03:03:44 am on
Wednesday 19 Jun 2024

Lights Out 2016
Matt Seinberg

It's been three years since my last endoscopy and colonoscopy and my primary care physician, Dr. Robert made me get an appointment with the gastroenterologist after I saw him in July for my quarterly checkup. I made a consultation appointment with Dr William for a Tuesday in two weeks.

Then a call came from the office of my cardiologist.

Hey saw something unusual on one of my cardiac loop recorder's printouts and I needed to get in to the office asap. So made an appointment for the following Wednesday.

I had the loop recorder implanted in my chest about two years ago after one of my spinal epidurals, where the nurse got nervous enough about my cardiac monitor readings that she brought in the cardiologist on call to examine me and he called my cardiologists practice to tell them what was going on.

A loop recorder monitors the heart rate and electronically stores anything unusual and uploads to the cardiologist’s office at night through a cellular base station on my nightstand.

When I saw Dr. Todd, this was the only time, in my fifteen years of seeing him, did he appear nervous and scared for me. He saw the unusual reading of 240 heartbeats per minute, which happened at 4 AM on a Monday morning and asked if I felt anything. Of course I didn't.

Then he told me that had that happened during the day, I most likely would have passed out and gawd help me if I would have been driving. He immediately brought in his PA and explained what he wanted me to have, a cardiac cauterization and EPS Test, which is an electrophysiology study, which sees how the hearts electrical system is working.

There was pre-surgical testing.

PA Andy took me over to Miss Sandy to make the appointments and the per-surgical testing was the next day and the procedures would be the following Monday. I was in the hospital from 7 AM to 9 PM and I was under anesthesia, twice. One moment you're awake and the next you're not. Sometimes you just need some sleep.

The cardiac cauterization test revealed one coronary artery was 40% blocked and everything else was okay. They told me to increase my Lipitor from 3 times a week to seven.

They told me I was on the EPS table for an hour, trying to recreate the event they saw from the recorder, but they couldn't do it. They changed one medication and that was it.

When I finally saw Dr. William, he wanted me to have another endoscopy because I have something called Barrett’s Esophagus, caused by acid reflux disease. The lining of the esophagus changes to tissue like the intestines and esophageal adenocarcinoma, which is a serious, potentially fatal cancer of the esophagus, can result, though in less than 1% of the people contract it.

Then he wants me to have another colonoscopy. The procedure itself isn't terrible, but the preparation is awful. I've described that before, so no more details needed. Just imagine an erupting volcano, only upside down once the prep is complete.

I have both procedures and the endoscopy comes back negative for anything bad. That's a relief and he wants me to have another one in two years.

The colonoscopy just happened, so I don't have any results back yet, though Dr. William did say he took out three polyps. Who knows what lurks in the dark colon of men? I have to do this again in 3 years.

Thank goodness for anesthesia.

No person would subject themselves to these bodily invasions without it. A fifteen-minute sleep under anesthesia feels much longer and an hour feels like forever.

Would you believe they turned off the anesthesia while that colon probe was still doing it's dirty work? I woke up, saw the screen and told them to turn it back on!

When I was done, Nurse April came to check on me and she's such a nice woman. Very friendly and warm and she truly cares about her patients. When she called the day after to check on me, I thanked her and told her I much I appreciated her after care. I even wrote a letter to Dr. William telling him the same thing.


Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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