It was my regular 6-month ICD interrogation. I go in, lie down and chatter with thenurses while a computer communicates with my defibrillator, gathering information on what it’s recorded or done over the months since my last check-up. It’s easy and usually uneventful.
As I lay there this morning, the nurse furrowed her brow at the screen.
“What were you doing on December 13th at 9:30 in the morning?” she asked.
I had no idea, of course, but apparently my device recorded a 42-second run of atrial fibrillation.
“It’s definitely not a-fib,” she said. “It’s noise on your lead.”
“Noise?” I asked.
“Something big happened to your device. If you were a man, I’d have said you must have been using a jackhammer. Or if your device were any older, I’d be worried about a lead fracture.”
I asked how she knew it wasn’t actually a-fib if the device said it was. “I just do,” was her answer.
She made some phone calls, informing me I’d need a chest x-ray and that the doctor on call would want to see me. I waited on the bed, thinking I’d call into work and let them know I’d be later than originally thought.
But then the doctor walked in. I'd never seen him in my life. Barely glancing at the screen, he said, "you're fine."
The nurse seemed surprised. She asked if he was sure, and whether he didn’t want a chest x-ray.
“No. She’s fine.”
“Are you really sure?” she asked again.
He looked at me this time. “You can go home,” he said.
And then he left. Maybe "ran off" would be more accurate.
The nurse looked at me.
"I guess you can go,” she shrugged.
What the hell?
I did leave, but I left feeling irritated and unsatisfied.
Patients, have you been in a situation like this? Doctors, why oh why do you contradict nurses (or other doctors) without explaining yourselves? Should I have been more assertive? Should I have demanded an explanation? I probably shouldn't worry about it, but I'm always wary of crossing the line into annoying-hypochondriac-patient territory. For now, I've just decided to wait and ask Dr. Cufflinks about it when I see him.
I know these people are busy, and I also know they don’t always have all the answers. But if you just don't know, or if you have a good reason for disagreeing with another care provider, then tell me. This is the kind of thing that drives people to Dr. Google.