The first doctor to see me today is a Cardiologist. I immediately knew he was a Cardiologist because he had a Rolex watch and monogramed shirt. He also had a whole bunch of people following him. These were his students, assistants, in-training doctors called Residents and fellows. His assistants introduced him to me. Apparently no Cardiologist worth his salt introduces himself. In the meantime, he changed the TV channel so he can keep an eye on stocks.
Me: Do I have a heart attack?
Doc: It is quite possible!
Me: Well, I did or did not.
Doc: We will have to do an Echocardiogram.
Me: They already did one in ER. Besides they did an EKG.
Doc: The ER Echos are worthless. EKG is even more worthless. We need a new Echo. If that does not tell us, we will pass a tube down your throat and get better pictures from inside. If that still does not tell us, we will do an echo while doing a stress test. If that still does not tell us we will pass a catheter in your groin and look into arteries of your heart. If your arteries are blocked, you will need a stent put in to open those arteries.
This guy sure has a plan B,C, D and Z. I have a feeling that he will keep on looking till he finds what he wants. I asked him when will he do this test.
Doc: I will not be the person doing that. I am a non-invasive Cardiologist. We will have our Echo specialist read the Echo and if a Cathertization is needed, interventional Cardiologist will be doing it.
Me: Are you telling me I will need 3 different heart specialists to tell me if I have a heart attack or not.
Doc: But before that we will need clearance from your kidney doctor, lung doctor, Surgeon, Neurologist and Psychiatrist. We don’t want to take any chances.
After this he ‘”examined” me. He carefully placed his stethoscope on my chest in a manner such that his shirt sleeves won’t be ruined. He asked his students to listen. They discussed the “findings”. They kept on saying words like murmur, irregular and dilated. I asked him what is wrong. “Oh, it could be anything. We will have to wait for Echo results”.
He tells me my cholesterol is abnormal and will need to be treated with 2 different pills. My BP was low on admission but is high now. I will need another pill for that. I will need Aspirin and another medication of the same type. I will also need something that is good for my BP, heart and kidneys.
Me: But that is like 6 pills. I have never taken pills in my life.
Doc: Well, all these medications reduce your risk for heart diseases from 38% to 33% over next 10 years.
Me: You want me to take 6 pills a day for 10 years at age 82 to reduce my risk by 5%!
Doc: It is your choice. But it will be against medical advise if you don’t. If you are found to have heart disease and need a stent, you will need 2 more pills. That will reduce your risk by another 0.5%.