Friday, June 30, 2006

ANS

As anticlimactic as this may be, it's possible I have a name for what's wrong with me. (And not just something I came up with, a real scientific name.) I went to the doctor today. We discussed my recent heart tests. I'm always at a loss about what to tell doctors when they ask what's been happening to me. I want to ask if they really want to know everything, 'cause the list is usually pretty long. But at the same time, I don't want to leave anything important out. Ya know? Anyway, I finished my Medical Woes of the White Phantom in the Last Six Months with a story about how I almost gave poor Mary Grace a heart attack by looking unusually white one day at Mass. (Seriously, she looked really scared. I mean, I was the one tittering on consciousness and I asked her if she was okay. I felt really bad.) Anyway, she probably doesn't even remember it now, so I'll shut up about that. After I finished, Dr. Nandi's eyes lit up. I was confused about why she looked happy that I'd nearly scared one of my friends to death. She said, "Yes, yes I knew it! I was correct!" I barely got a chance to figure out what she said (she's from India and has a thick accent) before she said, "Remember last time I said you might have an autonomic nervous system imbalance? Yes, yes I did. That's what I thought first." She had to repeat herself before I got all of it. Then I did remember her saying something about that, but she hadn't been actually diagosing me, just throwing out another suggestion into the pot.

Anyway, so basically this is how it goes. There's a part of your central nervous system called the autonomic nervous system. It controls everything from salivating to blood vessel dilation to digestion to bronchial dilation. Pretty much all organ functions. the ANS is divided into two parts (sympathetic and parasympathetic for those of you who care). These two parts counteract each other and stay in a fine balance. The sympathetic takes care of things like "fight or flight" and basically the gettin' goin'. The parasympathetic is the relaxing part. If the balance is off and the parasympathetic takes over, things like fainting, turning white, nausea, dizziness, and weakness occur. Sound familiar? There's just a couple of problems. There's no test, no treatment, no nothing. No one knows what causing it or how it can be prevented. So this is the point where I go "Okay.", shrug, and not climb on tall things when I get dizzy. I'm not terribly excited about the idea of having something with no cure. But I'm really excited about maybe having an answer. Actually, I take that back. It hasn't really set in. And because there's no test, we can't know for sure. But this is good enough for me. I am going to have a sleep lab done in December to see if I have sleep apnea, but Dr. Nadi promised that's the last test. I've been doing some research on ANS instability (the American Heart Association calls it "autonomic failure") but I don't know. I'm kind of sick of the medical scene. And I have a bio test on Monday. I'll think more about this later.

5 comments:

  1. JMJ

    Amen! That there's some kind of answer for you WP!

    Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever!

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  2. In our prayers as always.

    God Bless.

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  3. Actually, if there really is no treatment for what you got and only limited understanding, you should start one of those foundations. You could appear on TV in a hospital gown begging people to send money to fund research that could save your life. The doctors could contribute soudbites about how your such a 'wonderful' person and your so 'full of energy' and that it is such a shame to see you suffer this way.

    But I guess that would be kind of unethical. Oh well...

    God Bless.

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  4. That is really great that you are on the road to an answer. I mean, having an disease nobody knows how to cure is not so bad. There is always hope, somehow, right? Maybe it will just mysteriously pass, as it came.

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