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October 13, 2000

I'm Special



I was supposed to have a physical exam this morning, but the doctor was running late, and when they asked if they could reschedule, I said it depends. I told them about a few brief stabbing chest pains I had had a couple of weeks before, and they hooked me up to the EKG.

Diagnosis: everything is okay. My blood workup showed excellent cholestorol, my blood pressure was normal, the EKG showed no dangerous abnormalities. We've rescheduled the regular physical for next week.

But it never ends. The EKG flagged a possible characteristic which a small percentage of the population exhibits (Dr. Selby says "one in a thousand"). It's called
Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome
, or WPW. There's plenty of info on the Internet, so look it up if you're curious. The upshot for me is that a cardiologist needs to look at the EKG, and probably examine me, to determine if I really have it.

If I do, I get to carry around a copy of my EKG, and maybe a medic alert tag. Why? It seems that when most people get tachycardia, there is a common medicine given to slow the heart. Guess what? In folks with WPW, this only worsens the problem. So don't do that. Hence the need to identify myself if I have it.

So now I am told I have low risk for heart disease (very healthy in general) but that I need to have a special consult, and have my regular physical rescheduled to next Friday. Watch your health folks. For the average young person, it is free. After a certain age, it's work.

Posted by dpwakefield at October 13, 2000 10:33 AM