So between Jan. 15 (Mon), to the 19th I suffered chest pains. I was still able to go to work on Tue and Fri AM. The worst of it came on Fri PM as I was coming home Jill suggested and I agreed that I go to hospital where I stayed until Sunday.
The feeling is exactly 100% like GERD, which is why I hesitated so long. I would feel much better after rest but after simple exertions such as climbing stairs or walking short distances my chest would feel very tight with pain across my shoulders and arms.
I went to a cardiologist on the 17th Wed and after an ECG, a blood pressure check (a whopping 160/130 at the time), reading through my thorough history of lab tests (I keep detailed accounts), and his interviewing me, he leaned towards believing I had an Unstable Angina, a condition in which your heart doesn’t get enough blood flow and oxygen, that may lead to a heart attack. He concluded this after considering my decades old diabetic condition which had unfortunately worsened since my last tests mid 2017) and of course existing symptoms.
He was however cautious about saying I had a full on heart attack because of my ‘young’ age (truly relative, that), and that he needed lab work. He required a battery of tests which I took the next day at HP along with a long list of medication.
The most conclusive tests of all however are prohibitive and require pause. Here’s the results of Jill’s exhaustive research.
A Coronary Angiogram is a special test where a dye is injected into you allowing a camera to take pictures of your veins. Just this will cost in the P45 ~ P60k range, depending on where you ask.
Should you be on the wrong side of luck and have a blockage, an Angioplasty is a procedure where a tiny balloon at the end of a long cable is inserted into your veins widening it to allow more blood in. Here’s a terrific video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BuazAhs7uA.
It is best for both the Angiogram and Angioplasty procedures to follow each other. Should an Angioplasty be deemed necessary after an Angiogram the Drs. will go right ahead and theoretically you’ll be home by that afternoon or the day after. It therefore is good financial practice to be prepared for an Angioplasty should it be necessary.
Alternatively however if an Angioplasty proves inappropriate the surgeon might go the route of a Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery, which is the full on version of above, requiring extensive surgery preparation.
Either way these may cost in the area of P300, P500 and up to P1m if you’re really having a wonderful day.
I have insurance that covers only part of that surgery, even with PhilHealth we are looking at a loan tying us up for two to three years.
On the plus side after some research and reaching out to contacts we are assured of fairly good rates by truly qualified experts (if not over qualified), so if we go for it we are rest assured to get pretty good if not the best care in the nation at the most affordable rate possible. That is of course, without pretending to be indigents (who can theoretically get the whole thing free), but I don’t think our consciences would allow that.
Cut To 4 Days Later
So today is Saturday the 27th and everything I wrote above was last Wednesday the 24th. Since then I had lost some weight and have actually felt better every day. I had received the 2D Echo results and according to Jill’s cousins whom are both Doctors in Cebu they look regular. I have yet to hear my primary Dr.’s opinion on it as we have yet to meet 3 days from now.
The initial worry has settled and we have both kind of put it in the back of my head now although we are both still well aware we might need to do the Angiogram / Angioplasty (if necessary) soon. I think we are optimistic, if you call just going about our usual business such.
There isn’t a hell of a lot to report right now. I would assume my cardiologist has a copy of my 2d echo as well and if he finds anything alarming about it he would have contacted me, however I’m only assuming he has it (but he should, right?), and I wouldn’t know if he would contact me if he had to. Whatever the case we still just have to wait till we consult him soon.
I’m very very lucky as it is, to have such a caring wife who has focused on this thing with laser precision. She’s bought me my meds, she’s checked and double checked our options, she’s squeezed every info out of Google as much as she can and has come to the conclusion (as have I), that my condition isn’t as bad as a lot of poor folks out there, but even then we should be cautious.
So oddly enough that’s what I’m feeling right now, lucky. We don’t know what we don’t know and we’ll find out soon enough. That’s all for now until I have more to report.