Joe saw the doctor yesterday and mentioned that he had a second episode. The doctor immediately said, "This changes everything; you will see the cardiologist today."
The office manager called the cardiologist office and bam! Appointment made.
The cardiologist, who is named Dr. Wang (and I am NOT KIDDING about that), examined Joe, reviewed the test results so far, and then dropped the bombshell.
He might have an atrial septal defect.
Which, my friends, is a hole in his heart. Emotions, meet roller coaster.
If you don't feel like wading through the info at that link, here's the skinny.
The upper chambers of the heart, the atria, are separated by a ridge of tissue, the septum. It keeps the oxygen-rich blood from your arteries from mixing with the oxygen-poor blood from your veins. While you're swimming around in yer mammy's tummy, the septum is not completely closed. Normally, it closes up nice and tight by the time you're born.
Sometimes, though, it doesn't, and a bitty hole remains.
Now what happens sometimes is that a squirt of oxy-poor blood will jump through the hole and mix with the oxy-rich blood, and that's not good.
Symptoms don't even show up until a person reaches their mid- to late 40s. It can cause TIAs, migraines, fatigue, bronchitis, and a whole buncha other nasty stuff, all of which fit in with Joe's medical history.
Yes, there's a definitive test -- echocardiogram with bubble contrast -- which he'll have next week.
Just as Joe finished reading up on this, he started up iPod. The first song?
This Old Heart of Mine.