The Exigent Duality
Heart Troubleshooting - 16:18 CST, 5/24/22 (Sniper)
A few weeks ago, I had wifey drive me to the emergency room at 4:00am due to what I thought in the moment must have been a heart attack: couldn't breathe, and extreme chest pressure. A gamut of negative tests plus doctor discussions have led me to adjust my hypothesis that it was a panic attack.

Yesterday, I had a stress test plus echocardiogram. My resting pulse is only around 50 so it took me fourteen minutes, the final portion of which involved essentially sprinting up hill, just to get my heart rate to the desired 170. The people involved were impressed by my relative fitness: "I'll be honest, it's very rare that we get someone running in here."

Feeling optimistic, I was surprised by a phone call this morning indicating that the test revealed abnormalities. I now have a June 17 follow-up with a cardiologist. Thankfully, my healthcare clinic uses an online system where they publish pretty much everything for the patient: it's phenomenal transparency! Sure enough, the full report was there when I looked-- here is the summary:

I've had mildly elevated blood pressure for almost a decade due to the practically absurd levels of stress I'm under on a daily basis, to the point where I've been in a constant dream-like state of derealization for that entire period-- but I've been able to mostly control the blood pressure by managing my weight.

Based on what I see online, this left ventricular hypertrophy of mine is probably caused by this protracted period of high blood pressure, and can be reversed with medication. I'm not sure what to make about the ischemia reference in the last bullet: all "ischemia" means is "reduced blood flow". It's not clear to me how that fits into the larger picture: do I have a blockage? Further tests probably warranted.

I've also had some kind of arrhythmia, a sort of palpitation, for the past ten-odd years. My regular doctor at the time plausibly wrote it off with "cut down on the caffeine". But now it's looking like there is indeed some larger, underlying issue.

Either way, in the next few weeks I think I'll find myself shifting from no medications to two: some kind of anti-anxiety solution, plus a blood pressure pill of some sort.