dear heart

courage dear heart
ourage, dear heart. – c.s lewis

bear with me if you will, this topic will never go stale for me.

in the recent light of things, i’ve grown particularly sensitive again to the delivery of healthcare in Singapore. it isn’t that i never stopped caring- i never stopped caring. but when you’re put in the frontline of things, when you are put in front of doctors as the patient especially at a time when you need their help the most, it is the time when the culture of healthcare providers rear their horns.

i struggled. i really struggled when i saw my cardiologist. it was a new symotom, although not foreign to me. i knew what breathlessness(dypsnea) is. it was terrible when i was anemic, but it was accompanied my tachycardia. i was rather used to the effort intolerance since 2011. but this year, with good knowledge that my anemia has resolved and then subsequently finding out myself i wasn’t tachycardic when i was breathless… i was scared.

yes. i am not ashamed to say that i am scared. with a somewhat diminished quality of life(QOL) with RA, new fibromyalgia and ongoing battles with mental health issues, it scares me.

when i saw my doctor, she found out why i was breathless. my left ventricle had enlarged/dilated/stretched out. for my LVIDd, it was already past normal limits of 5cm. and if i ever do hit 6cm it would be more or less be pathologic. we roughly knew why. but she was so fixated on how we’re going to prevent it from deteriorating. i am cardiology-trained yes, but when it came to myself, i was helpless.

i had so many questions for her. will my ventricle ever return to normalcy (although the likelihood is almost zero)? can we reduce the distressing dyspnea? the list could go on and on. but our conversation just revolved around me being tachycardic (which i have clarified i haven’t been for at least 6 months), and my medications.

my consultation with her was the last for the day, and it ended so haphazardly for me. the conclusions from that day were long, but weren’t pleasant at all. the end of her consult broke me. my faith in doctors shook hard once again.

this is not doctoring is it? i walked out of the hospital (after visiting the EMD for an IV drip) for the thousandth time- the place in which i was borned and mostly treated medically, the place where i trained as a nurse, the place where i first gained employment- again disillusioned, feeling lost and very doubtful.

what are they doing? or perhaps i should ask myself, what am i doing???

it was hard to cope and i was drowning in the mess of co-morbidities and drug interactions, impending flares and current symptoms that aren’t treated, unanswered questions which remains so after years, financial instability, and a relatively new job that i’m trying to keep.

i didn’t know what to do. i was so upset and distressed. so i got a tattoo. that’s all. and if anything, it lightened my heart a little. i am contemplating withdrawing my services completely as a patient from the hospital, and that thought by itself feels like a reprieve. this is despite knowing i will not get treated for my RA, nor will i see my cardiologist and gastroenterologist. gynaecologist even. this is disillusionment at its best.


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