For the past nine months, almost everyone has been worried about catching the dreaded virus.
If someone had difficulty breathing, a runny nose, a fever or any other minor ailment, the immediate thought was they had COVID-19.
A year ago, any of those symptoms would not have been cause for alarm. There are other medical problems that can happen in the normal course of our lives.
I am a prime example.
This summer, I was having trouble breathing occasionally when I took out the trash, mowed the yard, hiked or otherwise exerted myself strenuously.
Since these breathing problems had been occurring for the past several years, I knew it wasn’t COVID. The symptoms were just getting worse.
I have a bad heart valve my cardiologist said would have to be replaced in five or six years. I thought perhaps this was the cause of my breathing difficulty.
I called the doctor, and he scheduled some tests for me to determine if this was the case. I went to the hospital, where they took what seemed to be about a gallon of blood and did a chest x-ray. Two days later, I returned to the hospital for an echocardiogram.
I waited for the results for a few days. Then, the doctor’s office called and told me the news. All the blood tests came back perfect. (I didn’t even know for what they were testing.)
The chest X-ray was fine.
The one I was actually worried about was my heart valve. He said there were no changes from two years ago and the replacement valve would still be years in the future.
A week later, I went to the endocrinologist. He checked my sugar level. The result was an A1C of 7.3. This is not great, but it is good — much better than when it was in the 9’s a couple years ago. I was to continue on the insulin and the medication he prescribed.
Next was the kidney scan scheduled by the surgeon who removed the tumor from my kidney a year ago. This was my six-month follow up, which will continue for another two years.
I had a virtual appointment with my surgeon a few days later. He called me and informed me the test results were fine, with no problems of any kind showing.
Another week and I was scheduled to visit my primary care physician. I had only been to this doctor once before. Our previous doctor quit, so we had to find a new one.
I told him about my breathing problems. He immediately set me up for a pulmonary lung function test. He also got me an appointment with a pulmonologist for next month. Hopefully they will figure out something to do so I can continue metal detecting without a problem.
I went to St. Vincent in Anderson for the test. When I entered the main lobby, I was the only person visible who was not a staff person. My test was scheduled for 12:30. It began 10 minutes early. I figured they would be running at least 30 to 45 minutes late. I completed my test and went home, figuring they would get the results to me in a week. I got a phone call the next day from my doctor’s office.
They told me the test showed minor asthma (which I have had my whole life), and to continue on the medicine I was already taking, and to carry an inhaler around with me to use as needed. My visit to the pulmonologist may bring further changes.
I was relieved the findings of all of these tests showed I had a lot of problems, but at this time, all of them were being well controlled. If this continues for the next 20 years, I will be happy.
We continue to be very careful and follow most of the rules regarding the coronavirus. There are only two or three places we dine out, and we go there when they are not crowded. We do our grocery shopping during “old people” hours. We have a basket of assorted masks in both vehicles and use them a time or two, then throw them in the washer.
So far, we have not been around anyone with the virus (that we know about).
My PCP informed me he would let me know the earliest time available when I could get the COVID vaccine. Until then, I will only worry about all my other medical problems.
Rich Creason is an award-winning outdoors and travel writer whose work has appeared in local, regional, national and international publications for 40 years. Born in Anderson, he is a graduate of Markleville High School. He lives in South Madison County with his wife, Susie. He may be contacted at [email protected].