Disclaimer – The following post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or sickness. Please use caution if any parts apply to your specific situation and contact a health care professional for further advice.
Welcome to the 3rd chapter of my crazy POTS journey! I hope you have been enjoying it thus far. Remember to subscribe for email updates on new posts 😊 Reach out for any further questions or comments!
Part 1 –
The exact order of events from here on out may vary a bit due to the massive amount that occurred in such a small period of time. I am doing my best to remain true to the sequential order things occurred medically, but some things I mention (while historically accurate) may have happened in a slightly different order.
I had just proved to Rachel that my heart rate was doing some crazy things. 145 beats per minute when standing was quite excessive. I laid in the living room of Rachel’s apartment and cried. I was scared. I had this headache that hadn’t gone away in over two months, I felt like my heart was going to give out at any moment, and I felt alone mentally and spiritually. I had not hung out with my friends since January (It was early April). Why was God doing this to me? Throughout this journey I felt so abandoned by society because no one believed I was sick. I relied so heavily on Rachel for support that I was driving her mad. I had to ask her EVERY day if I was going to be ok. And EVERY day she told me yes, that I was fine. And for the first time that night, she said she didn’t know what was going on and that she too was worried.
Armed with this confirmed symptom, I headed back to my doctor wanting some actions. My doctor is private practice, so he can squeeze me in to see him whenever I need. Lots of pros and cons to private practice vs corporate providers, but that is the route I chose. The next day he was able to get me in to see him, and I remember that appointment like it was yesterday. It had been three weeks on the headache medication so I was convinced that the trial had not worked and we needed to do something else. I also wanted to address my heart that was now going to stop working any second based on my Google research.
(Interesting fact I would like to point out real quick. As you all know by now, this story eventually leads to the diagnosis of issues I have while standing. Heart rate gets high and blood pressure gets low. When you go to see a doctor, they check these two vital stats each time. However, they measure them while you are SITTING in a chair. That is why my issues had not been caught up to this point. While I am sitting all my stats are within normal range.)
After my doctor was done listening to everything I had to say and was done with his own evaluation of me (per the usual process), I convinced him to check my heart rate standing up. The device he used to measure this was angled so that I could not see the screen and he began taking a read. He looked down at the screen then back at me. He left it clipped to my finger for a while longer. He looked down at the screen again. He then asked me to sit down, and he took another reading. He immediately unclipped the heart rate monitor and walked out of the room without saying a word to me. WHAT THE HECK. If I wasn’t nervous already, I for sure was now.
After what seemed like an hour (but was probably closer to a couple minutes) he came back into the room. “You heart rate was 128 standing. It was 70 sitting down. I have seen heart rates jump up some while standing, but never 50+ beats per minute. I even checked it twice because I thought my monitor was broken. We need to get you in to see a cardiologist.” He had me do an EKG while I was there to check for anything else strange. By this point I was basically in a panic attack, so of course my EKG while laying down had readings over 100 the whole time. But electrically everything looked fine. Thank God. He decided it was also time to refer me to a neurologist (as my headaches were not getting any better, an ENT (I was having ringing in my ears and severe sinus pressure), and a therapist (I was depressed). I left his office with a prescription for a beta blocker to lower my heart rate, an anti-depressant for my sanity, and referrals to four different doctors.
My doctor is the man when it comes to getting me in to see a specialist quickly. A couple phone calls and within a couple days I had seen the cardiologist and the ENT. This theme continued over the next month as I saw 2 to 3 doctors each week.
At the cardiologist I again had an elevated heart rate while standing. But I was now on the beta blocker my doctor had given me, so it was not as dramatic for my standards (65 sitting and 85 standing). I also was beginning to have troubles breathing and difficulties taking deep breaths, so I brought that to his attention. The cardiologist did not think anything severe was wrong, seemed to imply that it was anxiety related, and told me to come back for a follow up in 6 months. He ordered an echocardiogram and a stress test to be sure nothing structurally was wrong, but that was scheduled out a couple weeks later. I left his office feeling defeated.
At the ENT (Ears Nose Throat), the appointment went just as “well”. Earlier I had done a CT scan on my sinus cavities to make sure they weren’t infected. The majority of the appointment was him telling me that I did not have an infection anywhere causing my elevated heart rate (which was true). This ENT was the surgeon who did my tonsillectomy and septoplasty, and looking back on it now I think he may have been under the impression I was blaming his surgery for all my issues. Although I never once said this, I would like to give people the benefit of the doubt where I can. This appointment ended in a total disaster as he tried to tell me I shouldn’t be getting married under this much stress (yes he actually lectured me on this), I was going to lose my job if I didn’t go seek some mental therapy, and that there was nothing more he could do for me so don’t schedule a follow up. In my post appointment notes, he wrote to my regular doctor that he “recommend this patient seek a psychiatric evaluation as I believe all of his issues would resolve if he gets help”. We saved this letter to never forget the humiliation. What a guy. A good surgeon though.
I headed back to my doctor with no answers, needing a psychiatric evaluation, and heartbroken thinking about the thought of not marrying Rachel. *Although I write as if it is completely absurd that a doctor would accuse me of needing psychiatric help, I admit and try my best to express in this blog that I was not in a good place mentally. A lot of my symptoms WERE being caused from me working myself up, not getting enough sleep, obsessing on Google, etc. But the point I would like to make is that stress/anxiety CONTRIBUTED to my underlying issue. It was NOT the cause.
To be Continued…
Part 2 – NBA Playoffs
WARNING: This is going to be about sports.
My passion is basketball.
I have been playing basketball since day 1. I lived in Alaska for the first seven years of my life and the only sport they played up there was basketball. Men’s city league (more like local village league) was the biggest show in town. Standing room only to see 30+ year old men and women play in the same tournaments every weekend. My parents both have shelves of trophies at their home from their “town team playin’ days”.
As big of passion I have for basketball, I am quite average at the game myself. I’ve been known to knock down an open three at the rec center. And some say if you listen closely at night you can hear the ghosts of all the ankles I crossed over back in high school. But in all seriousness, I am and always will be a fan of the game. And my favorite level of play is the highest in all the land. THE NBA.
Before the haters roll their eyes at me, give me a couple quick seconds to defend the league.
- No one plays any defense in the NBA.
Anyone who says this has either never actually watched an NBA game, watched a blow out game that didn’t matter, or is not aware of how skilled these guys are. This one is simple to explain. A good offense beats a good defense every day of the week. The rules in the NBA are also different than they are at any other level. These rules SPECIFICALLY give the offensive players advantages over the defense. No hand checking. Defensive three in the key violations. No such thing as a 5 second count. Basically, no contact whatsoever can be initiated by the defense. Now try to stop Kevin Durant from dropping 40+ points on you. The defense in this league is GREAT. You just need to appreciate that the system is set up to allow offenses to thrive.
- But they complain about every foul!
Yes. They do. And so does every player at every level everywhere. Have you ever played in a call your own fouls pickup game? If you have, no further discussion needed. I’m not going to tell you that it isn’t annoying (because it is), but that is part of the game of basketball. Don’t blame the NBA. Blame God for creating such competitive creatures. And He probably is competitive too because we were created in his image 😊.
- They make way too much money.
Maybe. It might not seem fair. But it is simple supply and demand. The NBA brings in that much money. The players get paid. The majority of them actually do a pretty good job of giving back to those in need. Yes they also live lives of luxury and if you have a problem with it why not get in your backyard, practice that step back jumper and declare for the draft this summer. (Side note – I come from a family of teachers and nurses, so I understand what it means to be underpaid for your work).
All that aside, I can’t force you to enjoy the game of basketball at its purest form. College basketball is corrupt, most high school basketball programs are run on small town politics, and (unless your child is playing) youth basketball is mediocre at best *yes I used a Richard Sherman quote*.
The NBA Playoffs are currently under way. Tune into a game or two. Football season doesn’t start for a few more months and you have nothing better to do 😉. If you need a recommendation from me, watch the Pelicans and Warriors series. Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant are at least worth the price of the nachos you are snacking on.
Disclaimer- I was not paid or given any product/services for free. This review was made purely from my own will.
Thanks for reading! Be back next week as the POTS saga continues…..
Please contact me for any specific topics, questions you want answered, or reviews you want!
Jarod Gunning – Dude with POTS
P.S. Love this