutely no sense. Has anybody ever LIVED until they were 120? Did they measure that person's lung capacity?

12:40 AM, April 24, 2007  
Blogger Laura said...

JR's Thumbprints said...
You are the proof I'm looking for as to why I hate going for a check-up. Every time I go, they find something.

. . . I know, I hate going to the doctor's office. Sometimes I think it's all just guess work in a white coat.


3:46 PM, April 24, 2007  
Blogger Laura said...

Dorky Dad said...
How can you have the lung function of a 120-year-old? That makes absolutely no sense. Has anybody ever LIVED until they were 120? Did they measure that person's lung capacity?

. . . I know!!! That's what I was thinking. So what does that test result mean? I'm already dead or what? I don't trust those stupid computerized machine things anyway. I may get out of breath easily, but lungs like a 120 year old . . . I don't think so.


3:49 PM, April 24, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

I hope you are well soon! For me, it's horrible hearing news like that - whether it's a friend, a relative, or someone like yourself who is a friend I have made through blogging. I hope all the tests are ok!
Helen xxx

12:28 PM, April 27, 2007  
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