Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ah, Dr. Google, you got me. Begone!

I'm not one to worry much about illness, unless I, or someone I know and care about, is actually sick.  I don't think I'm a worry-wort about things, for the most part.  I've always considered myself an optimist, more so during hard times than when the going is easy.  Optimism will get you through the hard times; that, and a sense of humor.  

Yesterday my husband went off to help a cousin do some mechanic work and left me alone for the day.  I didn't babysit, because the conditions where Cora's dad works were too muddy for construction of any kind.  It was just me and the two baby chicks I bought for the kid.  The chicks weren't much of a distraction:  I had a book in progress, and a computer.  Throw in a little yard and garden work and you know how my day went.  

Well, I found myself chasing rabbits on the computer.  If you've never heard that term, click HERE for a description.  That isn't uncommon for me, I do it all the time, unfortunately.  But this particular time it was about my health.  The "significant heart murmur" I've had for years, to be exact.  

Don't ask me why it came to mind yesterday.  The doctor and nurse practitioner never bring it up at my annual checkup, although this year I asked, "Do I still have the heart murmur?" and of course, the answer was yes.  I've never been given any cause to be concerned about it.  

For some reason I decided to consult Dr. Google yesterday about something that has never given me a problem.  

The first thing I learned is that 10% of adults have heart murmurs, and it's usually no big deal:  "It is important to remember that a heart murmur is a physical finding and is not a disease or structural heart problem."

I should have stopped right there.  The article mentions edema, chest pain, and other symptoms to watch for:  I have none of the symptoms.  But wait, there are different KINDS of heart murmurs that have different sounds!  I wonder which kind I have?  Nobody's ever told me, they only use the word "significant" if it's mentioned at all.  What if I have the BAD kind?

My reading led me to the conclusion that I should watch my weight, diet, and cholesterol.  Ah-HA!  That's probably why the doctor keeps nagging me to take Lipitor!  And then I researched further and found that there might be a valve replacement in my future, or even (gasp) CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE!!!

So I looked up congestive heart failure and learned that when it's diagnosed, you are put on Lanoxin, and Lasix, among other things.  My mother took both those prescriptions in her later years!  Is this thing inherited?  ACK!  (Never mind that my mother lived past 90 years of age.)

Well, Cliff's back home now, and I'm fine.  He and I often talk about how we seem to be the healthiest people at church.  When we hear folks making prayer requests concerning their health and that of family members, there are some serious problems in that (admittedly older) congregation.  Cliff has had some issues in the past, but all is well at present.  The worst complaint either of us has right now is arthritis.

I'll be counting my blessings again and letting whatever happens, happen.  I'll consider the Lipitor next year at my appointment, but probably will continue to refuse it.  I noticed in all my rabbit-chasing yesterday that if congestive heart failure is caught early and managed, you can last ten years or longer.  I'm almost 72 now, so... 

I'm not saying all this stuff to get reassurances.  As I stated, I'm fine today.  I just wanted to let you know that sometimes even an optimist goes off the deep end.  And that is SO easy to do when one consults Dr. Google.


Calfkeeper said...

Oh, I chase rabbits all the time on the internet; for health or one thing or another. I am glad you and Cliff are doing well; but maybe, if you can keep a positive attitude about it, it doesn't hurt to be more informed on a subject.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I'd try to stay away from that doctor too. But sometimes curiosity does get the best of me. Best to take it one day at a time and appreciate today!


The internet is full of information. Sometimes the more you know, the problems can get exasperated. I was told years ago I had a GLITCH in my heart. They never defined glitch and I have never investigated it further? I hope you will take care of the murmer you have if your situation deems it necessary.

Margaret said...

I had to stay off the internet when Patt had cancer, and it was a wise decision. We had two years of being relatively hopeful and living our lives, without realizing that he had no chance at all.