Portents of doom

Don’t you just hate it when other people make you feel inadequate?

Generally speaking, I only feel inadequate when I’m reading someone else’s blog about how motherhood makes them feel complete or how there’s nothing in the world they’d rather do than serve their master, but on Monday I was made to feel totally inadequate by my dental hygienist and it wasn’t about anything even remotely to do with teeth!

What happened is a bit of a long story, but if you make it to the end I promise to somehow weave in the words, ‘retard’, ‘whaleshark’, ‘boots’ and the phrase, ‘what can I fuck myself up the bum with’ (FYI, my top four search terms) just to keep everyone who reads here happy.

So on Monday I walked in at 2pm for my half-yearly clean and check-up to be greeted by my menopausal (she revealed this about 30mins into the appointment) and very anal (anal as in damn that woman is committed to getting every frickin’ microbe of plaque off your teeth!) dental hygienist. She ushered me into the room and the first words out of her mouth were:

“Hi, you’re just the person I’ve been wanting to see – I’ve just been diagnosed with what you have.”

And because I’m at the dentist, I respond with:

“TMJ?”

“No,” she said, “Your bicuspid aortic valve and aortic regurgitation.”

Now…it might just be me, but I don’t usually start conversations with shit like that. So based on the beginning of the conversation, I had a feeling that this was going to be the longest hour of my life.

Just for the layman out there, like you and me, what she was referring to was my heart murmur where my valve doesn’t close properly and some of the blood runs back into the chamber. This means that when I have ‘invasive’ dental work or surgery, I have to have a course of antibiotics to stop infections developing in my heart (because as I mentioned, my dental hygienist is anal and I usually leave my cleaning looking like I’ve sucked face with a vampire.)

When I first went to this particular dentist I told them about my heart murmur and they contacted my doctor over east to confirm whether I still needed antibiotics. My doctor apparently said with the type of murmur I have, that yes I still need to take them and ever since then I’ve had the bicuspid aortic valve and aortic regurgitation thing written in big, fat, red letters on my dental record and they ring me up two or three times before every appointment to make sure that I’ve taken my antibiotics so they can legally cover their asses if I develop an infection.

So anyway over the next hour as she dug, poked, drilled and made me want to safe-word several times, she compared notes with me about who my cardiologist was, how often I go for ECGs, what beta-blockers I was on and what ‘grade’ I have been assessed as.

And I was like, WTF?

Then she wanted to know whether I’d had rheumatic fever as a child or whether I’d been assessed as having Marfan’s syndrome (because they’re apparently the only two ways you can end up with a bicuspid aortic valve and aortic regurgitation) and how my circulatory system was and then we sort of had a pissing-up-the-wall competition about how many layers of bedding we sleep with and how many layers of clothing we can wear (because apparently the sensitivity to the cold is also part and parcel of the heart murmur thing…)

Then we got onto the topic of vasovagal syncope (that’s fainting to you and me) and how the heart murmur exacerbates it, and she ended the discussion with the comment to end all comments,

“Well, as long as they’ve diagnosed you as being ‘mild’, because if you’re ‘mild to moderate’ there’s always the chance that stenosis will occur and then you’ll get heart failure.”

And I’m like, WTF?

If I hadn’t been laying there with instruments and her hands in my mouth, I’m sure my jaw would of hit the floor. 

All I could say was,

“I don’t know.”

Because…well…I don’t know. 

My heart murmur was discovered on a routine trip to the doctor when I had a cold at the ripe old age of 16. After doing the stethoscope thing, my new doctor casually leaned back in his chair while making notes on my file and said to me, “That’s a nice heart murmur you’ve got there.”

And I was like, WTF?

Then followed several ECGs, a couple of trips to the cardiologist and I’m sure somewhere along the line I was given a diagnosis of what it was I have. All I actually remember of it was being told that I needed to have antibiotics if I was going to have any procedures done. I don’t remember being handed down a sentence of doom, or being told that I needed to have yearly check-ups or anything like that. And to tell you the truth, I’ve not seen a doctor or specialist about it since I was sixteen and had that initial round of tests done.

Have I been living with a time bomb in my chest for the last 15 years?

My dental hygienist just kept on firing these questions at me, and all I could say was, “I don’t know” or more accurately,”Aii dow qkno” (because she still had that spit-sucking thing and a pick in my mouth) and every time I said that, she just kept looking at me with an incredulous expression as if to say, ‘How the fuck can you not know about important shit like this?’

So then she gave me the name of  ‘the valve guy’ here in Perth that I should see and I told her I’d get a referral and have a check-up. So now I’m seriously considering getting my records sent over here so I can go and see ‘the valve guy’ and get it all sorted out because I just hate to be made to feel inadequate.

I’ve also being doing a bit of research on the net and the Marfan’s syndrome thing also makes a lot of sense. I’ve got just about all of the genetic traits described by it so at this point I’d just to announce that I’m officially a genetic mutant and need to be cleaved out of the gene pool. Although I don’t know how much stock to put in internet diagnosis because I have, on four separate occasions in the past, given myself a diagnosis of cancer for what turned out to be a common cold.

Yes, hypochondria could be my middle name.

So yeah, that’s my story about being made to feel inadequate or perhaps being made to feel like a ‘retard’ would be a better way to put it. As a side note, I was also made to feel inadequate last night by Master because I put my ‘boots’ on the wrong feet and he laughed at me. But then I made myself feel even more inadequate because I took  pictures of me wearing said boots on the wrong feet and he posted them to his blog. I also often ask myself, ‘What can I fuck myself up the bum with?’ and while I wouldn’t recommend a ‘whaleshark’ as it is quite large and could hurt, my personal answer appears to be ‘boots on the wrong feet’ or ‘no knowledge of potentially life-threatening heart conditions’.

See, I told you I’d work them in somehow 🙂

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16 thoughts on “Portents of doom

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  1. as long as the valve guy doesn’t says no to wearing boots go and see him if it puts your mind at rest and all you told me of your visit was she gave you pain and not of the good sort

    1. Well, I didn’t want to worry you because I don’t know how much of what she said is applicable to me and there’s no point in both of us being worried, is there?

      I also thought that you’d be most interested in the pain side of things 🙂

  2. great post kitten, im still chuckling at the *boots*.

    my daughter has a heart murmer, it was found when she was 11, the Doctor then didnt give me a spiel on doom and gloom either, as far as i know, my daughter has no problems with it. i watched it on a monitor after they injected her with some dye, only a small murmer but there.

    1. I didn’t have dye injected into mine, but I did find that looking and listening to my heart when I had the ecgs and things to be very cool.

      Apparently a lot of people have murmurs to different degrees and in different areas, so I guess having one doesn’t make me all that spethial 😉

  3. Hey,

    I happen to be an m.d. in my sparetime 😉 and well, you don;t want to know how many patients get fucked up, worried over nothing just because of bitches like that who only know how to use google, but no way can interpret the information. Going to med school and becoming a doc takes years. I would have liked the google thing to work, would save me years of hard labour.
    Anyway, Marfan’s I saw some pics of you and even though you only know for sure when looking at a geneprofile, you usually diagnose that a vue. Looking at your pics, i think it is extremely unlikely for you to have marfans disease, may be you share a few traits with marfanpatients, but usually that is innocent enough.
    My advice: go see your gp and discuss the valvepathology. Most people just develop a heartmurmur, no strings attached, something to know and mention when going for surgery or something, but in essence not very worrying. Better to put your mind at ease for now, so please do make that appointment.
    Oh and switch dentists … Actually the thing she did was very bad mannered. She having access to your files doesnot mean she is free from doctor-patient confidentiality. haha you can probably sue 🙂

    xxxxx

    Anne

    1. Hi Anne,

      Thanks for the info. I was actually surprised to see that someone in the medical profession reads here 🙂 I have a lot of respect for people who do such a thankless and shitty job. I really couldn’t think of a more depressing or stressful job so I take my hat off to you.

      I don’t think what she did was in malice. It more along the lines of she was worried about herself and wanted to see if I had any more information that I could share. Or maybe she wanted to be reassured by someone whose heart murmur was a grade higher than hers!

  4. Yeah that’s not cool in my book (parents are doctors). You shouldn’t discuss someone’s case with them in that way. Very uncool. Especially not in that way. You should switch dentists and yeah, maybe have a checkup with the valve guy but don’t stress.

    xx

    1. After a few days of realising that I’m not dying and life is still going on with me being a bad slave, I’ve chilled out a bit. I will probably go and see the valve guy just to make sure there have been no changes in the last few years, but I won’t stress 🙂

  5. i’d say it’s worth a check-up just to be sure. my father had a heart murmur from birth that was picked up on at that time but never mentioned again. at 39, after increasing fatigue and general crappiness he ended up with having to have an aortic valve replacement. he’s had a titanium one for almost 20 yrs now. it actually ticks (which drives him NUTS, he always had a thing about ticking clocks hahaha) and he carries a special card to show at airports and such because it sets off the security machines hehehe. judging by your recent shenaningans you need no more scrutiny at airports 😉

    oh, and that hygienist sounds like a total biatch. very unprofessional.

    1. Fatigue and general crappiness? Gee, that does sound like me 😉

      I just LURV scrutiny at airports, so having something that actually does set off the detectors would be kind of cool. (just joking)

  6. Your hygienist needs to be required to wear a large ball gag. When she even attempts to speak she gets a jolt from a cattle prod.

    1. Just as long as the ball gag doesn’t make her drool. Because if she drooled on me, I would be totally and utterly freaked out 🙂

  7. I think it was about five years ago that my doctor – mid-exam – looked up at me and said “Has anyone ever told you that you have a heart murmur?”

    “No……
    ………..
    ………..
    I think my mom has one.”

    “Yeah, yours is really mild. I’m going to send you for an ECG just to be safe.”

    “Okay.”

    — A FEW DAYS LATER —

    “Your ECG didn’t show anything to worry about.”

    “Okay.”

    ——

    And that is the entire story of my heart murmur. Sorry your hygienist is a twat.

    1. Lol…I loved your heart murmur story – thanks for sharing!

      The sad thing is that she is a really good hygienist. She is what I would be if I was a hygienist – anal and really enjoys getting every little last bit of scum off teeth (not that I ever would be one of course, because spit just freaks me out…) She also likes Japan which gets double points in my book and when she’s not giving me portents of doom we often discuss antique kimonos and things.

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