Working for the Right Organization



“I am going to set you up for physical therapy,” said my doctor when I went to her complaining of dizziness.

Having had low blood pressure my entire life, I’m used to getting a spell of dizziness upon standing suddenly, but this was different, and more and more frequent. This time I was standing in my garage talking to my husband, and the whole room suddenly swirled around my head and I felt woozy. I leaned against the wall or I would have gone down, no question.

It happened again on a very hot day during one of our American Heart Association Heart Walks. I was staffing the walk and had to just throw myself onto the grass (in a very dramatic fashion) so as not to pass out. Thank goodness, it was soft grass and not hard concrete.

Having worked for the American Heart Association for a year, I was surprised by my doctor’s brush off when I told her about these episodes — going to physical therapy made no sense to me.

So, I changed primary care physicians. On my first visit, I entered brandishing my Go Red for Women literature. Women’s heart illnesses and symptoms are different than men’s, like in my case, and I wanted to talk about that. He basically laughed at me but sent me for a stress test, which came back negative. I said, “That’s great; now what do we do for my dizziness?” He hinted that maybe I needed a different kind of doctor, one who deals with psychiatric issues, but he did reluctantly set me up for a heart monitor.

During the week that I wore the monitor, I experienced a dizzy spell while in the park with my dog Oliver. I suddenly got very weak and leaned up against the fence. The guy next to me asked if I was OK because, apparently, I had turned as white as a ghost. I immediately got a call from the heart monitor people who asked, “Did you just have an episode?” I said, yes, and was glad they caught it. I was immediately diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia, which I hadn’t heard of before, but my doctor said was a racing heart. He put me on beta blockers, which work just fine, and I haven’t been dizzy since.

In my case, working at the American Heart Association and visiting its website made a big difference and may have saved my life because I wouldn’t know what was going on without the AHA.

The moral of my story is that you have to be your own advocate. Unless you’re an overweight, smoking, elderly man, some doctors don’t seem to listen. Read. Learn. Educate yourself. Come prepared to fight and bring someone else along who can advocate for you as well. And hopefully the resolution will be as smooth as mine was in the end.

Now I can sleep at night and work for an organization that I believe in. That’s always been paramount in my work experience.

This information is provided as a resource to our readers. The tips, products or resources listed or linked to have not been reviewed or endorsed by the American Heart Association.

Highlighting our readers’ experiences with heart disease from their own perspective. We’re always looking for contributions, so please send us yours. Before submitting, please review our Writer’s Guidelines.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

- Advertisement - 

This link is provided for convenience only and is not an endorsement or recommendation of either the linked-to entity or any product or service. 

AD. Coricidin HBP. Powerful cold relief without raising your blood pressure. $1 off. Decongestant Free. Use as directed.

AD. American Heart Association Support Network. Everyone's diagnosis story is different and sharing yours can help others. Join the Support Network and share your experience. heart.org/SupportNetwork


 

AD: American Heart Association logo. Symptoms. Always feeling tired isn't normal. Learn the signs of Heart Valve Disease.


 

AD. American Heart Association logo. Know your blood pressure numbers. And what they mean. Gain Control. button: learn more.


 

AD. Heart Insight. Get the app for free.


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Special Topic Supplements

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Departments

Heart News

Heart health news you can use about new scientific findings, public policy, programs and resources.

Heartfelt

Articles, poems and art submitted by heart disease survivors and their loved ones.

Life's Simple 7

Improving your health is as easy as minding seven simple health factors and behaviors. Tips and information to help you improve your health and enhance your quality of life.

Life Is Why

Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. These heart patients, their loved ones and others share their 'whys'. We'd love for you to share yours, too!

Simple Cooking

Cooking at home can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one for your diet and lifestyle (and your wallet). Making small changes in your diet is important to your heart health. Here are simple, healthy and affordable recipes and cooking tips.