three men with very serious expressions, surrounded by dots connected by a line

Trust… Connecting the Dots

Last updated: December 2021

Shortly before my recent annual visit with my cardiologist, I received some information that sent me into an emotional tail spin: fear, anxiety, insomnia, a lack of overall wellbeing. It had nothing to do with my heart condition, but I felt that the stress I was experiencing might lead to a cardiac event.

Fearing what could happen

I have coronary artery disease. I have two stents, and I’ve had one heart attack. My cardiologist is also tracking occlusion in my carotid arteries. I’m in good physical condition. Normal blood pressure, normal heart rate, only two medications: Lipitor and 81 mg aspirin. But when my mental health is ambushed, I’m fearful that anything might happen: heart attack, stroke, etc. It may not be rational fear, but it’s fear nonetheless.

So I was fearful that my vital signs might be skewed, or my EKG might be abnormal, or my blood work would include red flags when I met with my doctor. To my surprise, everything was normal. No indications of any problems, no need to adjust or add medication. Good news all around.

Talking to my doctor about mental health

But because I trust my doctor and I know that everything in the body and mind is connected, I shared with her the emotional condition I was experiencing. Specialists are specialists, not always the most empathetic doctors, but that’s not the case with my cardiologist.

She listened to what I had to say, and, among other things, it registered with her that I was feeling sleep-deprived. She wrote me a prescription for a stronger dose of Melatonin than you can get over the counter and told me to get back to her if my condition didn’t improve.

A longterm commitment

I would like to say that the positive results were immediate and long-lasting, but that wouldn’t be true. As I write this, I’m still at the beginning of what feels like a longterm commitment to untangling some deep roots, an untangling that might require some additional professional help. I’m OK with that.

No matter how old, I’m almost 73 as of my writing this, it seems that there’s always the possibility of more being revealed about life, that even for seniors, it can sometimes take a village. I’m grateful for trust.

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