okey-dokey. i’m having such a bunch of trouble getting to see a heart specialist i thought i’d start documenting when and where things aren’t really happening at all…

this all starts last year (2006) when i had to go to the emergency ward (EW) four or five times. the first time i went the heart had been playing up all night, kind of beating erratically and the like. i went into the EW and they couldn’t track the problem, so i went home.

this continued twice more, and they finally caught the problem on the ECG. then sent me home.
the next time it happened they had to give me some stuff to make the heart go, gave me a prescription, and send me back to the GP.

the next time it happened they finally kept me in overnight, monitored me and the like. after lying in a bed for over 24 hours i gave up waiting for the heart consultant to actually take time to see me and checked out. fact is, someone much sicker than i could be using that bed. if that consultant had gotten it together to talk with me, i could have been gone in less than 8 hours.

they gave me an appointment to see a specialist, and off i went.

i think i might have gone in again a couple of times after that?

anyhow, months later i finally got to see a specialist, but was fobbed off with some junior doctor who did not try to diagnose me. he just issued some medication, and sent me away with a vague mention of a follow-up appointment. this was over a year ago.

so, the next thing that happens is the medication stops working when i was in melbourne (Feb 2007). i check myself into royal melbourne hospital, and they immediately gave me a referral to a specialist in australia. of course, i can’t see one because i live in wellington… more fool me.

when i get home i try to see a specialist, but my gp tells me that it’s better to stay in the public system, because tests and the like are incredibly expensive.

now, here’s the stickler. 1 week after i speak with the gp i phone up wellington hospital to find out what’s happening with the cardiologist appointment. none has been made. apparently it takes over a week just for them to recieve mail from newtown, travelling all the way to newtown. fair enough. at least they have the letter. this is february 20th.

i phone back on march the 18 and find out that an appointment has only just been made. apparently it takes a week for mail to travel internally from cardiology to the central registry, and then it takes them two weeks to make an appointment. it then takes another week for news of that appointment to travel back to cardiology.

of course, now the appointment is sometime in june. or maybe july. i dunno.

and, they’re calling this the ‘follow-up’ appointment to my last one. what the fuck?! this appointment was made because i experienced heart trouble for four days, went to a gp and reported it.

anyhow, after almost passing out in the ocean while snorkelling, experiencing light-headedness and constant tachycardia at weird intervals, i go back to the gp and ask that something be done. nothing is being done.

so here we are today. april 2, 2007. it’s been well over a year since i started having symptoms, and all i have to go on is that it’s one or more of three different heart conditions.

the latest news? spoke the gp last thursday again, after an afternoon of on-again off-again arrythmia, and she referred me a medical clinic for some tests. finally!! tests!

the lab fucked it up. i spent all day at home not taking my medication and collecting urine in a bucket, by the lab didn’t put acid in the bottle. will have to repeat it.

as a consequence i had to come home early today, and check myself back into the EW because of the arrythmia!! unbelievable….

UPDATE: April 10. got an appointment! June 18… it’s a start at least.

UPDATE: May 16. after a gruelling day of not taking the heart medication and collecting a bunch of urine for a test a weekend or so ago (will spare you the details), i popped in the gp to see what the go is. the good news? no blood issues (no diabetes, calcium issues, good red blood cell count, blah blah blah. but… it takes 10 days for the urine to be processes. luckily the test was for some kind of rare disease.

only a month to the cardiology exam!

UPDATE: June 1. 2007 appointment pushed back two days to June 20…

UPDATE: June 20. Finally, after 16 months, and appointment with the specialist. He’s diagnosed tests… I find myself asking why this couldn’t have happened 15 months ago. But. Gift Horse, mouth, yada yada.

UPDATED: June 23. Looks like things are finally moving. Except, now I have to wait 3 months to have a ecocardiogram, and then a month after that to see the specialist again. 25 Sept and 10 October!

UPDATE: July 27. Off to see a cardiologist again. This time to see if I qualify for something called ablation. We shall see. If not, then I might be taking these drugs for a long, long time.

UPDATE: July 27. Yup. At least 12 months, maybe 18, until I can expect an appointment in Auckland. This appointment? To try and figure out what’s wrong. That move back to 1st world medical treatment in Australia is looking better and better…

UPDATE: September 24 2007. Yup, finally fixed. Probably.

UPDATE: 7 July 2008. Nope. Not fixed. Although they do know more. My uncle correctly diagnosed me after reading my blog..

UPDATE: 9 August 2008. Well, had one trip to Auckland hospital when I was there three weeks ago. They just doubled the dose of the verapamil, sent me home. Am currently  waiting to go to heart clinic again. This time I’m going to ask very clearly for a diagnosis.

UPDATE 18 August 2008. Ongoing Medical Dramas

30 August: Atrial Fib started last nite about 930. No clear reason for onset, played up all night, went to EW around 8am. Spend 5 hours there can then came home. Kicked back into sinus at around 5pm today. Will start recording every event to make it easier for Cardiologist to know what’s going on.

September Sometime: Halter Monitor. Yawn.

February 26 2009: Barium X-ray of stomach. Turns out I do have partial situs inversus. Stomach is on right side. Hasn’t been a hassle until now, so it will hopefully remain one. Am wanting to get Chef Du Plunge checked out though.

April 27, 2009: Final heart clinic for a year. Since there has been no flutter, and we know now what the problem *might* be, i’ll be back in clinic in a year all things going well. Would be nice to actually get a diagnosis, but a complacent and happy specialist will have to do.

May 30, 2009 Atrial Flutter kicks in around 945pm, and pesters me until around 10am.

29 August 2009: Flutter kicks in in the evening, perhaps 9pm, continuing to pester at 8am.

1 November 2009: Flutter occuring when I wake at 1.30am. Still occurring in morning.

17 December 2009: Flutter kicks in around 830pm, still occuring in morning. ran for about 36 hours.

6 June 2010: flutter starting around 830. continues until approx 330 the next day. a long one, was beginning to get slight pains in the chest.

6 feb 2011: flutter starting around 3, just after i woke up from a nap. settled after a few hours, around dinner

2 oct 2011: flutter starting in morning around 8 am, continues throughout the day but gonewhen i wake in the morning

12 nov 2011: flutter starting not long after 1730. continues into night (woke up with tacycardia). wake with potential to drop to flutter, but it is gone by 0930 when we head out for the day.

early january 2012: flutter kicking off at kight, perhaps 2am. continues throughout the day, only ceasing in the evening. treated myself with two verapamil and some strong coffee. working all day on the house helped.

24 august 2012 – started 8pm fridat evening. no resolution by sunday morning, so headed to the ER. by afternoon i had been zapped wih the paddles. resolved, but mysteriously kicked in again as i was leaving the hospital… i have a suspicion it may ve food related? will head back to the hodpital tomorrow morning if it hasn’t resolved overnight.

27 august 2012- ongoing drama. the blood thinner they prescribed seems to be adversely effecting e. wetnt through to the Er again this afternoon. they told me to go to my GP if there is any ongoing problems. going to take the pradaxa after the wee man goes to bed. will see if it kicks me into tachycardia like it seemed to this morning. the good news is that they’re currently tryingto work out if it’s flutter or fibrillation.

28 august 2012 – after meeting with cardiologist  i decided to increase my dose of verapamil to 240mg temporarily. seems to hav done the trick. will get the new prescription of 160mg 2x a day tomorrow, and it should keeep things on track.

29 august 2012 – glad to report that the change in medication seems to have sorted things out for now.

17 march 2013 – 6-monthly arrymthia started up when i woke up. was calm initially, but started to get uncomfortable. solution was to rest for awhile (the family went out to the markets). next i tried taking an 80mg isotopin and applied special remedy M to jump start the heart. avoided coffee all day. overall it did the trick, the day was a tiny bit edgy, but i didn’t spend it in ER…

12 Responses to “medical history”

  1. exexpat Says:

    Speaking as someone who knows what’s wrong with me and what procedure is needed to correct the problem, I would recommend that if you have the cash, just go private or try and get into Medicare.

    Best of luck and I hope it isn’t anything too serious.

  2. beth r Says:

    sweet jesus. are you living in a third world country or something?

    i hope everything turns out well. eventually. some day.

  3. Che Tibby Says:

    i often wonder the same thing myself…

  4. jon Says:

    I worked in a public hosptial in Auckland for a year or 2 on a few of their clinical IT systems. If you present at ED as a male with chest pain and history of ticker problems, the process should be that they hook you up to an ECG fairly quickly. At the time I was working there, we started electronically collecting ECG data for historical reference (a baseline in other words). I would think that the collection and electronic storage of ECG’s would now be common practice across the public sector health org’s. ECG’s were being performed by nurses and are the Cardioligists key diagnostic tool from what I recall.

    There are a couple of other tests that we were looking into collecting data for. Holter monitors (being a small ECG like machine that you carry with you for a period, typically a day). The other was a stress test, typically performed on a treadmill under the supervision of a Cardiac Technologist (perhaps that’s not the exact title, but it’s been more than 7 years since I left Middlemore so time has faded my memory around this).

    Basically you should be getting an ECG done whenever you present with symptoms and these should be available for future reference. The Cardiologists and indeed the ED consultants (senior ED Docs) seem to be pretty good at interpreting the ECG output.

    Perhaps it’s time to change your GP. Sorry I can’t help with a recommendation.

  5. Che Tibby Says:

    jon, thanks. i’ve had ecg out the wazoo. the main problem is just getting to the specialist at the cardiology department here.

    the wait is a minimum of three months. but it averages 5…

  6. merc Says:

    Che, my Dad rocked up to Middlemore with chest pains and they never left him alone, months of follow-up and on demand attention. I’m thinking it’s your age that has blipped their do not much approach.
    Maybe they not used to dealing with hearts in Welliwood.

  7. Mate Says:

    ECG cost me $400 last year and since I went private it was scheduled immediately. $400 doesn’t seem like a lot to spend on your heart. …

  8. merc Says:

    This is a surfers site, but a thread provides an mazing insight into the US health system,

    http://swaylocks.com/forum/gforum.cgi?post=333431;#333431

    And whoever knew about this system?

    http://www.mdvip.com/

    Link may not work due to overloading.

  9. Che Tibby Says:

    i’m seriously thinking that the only option i have for any decent medical care is heading back over to Oz.

    i’ll see how the next year pans out. the main trouble here isn’t the cost, it’s the availability of surgeons who can actually diagnose and fix the problem.

  10. merc Says:

    Sadly, you are right, plus I suspect that what is going to unfold in NZ over the next few months is going to affect hearts and minds even more.

  11. Chris Says:

    Che, you’re a fairly tall guy, yeah? That’s not a random remark, an uncle of mine who’s 6’4″ has been in hospital a couple of times with a racing heart (tachychardia?). They told him that it was more common in people of his height, for whatever reason.

    In his case there wasn’t any mystery about it, they zapped him to get it back to normal speed and sent him home — without telling him that he was likely to be completely over-wrought the next day, liable to end up crying at his desk, etc, etc. The next time it happened, there was a guy in the next bed with the same problem, who also didn’t get any information about what was going on and likely side effects. It seems like younger people with heart weirdness slip through the cracks a bit.

  12. Stephen Judd Says:

    Jeez, my GP in Auckland (Ellerslie Medical Centre) had ECG kit and gave me one the same day I complained of palpitations.

    I was lucky enough to have private cover through partner’s work that got me a Holter test and a going over from a cardiologist quick smart. It sucks, but maybe investigating private care is the best option. Or moving to Auckland, which has specialists up the wazoo all along Remuera Road…

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