Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Diagnosis

I have received a “new” medical diagnosis: the swelling in my leg that began after I fell through the deck stairs almost two years ago and then spread to my other leg, ankles, and feet evidently has nothing to do with the fall. The results of various tests from the past two weeks indicate that the swelling is more related to my obesity, COPD, and recently found slightly elevated blood pressure.

To use the big words that the doc used, the edema is caused by congestive heart failure, which is the doc’s diagnosis:

The most common signs of congestive heart failure are swollen legs or ankles, difficulty in breathing, and weight gain because of accumulating fluid. Congestive heart failure usually requires a treatment program of rest, proper diet, modified daily activities, and drugs such as digitalis, diuretics, and vasodilators. ~ (Follow the hyperlink above to the document source of this quotation)

Am I upset? Nope

Am I worried? Nope

Did I suspect this diagnosis? Yep.

When the VA medical staff could not find a bone source of my leg swelling and then the edema went to both legs, I suspected that it was something else and began to search websites for the answer. That was almost a year ago. When I suggested to my VA case manager that it might be congestive heart failure, she said that none of the tests the VA had run indicated it.

Of course, my VA case manager never looked at my legs! She has seldom looked at me! About 90% of the brief time we are together she has spent looking at her computer screen and asking me questions. I really am uncomfortable with the practice of modern, computer-based medicine.

Thankfully Dr. Mike and his staff did look at my legs and prescribed a diuretic the first day he visited me. With the confirmation of the diagnosis of congestive heart failure, the frequency of my taking the diuretic has been increased from one a day to three a day. At the moment, he says, I need no other medications, although a member of his staff will be visiting me weekly to measure progress. I feel comfortable with that!


  1. Sometimes it is a relief to get a diagnosis even if the diagnosis is not the best. At least you know what you are dealing with and that some one is listening.

    I totally empathise. I had a bilateral oedema and I had enough knowledge to know it could mean CCF and a doc telling me it was caused by the same meds I had taken for a decade without any such effects! The relief I felt when a doc finally listened... I can't describe it. Turned out to be a DVT, which is not good, but at least I knew I was now getting the right treatment.

    So on that basis, I am glad for you friend because now you are getting the right treatment.

    And thanks for the TBITM Jokes yesterday. Brightened my day again as they always do. :)

  2. While I'm not happy about the diagnosis, I am glad that it's been made so you can now get treatment. I've been wondering, with the way you've been looking and feeling, and I've been worried for you.

    Sending prayers and positive thoughts that you get much stronger and healthier now.

  3. It scares me that so many doctor's no longer bother doing their jobs. They just jump on the first diagnosis they think of and go with it. God forbid their patients actually come up with something for them...we're not suppose to know anything.

    That's how my dad almost died. His cardiologist refused to listen to my mother about his symptoms of digitalis toxicity. The doctor kept insisting my dad was diabetic and his symptoms were par the course. Next thing we knew, my dad's heart stopped.

  4. At least now you can get treatment, but what long road you've travelled to get the diagnosis!

  5. Take care - really take care. do you walk some al little more each day sandy

  6. My grandmother lived to be 98, and was diagnosed with CHF when she was in her 70s. It's a big scary name, but it's manageable now that you know it's there.

  7. Glad to know that Dr. Mike took actual interest. Good Luck with your situation Nick. Cheers my good man!!

  8. I am thankful that you kept on top of this. I am keeping you in my prayers.

  9. And hey...the diuretic 3 times a day will take care of the "modified daily activities" all by itself.

    Be well my friend,

  10. copd,got that as well.asthma,seizures yep got those as well.hugs my friend.finding out what you have may not be good news,but at least you know what's going on.

  11. Unbelievable the case manager tried to help without looking at your legs! Should be the first thing to do for every doctor! When I first read about your edema I thought about Sarcoidosis which can also cause massive swellings. I had huge ankles of it. At least you know what it is now, so it can be treated and monitored.

  12. I always feel if you know what's wrong with you it's easier to cope with. At least you have a proper diagnosis and the doctor is taking care of you, that's good isn't it? :)

  13. Cath: Yes! It’s very reassuring to obtain an accurate diagnosis—and be prescribed the appropriate treatment! Thank you, dear friend!

    Squirl : Thank you, dear Squirl. You have assisted me through several not-so-good situation and I deeply appreciate your concern during this one!

    Silverneurotic: I’m glad your dad made it through, my friend!

    I share your concern about the medical profession and its dependence upon computers. I watched a repeat episode of the TV program House recently in which House and his doctors didn’t catch the culprit causing the patient’s disease because they depended on the computer’s analysis of the patient’s blood. As one of the doctor’s said, hed any of them just looked at the blood under a microscope they would have had an immediate diagnosis. As it was, they trusted the computer. I think that happens much too often in the real world!

    Little Sister: Yes, it has been a long road to get this far. I wonder if the diagnosis could have been made in August two years ago when I first went to the VA for the problem with my leg? But, you know yourself the long journey of medical treatment, too. I pray you’re doing OK, my friend!

  14. i beati: Thank you, my friend! I am looking at several forms of exercise that I have neglected over the past six or so years.

    Thomas: You are right, dear Thomas! Knowing what is going on actually has explained lots to me, including why I have become so easily tired over the past few years.

    Matt-Man: Thank you, sir! I do feel cheerful at the moment, even though Alex and I have napped away much of this beautiful day.

    Finding Pam: I sincerely appreciate your thought and prayers, my friend! Being aware that others are thinking of and pray for me reduces the feeling of being so much alone.

  15. digitalzen: Thank you for the information, friend.

    Xmichra : Yes, I have come to appreciate Dr. Mike and his crew greatly over the past couple of months.

    Mike Golch: Yes, Mike, I now know at least some of what’s going on. That’s much better than knowing nothing.

    Tink: Yes. I am amazed how centered the VA medical folks are on their computers. It’s worse than a teen playing a video game. Did you recover from the Sarcoidosis?

  16. Akelamalu: Yes, having a diagnosis and treatment plan feels wonderful!

  17. Well I'm wishing you the best my friend and hope you get better soon. I think it's awful that they didn't find it until a year later because they were kind of just pushing you through the system and not being thorough. I hate hearing stories like that but now you know what it is and what to do to treat it. Based on what little I have read some of the effects are reversible with some changes to lifestyle.You show a wonderful attitude and I'm sure the worse will be turning for the better soon.

  18. I came by to read the jokes I'd missed and did not expect to find your new diagnosis. Please take care of yourself, Nick! You are a very important person to this world.

  19. Ricardo: Thank you for your concern, my friend. Yes, the VA was simply pushing me through the system! I believe that is the way of most bureaucracies and the primary reason that I stopped being a government bureaucrat after 11 years.

    China Girl: Thank you, my friend! I’ve always been able to take care of others better than myself, but I am doing my best to learn self-care.

  20. Having a diagnosis is probably the best thing now in order to get you the help and support you need.

    Best wishes,
    CJ xx

  21. Purrs to yoo Alex's sez dat computers are a tool and dat sometimes other beans furget dat.

  22. That does sound serious, Nick. So glad you have Dr. Mike!

  23. Though the news isn't exactly what you wanted to hear, I am glad that you know so that you can take the appropriated medication. Take care Nick. Prayers for you!

  24. Ain't growing old a pile of shit!

    Take care, brother!

  25. Well now you know for certain and can actually take meds that treat what's wrong with you!

  26. Crystal Jigsaw: Thank you.

    Zippy, Sadie and Speedy : Your mom makes an excellent point! Computers are a tool and there must be a human being—or even a kitty cat—willing to use them as such.

    Abby: Yes, I am happy I have Dr. Mike, too!

    jennifer: Thank you! A appreciate your prayers.

    Angus: Yeah, but I prefer growing old to the alternative!

    Travis : You are so right! And the meds seem to be already helping!

  27. Wow, Nick! I hope you continue getting better. I bet you have to pee a lot, huh? ;)