Doctors, tests, and therapy

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It’s not good when physician specialists call me by my first name without looking at your chart. It means I have been spending way too much time in their offices.

About a month ago, I had to visit Community Hospital in Anderson to get an echocardiogram. This test was just a follow-up to check on the results of the three heart surgeries I had last fall. This was nothing unusual as I have had these about once a year for a while.

I really don’t mind getting these tests because they don’t involve needles. Needles are at the very top of my “Don’t Like List.”

Many people don’t believe me, but someone can wave a needle at me and I will pass out. I have to turn away if I see one on a TV show.

All of my doctors (and dentists) have a Red Flag on my folder letting them know about my needle phobia. I went to have a tooth pulled and ended up in an ambulance going to the hospital because I passed out.

This fear of needles started back when I was in college.

I had been getting an allergy shot every week for seven years. Same medicine, same dosage. I went to the doctor’s office, got the shot and walked out.

One time, however, I went to the office, got the shot and collapsed on the floor.

I had a reaction to the shot, went into shock and my heart stopped.

The doctor gave me epinephrine to counteract the shock and two shots of adrenalin to help get my heart started again. Hence, my fear of needles.

But, back to my heart test. About a week after, I received a letter. It said everything looked great, my new valve was working as expected and my heart was beating in better-than-average strength. A week after that, I went to the hospital in Indianapolis for my (hopefully) final checkup on my heart surgery. Lots of questions, an EKG and the nurse practitioner said I was good to go. After three stents and a new heart valve, I thought there might be more to my final visit.

More recently, I had to return to the hospital in Anderson to do another test. Last year, when doing all my heart tests, the medical staff noticed a tiny nodule on my lung. Apparently, they weren’t too worried about it because they didn’t mention it to me at the time. They had to do a scan of some type just to make sure it hasn’t changed in the past year.

Next month I return to Indianapolis (a different hospital) for my (once again, hopefully) final follow-up visit for the kidney cancer surgery I had three years ago. Unfortunately, this one requires a needle and some dye to check what’s left of my right kidney. I have had a phone visit with my surgeon every six months for the past three years (minus the needle). Everything seems to be in order. One more time and assuming no problems, I will be released from my kidney surgeon.

For the last five weeks, I have been going to physical therapy twice a week to relieve my back pain and improve the weakness in my legs. My lower back has bothered me for years, and I was hoping this therapy would help. The weakness in my legs keeps me from standing when I get down on the floor. The therapy seems to have slightly improved my legs, but since I only have two more sessions, I have a lot of work on my own to make much of a difference.

Since I am planning on being around for another 25 years, (I want to hit 100), I must either improve, or get used to being in bad shape. I am opting for the improvement.

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]

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