A Change of Heart?

I’m happy to report that Christmas was a joyful time for me and my family. It was much different than last year when we were mired in grief over the death of my brother-in-law. This year, we mainly ate and watched movies. (Please note that you should not go to the new Star Wars Movie, #7, if you never saw the first one produced, #4.  My fourteen-year-old niece was pretty confused!)

Unfortunately, my niece and nephew decided not go to to church on Christmas Eve, but their mother, who was raised in a church, did. She said she was really glad that she went, and it was good to see her happily singing carols. She seemed to be at peace. I will continue to pray that God will lead my niece and nephew into the light of his faith, so that they might come to believe in God as well. Perhaps each of them will have a good friend who will invite them to a church where they feel God’s love and peace like I do at my church.

As far as my health goes, it could be better. I started getting dizzy spells shortly before the holidays and almost passed out on two occasions. My general practitioner said my blood pressure seemed a bit low when I saw her a few weeks ago. This was confirmed when I went to the Rheumatologist and my blood pressure was even lower, 80/60. What does one do for low blood pressure? Well, surprisingly, in addition to drinking plenty of water, I’m supposed to eat more salt, like handfuls of salty nuts for instance. It’s pretty weird to be told by a doctor to eat more salt when I’ve always heard it’s important to eat less salt, but I guess I’m just to have to follow the doctor’s orders! What choice do I have really? 🙂

In addition to the dizziness, I’ve developed some chest pain as well. It sort of feels like pleurisy, mostly dull pain but some sharp pain a couple of times a day, but it’s further to the left than usual…like where my heart is. I’ve also been getting shortness of breath. The pain seems a bit less if I sit up, so my Rheumatologist thinks it might be pericarditis, a condition in which the sac around the heart becomes inflamed. (She also told me that my tests results from right before the holidays showed my sedimentation “sed” rate was really high, twice as high as it should be, and this indicates inflammation and may be why my muscles had felt so weak.)

Pericarditis isn’t really a big deal and is easily treated with corticosteroids, but she had me go to a Cardiologist since heart disease runs on both sides of my family and because I have at least one autoimmune condition that can affect the heart. Subsequently, I had a stress test yesterday along with an abbreviated echocardiogram before and after it. I may not be overweight, but I’m certainly out of shape! Walking the dogs for 15 minutes each night and occasionally riding my bike around the neighborhood is apparently not good enough. It was cool to see and hear my heart beating though. Weird…but cool.

Anyway, the Cardiologist came in and glanced at the results and said that she didn’t see anything too alarming and that she’ll see me for my followup on Monday. In the meantime, I took more prednisone than usual today as my Rheumatologist instructed me to and it seemed to help a bit, so I’m guessing I just have some inflammation in my chest somewhere. Hopefully, I’ll find some answers on Monday…after I fork out another $60, my co-pay for seeing a specialist…my third such co-pay this month. This is in addition to the $405.00 I had to pay for the test yesterday because I haven’t reached my deductible this year. If I had worn the halter monitor and had a full echocardiogram as the Cardiologist wanted me to, I would’ve paid over 1,300 dollars. Have I mentioned how awful educator insurance is???

OK, it’s time to get ready for bed. It’s been a long day, and I’m exhausted. Did I mention that I not only ended up applying for a grant, which I said I wouldn’t do, but I volunteered to help our school’s robotics club? I can’t help it. I really do enjoy my work as a school librarian. It can be tough, but it’s also very rewarding.



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