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Archive for February 2012

Why Do We Put So Much Trust In Doctors?

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Let’s start off by saying I am perfectly fine, so nobody has to worry. Did you read that Mom?

Now on to the good parts!

I visited my General Practitioner MD in January for a routine physical since I was overdue when I didn’t have any insurance thanks to my job getting outsourced in September. As usual, everything was fine. I’ve never had an EKG done before so it was pretty cool to watch the nurse hook up all the leads to read the electrical activity of my heart. Everything was going along as well as a routine physical does until the doctor read the EKG.

“Hmmm…there’s a change here that I don’t like.”


“Yeah, there’s something here that doesn’t seem normal. We’ll set you up with a Cardiologist.”

WTF? I run 20+ miles a week; exercise at least three other times during the week and eat a pretty healthy diet. I have never smoked, only drink socially (sometimes more socially than others) and only take vitamins. Clearly there is some mistake.

The initial appointment with the Cardiologist was ridiculous. He took my EKG again (and my $75.00 copay) and pretty much verified what my GP said. While my EKG is not “normal”, it may be normal for me.

Hey, thanks for that!

So next it was time for an Echo cardiogram; but not before waiting 10 days for another appointment.

Hello?!! I’m already feeling my left arm and pinky going numb since I found out my EKG isn’t normal! I’m blaming everything from my t-shirts being too tight around my armpits to the steroids I was taking for a minor back pain I had. 10 days?! I’ll be dead by then!

OK, so I survived the wait and now it was time for the Echo cardiogram. I was pretty relaxed since I hadn’t died yet and the steroids were finished and out of my system so my “numbness” went away. I was feeling pretty good until I actually saw my heart beating and the valves opening and closing during the exam. I’m pretty interested in science and medicine but I really don’t need to see my insides, especially my heart. It made me realize that just maybe I won’t live forever like I am planning on.

The technician and I were joking around as she questioned why I needed this test. From what she saw, there was nothing wrong but of course she couldn’t actually tell me that.

Of course the Cardiologist was nowhere to be found but I had my stress test scheduled for another week or so, so maybe I would see him then.

More time off from work and I’m at the office where they perform the stress tests. As I’m sitting in the waiting room, some poor woman “codes” during her test and a squadron of EMTs wheel her out and immediately admit her to ICU.


I finally get called and have to wait in another room. A young girl is there waiting with her mother. The mother’s stress test wasn’t going as well as it should so they gave her some kind of medication to simulate stresses on the heart. SHE almost had to get carried out too.

(Holy $hit!)

Now it was my turn. Once again I was hooked up to an EKG machine for a pre-test reading. I mentioned to the nurse that regardless of what happens on the test, I am NOT letting them use ANY drugs on me to stress my heart. She assured me that they WOULD get my heart raised without resorting to drugs.

(Oh, I see how it’s going to be. There seemed to be a battle of wills going on here. Bring it on!)

I came from work for this test and had to go back after it was over, so I only changed into my running shoes while still wearing a polo shirt and jeans. Not the outfit I wanted to wear if I was going to get all hot and sweaty but it would have to do.

I got on the treadmill and began the test. It started easy enough with a nice slow walking pace but every two minutes the speed and elevation of the treadmill was increased. After six minutes, I had to start jogging as the speed was not quite a run but not a walk anymore. Eight minutes in and the speed and elevation were raised once again.

(Hmmm…. Maybe I started jogging a bit too early. I’m starting to feel the burn and work up a sweat.)

Twelve minutes in and I’m trying to slow down my breathing with an old trick I learned while running track in high school but I realized I might mess up the test so I just let my breathing naturally quicken. I was really starting to get hot now. The nurses told me they had enough data and I could stop any time I wanted. At thirteen minutes I was done. I could have gone longer but I was mentally bored and I really didn’t want to go back to work in sweaty clothing.

I was told by the two nurses that I had the heart of a 20-year-old. Ha! Take that America’s youth!

Finally after seven weeks of worrying, testing and practically dying, it was time for follow-up visit with the Cardiologist. Once again I get hooked up for an EKG and surprise, surprise; it had “changed” since my last visit!

(Hahahahaha, what is going on here?!)

Of course that is all “perfectly normal” according to the doctor and he really has no answer as to how it happens; just one of those things.

So after all the time off from work, all the testing and yes, worrying that I brought on myself, my EKG is what it is, my heart is perfectly normal and there is nothing the doctor can tell me to do or not to do. Go out and live your life; run all you want, exercise as much as you want.

Oh, but let’s set up a follow-up visit in three months and then another one in eight months.

And by the way, the stress test stops after 21-minutes. “You really should have kept going.”

Don’t you worry Doc; the next time that machine is mine!

Written by David A. Ufer

February 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Posted in Health

Random Thoughts From The Weekend

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I met a friend for a weekend in Walt Disney World. Here are some of the thoughts, ideas and general ramblings we came up with.

– I can always tell when I am approaching WDW on I-4; the driving becomes exponentially worse the closer one gets to the Disney exits. And the moron passing on the right side emergency lane at highway speed will never be forgotten.

– I am very disappointed with what is now passing as entertainment in Pleasure Island/West Side. PI used to have comedy clubs, night clubs and dancing clubs. Saturday night they had a flamenco guitarist in front of the closed Comedy Warehouse, a silver painted lady who stood still for hours at a time in front of the closed Adventurer’s Club and a lone guitarist backed by recorded tracks at the West Side. Very sad indeed.

– an hour wait for a table at Fulton’s Crab House was very well worth it! However, if you plan on having more than one glass of wine per person, buy the bottle.

– race car drivers don’t necessarily make good astronauts.

– the Norway pavilion is still my favorite attraction in EPCOT. I could sit in the “fishing village” all day and be very content.

– Patrón lime margaritas are wonderful!

– persistence pays off!

– isn’t it odd that when parents cross busy streets with small children, the baby strollers always enter the roadways first?

– I miss owning part of the Disney Vacation Club; but it will pass.

– Pizzeria Uno Spinoccoli (Spinach, broccoli, chunky tomatoes, feta, Cheddar, mozzarella & grated Romano cheeses) pizza baked in a deep-dish 9-grain crust was spectacular!

– the glass windows/doors at the Dolphin resort are so clean, one could walk right into them!

– when someone asks your opinion on something, be careful when answering with, “go ahead, what’s the worst that could happen?”. There are three of us who will forever find the tragic humor in that phrase.

Written by David A. Ufer

February 21, 2012 at 6:34 am

Posted in Disney, Florida, Lists

The Off-Season

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Now that the football season is over, there’s not a whole lot to watch as far as sports go. Basketball season is far, far too long, baseball hasn’t started up yet, hockey isn’t a sport since there is no ball involved and NASCAR is still a few weeks away.

So what’s someone supposed to do with all this idle time?

Thankfully I have enough fine television viewing built up on my DVR to carry me through the empty weeks. I suppose I could stop procrastinating and actually get down to some writing but the potential is so much more exciting!

I need to kick-start my New Year’s goals before the year is half over already. Some inspiration would be nice.

Eh, whatever, I think I’ll take a nap.

See you next Tuesday!

Written by David A. Ufer

February 13, 2012 at 6:51 am

Posted in Me