Saturday, August 11, 2012

I Feel Fine

     It's that time of year again - that one special day a year when my husband visits his cardiologist, Dr. Braverman, who also happens to be a leading authority on Marfan's Syndrome. My husband sees so many different doctors throughout the year, they all start to kind of blur together, but this one is different. Not only does he look after my husband's heart, Dr. Braverman is also the one who knows this genetic disorder inside and out and understands how everything all comes together. (Or falls apart, as the case may be.)

     It's a comfort to me each time he comes home from this particular doctor's visit with a (relatively) clean bill of health. That's not to say that I don't trust his other doctors, and God knows that at this point in the game, I'm not at all certain that all his medical care isn't just a giant science experiment, but to have one of the best in the business give my husband the once-over just makes me feel better. I'm well aware that one good doctor's visit is by no means a guarantee of anything, but how can it not make me hopeful?

     The methadone is still working better than anything else he's tried since we've been together, so I'm going to chalk it up to a success for now. I had to add the qualifier "for now" because I have no idea how long it's going to continue managing his pain this effectively. Thus far, every drug he's ever tried for pain management has eventually become ineffective because he inevitably develops a tolerance for it, thus rendering it essentially useless.

     The methadone may be different, though, since it's fully synthetic and a much longer-lasting drug. (Dilaudid works really fast and really well, but it's really better-suited for acute pain, not chronic pain, or so I've read.) My husband's cardiologist was pleased that this new pain management regiment seemed to be working so well, so that's always a plus when the different doctors seem to be in accord with one another's treatment plans.

     The one negative thing that came out of this visit was that the doctor told my husband he would prefer he stay away from the urgent care if at all possible. That makes total sense, because the doctors there are not at all familiar with my husband's unique medical situation and likely have never heard of Marfan's Syndrome. Perfect example? A few weeks ago, my husband's elbow was all swollen with cellulitis  and when it got to the super-painful point, he went to the nearest urgent care to get it taken care of.

     Really, it makes the most sense to go to urgent care for dealing with something so minor and that's exactly why he went that route. My husband figured that he'd get some antibiotics and be on his way and he was right, but damned if those antibiotics didn't wreak havoc on his INR levels. To be fair, the attending physician who administered the antibiotics warned him that he would have to go to his regular doctor to get his INR checked because the meds would probably screw with it, but holy hell, did they screw with it.

     He was sitting at a 7.4 (anyone not on blood thinners should be between 0 and 1) by the time he finished his round of antibiotics and went to get his levels checked. For those of you unfamiliar with what exactly that means, the easiest way to explain it is that he wasn't so much moving blood through his body as moving red Kool-Aid through his veins. It's because of things of that nature that my husband's specialist would rather he stay away from the uninitiated if he can manage it. I think that's a pretty reasonable request.

     All in all, I'm gonna say it was a win for my husband and I. Sometimes, when it seems like his health has been so bad for so long, when so many things have been so bad for so long, it feels like a major victory to hear from the doctor that things are going well, that we're doing it right. I know it doesn't mean blue skies ahead and things could change at any time, but damned if that small bit of validation doesn't feel so good.

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