back from the doctor, or “salt, salt, and more salt”

A woman sits in a doctor’s office on a hot day.  It’s been hot for nearly two weeks without much break – a day here and there where it goes below 90.  She gives her history which includes that she’s been feeling dizzy, off balance, for nearly all of the last 2 weeks (give or take a day here and a few hours there) when she overdid it in the heat the Friday before the July 4th.  She’s not sure that the two are related, but that was the only precipitating factor she can think of.  Migraines don’t last this long and she’s not having tinnitus or hearing loss. She doesn’t mention all this stuff about the migraines and the tinnitus because then she’d sound like a know it all Mrs. Snottypants and possibly annoy the doctor.  After she’s been talking for a minute or so, she feels unwell.  Beads of sweat form on her upper lip, she hunches forward instinctively – not in a sudden movement but a slow lean down until her torso is almost but not quite parallel to her thighs.  God only knows how many times she’s adopted this pose without anyone remarking on it.  She assumes that if anyone notices it, they assume she simply has horrible posture and is perhaps a little odd.  The doctor says “are you ok?” “Oh I just feel a little, uh, sick” she says.

And thus began my visit with the cardiologist today.  What ensued was her checking my blood pressure then getting my ass promptly up on the table, having me lay down, and calling for “anything salty” to the staff.  lol.  So I spent most of the rest of the history lying on my back eating some kind of super salty pretzel and chip snack mix.  And drinking two cups of ice cold water quickly (“there’s a reflex that is triggered by that – it gets your blood pressure up” she told me later).

So…I need salt.  She needs my tilt table results (those bastards still haven’t handed over the data!).  It sounds like I have “neurocardiogenic syncope” (I’m pretty sure that’s could be seen as a very fancy way of saying “you faint”).  I have enough crap/symptoms to make her want another echo (I showed her the two I’d had previously, 2006 and 2009), and when my “blood pressure stabilizes” a stress test.  For now it’s salt, compression hose, and a vasoconstrictor, “if you don’t mind that we try a medication,” she added.  I was rather taken aback by this, in a good way.illustration of person putting on compression hose.  Image from the Mayo Clinic.

“Will that make me feel worse at all?”  “I don’t think so, it shouldn’t” she told me.  “I’m mostly concerned because I get migraines.  Is a vasoconstrictor ok to take with migraines?” “Oh yes, actually, a lot of the migraine meds are vasoconstrictors” (oh now she’s excited) “this might work out pretty good for you.  Let’s start on a very low dose, and if you don’t feel well, stop taking it.”  Ok, so I like her.  I may not like where we end up, but I like her approach.

The cardiologist wants to see me in a month to see if I’m doing better on the drug and with hose.  “I know wearing compression hose in this heat would be hard,” she told me.  Hey, it was good of her to think of it.  I told her I’d try wearing them at work since I keep my office very cold.  We’ll see what we can do.  This is me being a good patient.  I have no idea if it will work but I figure hose can’t hurt….um, right?

Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a comment


  1. R. G. Maines

     /  July 17, 2010

    This sounds promising… I’ve wondered why they haven’t suggested compression stockings for my legs, seeing as how I have the edema in my calves, ankles and feet so badly.

    I hope this treatment will make a difference for you. I actually have wished my symptoms would make an appearance at the doctor’s office, that way they would be less inclined to look at me like I was reciting fiction.

    As for your migraine, I had one, early on when I first started having them, that lasted for 3 weeks without relief. I lost the job I had at the time because of it. I’ve often wondered if blood pressure was related to the migraines, seeing as how migraines are vascular headaches.

    I wonder if sharing our journeys, one or the other of us might have an ‘ah-ha’ moment about our own conditions?

    Hope you’re feeling better soon!
    (((Hugs))) oxox

    • I’ve had the long-ass migraine. I was never clear if it was one long migraine or just (as I call it) The Months of Migraine. It was in 2005 and it was terrible. But it was also before I was on elavil, which helped considerably to reduce the number and severity of them.

      It sure would be easier to do the stockings if it weren’t oven-like out! Would you be able to ask about them for yourself?

  2. queenofoptimism

     /  July 18, 2010

    I’m so glad this doc sounds on top of things. I’m interested to hear how the compression hose work for you. I’m hoping they can also bring some much needed relief.

    I’m so hopeful for you – it sounds like connections are finally being made, you have a good team and things are going the way they need to – how great that you were n the doctor’s office when the episode happened as opposed to it happening the day after, etc.

    I hope you are well stocked in Mr. Salty pretzel sticks. Sending lots of love and caring vibes (along with hope for another update – I’m getting pretty concerned over here!!)

    • Hi Queen,
      Just laying low this weekend. Yesterday was particularly painful and unpleasant. I had a bad spell post grocery shopping. On the plus side, I know it wasn’t my blood sugar.

      I’m hopeful too. Mr. Salty, lol. Yeah. And orange chips!

  3. oh btw, I didn’t mean to “like” this post by me. lol. I was like “what’s that button?” and voila, I now “like” it. Oh internets, how you confound sometimes.

  1. done, for now « Final Trick

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: