My Mom Recently Had Bypass Heart Surgery

You have to be your own advocate when you go for a doctor’s visit, whether it is for yourself, a family member or even a pet.

My mom was going for a doctor’s visit and luckily my younger brother went with her. As they were walking from the parking lot to the doctor’s office, my mom started to get a burning feeling in her chest, shortness of breath and turned pale. My brother asked her “Are you alright mom?” “Yes”, she replied “you are walking too fast for me. I just need to rest a couple of minutes and I will be all right”

During my mom’s doctor appointment my brother told the doctor what had happened in the parking lot. My mom could have kicked my brother for squealing on her. The doctor. asked her if she still had any symptoms. My mom replied “No, that once she stopped and rested the symptoms went away.” Her doctor referred her to a cardiologist.

During the cardiologist visit, the doctor said that her heart sounded good and since she had the recent symptoms, she should go to have a Cardiac Nuclear Stress Test. The stress test showed that my mom had blockages in her arteries around her heart. They scheduled her for bypass surgery the following week.

I am sharing my mom’s story, so that we can all learn from this experience. You see every time my mom went to the doctor for her yearly checkup, they always told her that her heart sounded good for her age. My mom is 80 years old and is number16 out of 17 children. She has been healthy all her life. She has been a vegetarian for over 40 years, doesn’t smoke or drink. She worked as  a carpenter alongside my father. Yes, my mom actually swung a hammer back in the day. And she ran the family carpentry and home building businesses. She didn’t take any medications; only Homeopathic remedies when she got a cough, cold or injury, along with herbal tinctures over the years. My mom’s blood pressure was always good, along with her bloodwork when she had her yearly checkups.

Yeah, my mom’s heart was beating great, but she had blocked arteries. How could the doctors have missed that? Why didn’t the doctor suggest to my mom that she should have further testing for someone her age? I do realize that it is not the doctors fault, she/he can only go by what the patient tells them. In fact, my family and I were all surprised to hear that she had blocked arteries. She  never mentioned to us that she was experiencing a slight burning pain in her chest when she walked fast. My mom probably told the doctor she was feeling very well. Not thinking about the pain, she had gotten from time to time with exertion. When I asked my mom on the way home from the cardiologist, how long she had been feeling the chest pain. She replied, “I would feel it mostly when I raked the leaves, or shoveled snow. “Ok mom” I asked “was that the first few minutes of raking or shoveling or quite some time after?” “Oh, I would rake or shovel for a little bit and start to feel the burning in my chest and stop.” “The pain would always go away soon after I stopped raking or shoveling. I didn’t think it was a big deal.” She explained to me.

You have to be your own advocate when you go for a doctor’s visit, whether it is for yourself, a family member or even a pet. If at all possible, have someone go with you; they may hear something that you did not. Ask questions to get better clarity of what the doctor is thinking or seeing during an exam. If the doctor doesn’t want to take the time to answer your questions, change doctors.

Do a little research on your own, before or after a doctor visit. Learn about symptoms you are already experiencing. Get a second or even a third opinion with a doctor outside of the first doctor’s group/network. There is nothing wrong with getting a clinical diagnosis no matter what your method of healing is.

The great news, is that my mom’s surgery went very well. She was back home 20 days later from the day of her surgery. The doctors were even amazed how well and how quickly she healed for an 80 year old person. The arteries were blocked, but there was no damage to her heart. Of course, my mom blames the blocked arteries on the “damn cheese she ate.” She does recognize that my brother saved her life. Which is probably the truth and I’m grateful he was with her that day and had the good sense to tell the doctor!