Because I’m at risk for endocarditis (and have had it three times since 1998, but with no damage to my heart, because we’ve caught it really early, each time), my doctors and I have devised a very cautious plan:
Whenever I run a fever, I shall go to the Emergency Department to get tested, to make sure I do not have endocarditis.
That’s the plan. It works very well, too, because I almost never run a fever.
Yesterday and today, I’ve been running a fever.
At times like this, I can see flaws in this plan.
Have I gone to the Emergency Department? Not yet.
I don’t feel like going! I have a fever! And it’s most likely NOT endocarditis. I mean, everybody knows there’s been something going around: a flu, a virus, whatever. My supervisor at work was really sick with it, a week or so ago. She ran a high fever for a couple of days.
So those facts would argue for my not going to the Emergency Department to get tested.
However, the first time I decided get tested for endocarditis, when I was 7 months pregnant with my son, I also had some kind of flu or virus. But I had a really funny feeling and I called Dr. Salem, my cardiologist, and said, “I want to get tested for endocarditis.” And Dr. Salem said, “Better safe than sorry.”
The doctor doing the testing said, “You don’t have endocarditis. You have the flu. But since you’re here, let’s test you.”
And I had endocarditis.
I remember talking to Dr. Salem, afterwards: “Wasn’t that weird that I asked to get tested? You know, there really was no reason for that. I’d never had it before, plus I had the flu and I knew it. How do you explain that?” And he said, ” I think somebody was looking out for you.”
And I thought of my father, who had died less than a year before that.
Does this make any sense? I can’t tell. I’m running a fever.
Also, I’ve told this story before, here, when I wasn’t running a fever.
Anyway, back to the present. My Primary Care Physician knows what I’m doing (or not doing) right now. She wrote me an email yesterday:
Okay….well there is definitely something going around. Please promise to go to the ED if you start to feel poorly or continue to have a fever or feel like you have endocarditis.
I promised. And based on that, I think I’ll be going to the Emergency Department at some point during this beautiful April weekend, just to be safe.
After all, when you make a plan, it’s usually good to stick to it. Second guessing can be quite painful.
To end this fevered post, here’s something else that looks out for me:
And let’s include some music here, too.
(Peggy Lee performing “Fever”posted by Gareth Miller here on YouTube)
Thanks to everybody who has ever looked out for me, to Peggy Lee, and to you — of course! — for visiting today.