She was manic, busy and energetic – clearly loving her work. Her time running out and my appointment at least 30 minutes late.
I sat there feeling guilty for wasting precious time of this very busy woman.
Trying to access my files on her computer
Asking a colleague for help to make my documents visible and finally achieving it.
A pause from her suggested something may be up, but she had her game face on, and no emotion showed – a good sign I thought.
Her questions, my answers all appeared to tick the “you are healthy” box.
“So lets check that echocardiogram” she said.
Alone I sat in the room with examination bed and curtain at one end. Messy desk topped with artificial hearts, papers, stethoscope and cup of tea at the other end. Cream walls.
Waiting seemed like forever – I practiced my apology for wasting her time
The door flew open and the words “you are in serious trouble” spilled out, followed by “you have severe heart disease”. She loomed over me explaining exactly what she had seen on the echocardiogram, but I heard nothing. Those words “severe heart disease” echoing inside my brain.
What! When? How? Why? Visibly shocked.
I am a fitness instructor, how could this be. I cycle, run, exercise for leisure and for occupation.
“Did you have rheumatic fever when you were young” she asked. “I have no idea” I mumbled
Diagnosis – Rheumatic Heart Disease
Within an hour, I was a patient. I work with patients.
Within an hour, I was prescribed medication. I never take pills.
Within an hour, my life changed.
Three words side swiped me – Disease, Patient, Medication
Prepare for valve replacement surgery
After paying for the consultation, I sat in my car feeling totally alone
How do I tell my family?