Friday July 8, 2016

I was awakened by the cardiologist, Dr. Mazhar Majid, who explained that my Triponin levels were elevated, the enzyme released into the blood stream after a heart attack or other heart trauma, signaling that I had experienced a heart attack. He explained little else, but did say that the chest x-ray was “clear.” I guess he was referring to the fact that the x-ray showed no swelling or inflammation of the heart. (But he left out a vital piece of information, stay tuned!)

The next step was to transfer me to another hospital to get an angiogram (or cardiac catheter) to determine whether a stent or other surgical intervention was necessary.

The hospital where I was originally, Coral Springs Medical Center, is part of the Broward Health system, so they said they could transfer me to either Northwest Regional or Broward General. My cardiologist Michael Chizner, the Chief Medical Director of The Heart Center of Excellence of Broward Health– one of the largest health care systems in the nation, is based at Broward General.

But United Healthcare decided that they would only pay for the ambulance to take me to Northwest Regional because it was closer!

Keep in mind that I’d just been told I had a heart attack, and I was being transferred to get an Angiogram and, depending on the results, would have a stent(s) implanted at the same time. But they wouldn’t send me to the hospital where my cardiologist, regarded as one of the finest in the nation, practices, just a few miles further away.

A quick note to the government-sanctioned extortionists United “Healthcare” – The word “healthcare” is in your name, yet you continually do everything to deny your customers the coverage that we pay dearly for. If you don’t want to fulfill your end of the contract, then get out of the business and clear the way for universal coverage — Medicare for All!

Eventually, after raising my blood pressure and causing me further stress, the pencil pushing bean counters at UHC relented and agreed to allow me to be transported to Broward General for my Angiogram to be done by my cardiologist.

The Angiogram

Finally, on Friday afternoon, I was taken from the prep/recovery area in the Cardiac Cath lab to the room where the procedure would be performed. First, my cardiologist, Dr. Chizner came in to talk with me. Since my husband was told he wouldn’t be allowed into the operating room, he left to pick up some food so I’d be able to eat when it was all over.

Unfortunately, that meant David wasn’t with me with I spoke with Dr. Chizner, who seemed shocked when I answered his question, “What did they tell you at Coral Springs about your x-ray” with “They told me it was clear,” because that was NOT the case.

So it was left to my cardiologist to explain to me what the two “doctors” at Coral Springs Medical Center didn’t – that I have a 4 cm mass on my left lung. He explained that, as this finding would likely necessitate a biopsy, if he were to find arterial blockage during the Angiogram, insertion of a stent would be necessary. So he explained the options: with one type of stent, I’d have to be on blood thinners for a longer time, and the other would have me off of them sooner.

Thankfully, the Angiogram showed that the “heart attack” was most likely a cardiac spasm of unknown origin. The good news is that I didn’t have a heart attack, my arteries are clear and no stent or other treatment was necessary. I was, however, relegated to six hours of lying still, as the cath tube was inserted in my groin and threaded up through the femoral artery to my heart.  Since I was brought to the recovery area after 5pm on that Friday afternoon, I was unable to move until after 11pm, so Dr. Chizner ordered me to be kept overnight, and released in the morning.

Sadly, after a few hours I had the uncontrollable urge to pee, yet I wasn’t allowed to walk to the bathroom. After trying unsuccessfully for over an hour to empty my bladder using a bedpan, they inserted a catheter so that the pressure from a full bladder wouldn’t press on the opening to my femoral artery. At around midnight, the catheter was removed and I was allowed to use the restroom normally. Unfortunately, midnight was too late to be discharged.

I already had a pulmonologist appointment scheduled for Wednesday to deal with my sleep problems, so we all decided that was the next logical step.