Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Your Health Matters
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When I was a teenager I began to have heart palpitations. I didn't have to be doing a certain activity to trigger them. I was also told that I had a heart murmur by different doctors. The palpitations never seemed to really bother me until the early 90s. I was in my late 20s by the way. So the palpitations were coming several times a day and it began to make me a bit nervous. So I decided to see a doctor about it. I found a internal medicine doctor and made an appointment. They did an ekg and I wore a holter monitor (a device that records every heart beat) for 2 days. The doctor said I had an irregular heart beat, nothing serious. So to slow the beats down, he prescribed Quinidine & Atenolol. It seemed to work. I still had irregular beats, but not as often. So I returned every year for my annual check up. I thought I was under the best care possible and never thought anything else about it. Until....I decided (over 10 years later) to Google my medicine "Quinidine". I didn't like what I was reading about this medicine. I decided I needed to call my doctor and discuss this with him. I left a message for him to call me and he did. I told him about my findings and concerns about this medicine I had been on for over a decade!!! He advised me to go see a cardiologist. UGH! Are you kidding me!!
I'm one of the thousands or maybe even millions of people with no medical insurance. How am I going to afford to see a cardiologist? But I had to do it, it was for the best. I went to see my new cardiologist. They did an ekg and had me to wear the holter monitor for 2 days again. The only thing they were able to pick up were a few missed beats and some other beats that were kind of back to back. And I no longer have a heart murmur. Where did it go? I have no idea! On the very first visit, he took me completely off Quinidine. This is the medicine I was concerned about in the first place. He took me off of it because it was a very old medicine and he didn't think it was doing anything for me. WHAT??!!?? I put all of my trust and health in my internal medicine doctor's hands for all of these years and I could have stopped taking this medicine loooonnnnnnggg ago! After all, I saw him every year. So back to the cardiologist. At my follow up appointment I discussed with him that I stopped the Quinidine and couldn't tell any difference by not taking it. He then told me that if I wanted to stop taking Atenolol (my other heart medicine) that I could cut a pill in half and take it like that for 2 weeks and then quit it all together after that. I was very excited to hear this news. It still blows my mind! So today...I'm on NO heart medications AT ALL!! I took them for 10 years...I thought I was doomed to take them for the rest of my born days!
I'm not saying that I didn't need the medicine prescribed to me over 10 years ago. I'm saying that at some point I didn't need to continue taking them. I'm heart medicine free all because I asked questions and took the matter into my own hands. Don't JUST trust what the doctor says. Do your homework...be your own advocate! You could be taking something that you no longer need! Do your research!!!
I'm so glad that I didn't let the fact that I didn't have health insurance stop me from seeing a cardiologist. It turns out that the clinic gives a 60% discount for uninsured people. That really helped.
As always, thanks for reading my blog!
Posted by Diane at 10:13 AM