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'Interesting Times'


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Burton Borrok Find out more about Burton Borrok
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  • 'Interesting Times'

    Well folks,
    It’s been an ‘interesting’ few days, - in the same sense as the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

    It started last Thursday when we were at our PCP’s office – Shirley for a follow-up and I to get my PCP and LA Cardiologist playing from the same page. (My PCP has to write the prescriptions etc. for the cardio as he is out of state.) Well, I got a cell phone call from my son. We were with the doctor, so I said I would call him back. After lunch I called his cell phone, and found out he was in the hospital in his home town, Huntington Beach, in Southern California.

    He hadn’t been feeling well for a couple of days and went to the doctor who gave him a couple of sprays of Nitro to get his BP down but it had no effect so he was sent to the hospital – they clocked his BP at 220/140. We went home and I made reservations at a local hotel, then we packed and got ready. At three AM, after two hours sleep, we left to drive to Huntington Beach.

    On the way we stopped at a McDonald’s for breakfast, and on the way to sit down with the food my wife tripped over a table leg. (Instead of being under the table it was sticking way out on the side, like it was meant to support an attached chair.) Down she went. She has bruises on her ribcage and may have cracked a rib – she still has a lot of discomfort from it. We traveled on, and got to the hospital at nine AM Friday morning. Steven was being seen by an attending (his primary) and a cardiologist. They were running EKG’s every eight hours. I asked the tech if he had an inverted T1 and she said yes, and a few others as well.

    On the evening before we left we talked to Steve on the phone and I told him to mention that I had HCM, so they ran an echo and that tech said he had a thickened septum, (Steven didn’t remember what the numbers were – 1.3 or something – so when the dust settles we will have to get copies of all the details.

    They didn’t get his pressure down until Saturday, and released him that afternoon, with a list of prescriptions. We had lunch together Sunday before we headed home, and his pressure was above normal again, - but not as bad. (I think it was something like 186/96 with a pulse rate in the eighties.) He had just gotten the prescriptions filled and took them at the table. We got home without mishap, and spoke to Steve again. He had a slight headache, but no tightness in the chest so I guess the med’s are working.

    His prescriptions include – Vytorin, Benicar HCT, Avandamet, Lopressor, Norvasc, Allegra, Advent, and Rhinocort, so he not only inherited my HCM, Diabetes, Familial Hyperlipidemia, and hypertension, he’s gone off and started collecting other maladies on his own. I guess I’ll have to put him up for membership in the Malady of the Month club.

    I am curious about the Benicar HCT, as it is listed as an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB). I know ACE inhibitors are contraindicated for most HCM patients, - What about ARB’s?
    I had a ‘funny’ experience myself Saturday morning. I felt lousy and when we got to my son’s room I was SOB for a long time – it just wouldn’t stop. I dozed off in a chair for about twenty minutes and woke up still feeling lousy. I took my pulse which was ragged with an occasional very mild beat. I counted 39 bpm. I got up and slowly walked around the ward. When I checked again my pulse had settled down and risen to 49 bpm – and I was feeling quite a bit better. I walked around a bit more and forgot about the problem after that.

    OK, time to shut up.

    PS – For Halloween all the nurses came dressed as - - Nurses.

  • #2
    Re: 'Interesting Times'

    Burt, sounds like you've had enough excitement to last for quite a while! I hope things are quickly under control for your son and he gets the care he needs. I'm glad you were able to be with him, even tho the trip was such a trial. Hope everyone is feeling better today. Linda


    • #3
      Re: 'Interesting Times'

      I got a call today – it seems my Rabbi’s wife died suddenly – no details, but she had been on Vioxx. They had both been in our dinner group. The funeral is tomorrow.

      I guess you realize pretty quickly that your own problems aren’t all that big after all.

      Go easy, my friends – go easy.


      • #4
        Re: 'Interesting Times'

        Oh Burt

        I'm so sorry to hear about your rabbi's wife, but take care of him like we know you can

        Diagnosed 2003
        Myectomy 2-23-2004
        Husband: Ken
        Son: John diagnosed 2004
        Daughter: Janet (free of HCM)

        Grandchildren: Drew 15,Aaron 13,Karen 9,Connor 9


        • #5
          Re: 'Interesting Times'

          Burt - I am a bit unclear on this - has your son been diagnosed with HCM? if so what are his measurements?

          Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
          YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

          Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
          lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
          Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
          Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
          Currently not obstructed
          Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)


          • #6
            Re: 'Interesting Times'

            Well Burt, doesn't sound like a great few days for the Borrok family.
            I hope your wife is feeling better after her fall.
            Sounds like the docs are not too sure what your son has, is the investigation continuing?
            And you, did you let your doc know about your slow heart rates, I thought I was slow by being in the low 50s, but mine is brought on by the meds.
            Burt, take care of yourself and let us know how your son makes out.
            Every great thing that has ever happened since the beginning of time has started as a single thought in someones mind.
            So if you are capable of thought then you are capable of great things
            Good luck and stay well.


            • #7
              Re: 'Interesting Times'

              Dear Burt,
              Wow, what trip, and yes, "interesting times" we live in. May I offer my support for you, your wife, & son. I would also like to offer my condolenses and prayer to your Rabbi's family for their sudden loss.

              Love & Light to all,


              • #8
                Re: 'Interesting Times'

                Burt, I hope that your son gets great care and they figure out everything that needs to be done to help him. Maybe you have paved the path somewhat already.


                Husband has HCM.
                3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.


                • #9
                  Re: 'Interesting Times'

                  Hi Lisa,
                  Since I am only the farther, and Steve is forty years old, I only get scraps of information, from time to time. I know he is Hyperlipidemic, and since I have Familial Hyperlipidemia it’s not too hard to connect the dots. I also know he has a tendency toward high blood pressure – had high blood pressure when he had knee surgery in the seventh grade, and was generally marginally high since. Along with the current situation, it therefore is not too big a reach for the diagnoses of hypertension.

                  As far as the HCM, My local cardiologist - who treated me at New Years, is certain that I have HOCM. The cardiologist in LA who first thought I had Hypertensive CM, has since referred to it as HCM – but that might have been a slip of the tongue. He has not referred to it by name since. The insurance cardiologist - who was supposed to treat me if I got hospitalized again - has now declared that there is nothing wrong with my heart. On my last visit to the hospital he never showed up, and he said as long as I go to my nearby hospital, which I prefer, I will only be treated by the cardiologist in their group that I despise, and have zero confidence in. We left it with no future appointments to see anyone in that group. (I also have had four heart caths so far and have coronary artery disease. I can’t figure why he now says I have no heart problems at all.)

                  I will address this problem in due time, but I really can’t see driving five and a half hours to a hospital where there is a doctor who knows my condition, who I have confidence in, and who is willing to treat me – an especially long trip if I am in need of an ER visit.

                  Personally I feel confident that I have HCM, since I was having symptoms a lot of years before I ever had Hypertension. If I have HCM, and my son said the Echo tech said his septum was thickened, and the EKG tech agreed the T1 and other readings were inverted when his pressure was still high, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that he probably has HCM too – especially since the meds the doctor prescribed include a beta blocker and a calcium channel blocker. They also prescribed an ACB – Benicar HCT. Do you have any info on this medication? Is it appropriate if my son does have HCM?
                  Thanks, (Hope your shoulder is better.)


                  • #10
                    Re: 'Interesting Times'


                    You do know how to have emergencies, don't you!?!

                    I'll pray for comfort for your rabbi and wisdom for everyone else.



                    • #11
                      Re: 'Interesting Times'

                      Burton, I am sorry that you and your family are having a tuff time of it this last few days.

                      I hope your wife is doing better. Did she get a free coke out of the fall. It sounds like it was not her fault that she fell. I don't even know if she likes to drink coke or not.

                      I am sorry that it looks like your son has HCM. I bet you can tell him of a great bunch of people that would love to give him support and answer and questions that he may have.

                      As for you, what are we going to do for you? I just don't know what you should do. The docrors around your home town seem to be a bit confused. Have you made the trip to see an HCM doc.?

                      I hope all goes well for you and your family. You are all in my prayers.
                      Donna B. HCM & ICD. 2 sons with HCM. Brother passed away from HCM at the age of 39. Mother has HCM.


                      • #12
                        Re: 'Interesting Times'

                        Well, I guess I didn’t really identify the players / cardio’s in this little game of mine. The man in LA is, in fact, an HCM specialist. He is rated the best HCM man in LA County, and that’s about the size of all the five boroughs of New York City. His initial thought was that I had Hypertensive Cardiomyopathy, but I think he has come around to HCM, since I had the symptoms for years before I ever got hypertensive, and had been told I had an ‘athletic’ heart and a murmur from about the age of four (where my memory begins.) We are currently testing various drugs. I fax him my details and BP and Pulse readings, and we talk on the phone at least once a week.

                        My local Cardio was the one who treated me when I had the HOCM ‘attacks’ at New Years. He is absolutely certain I have HOCM – HCM, and is the one who ordered the first echo, diagnosed me, changed my meds and got me back on an even keel. He was in a group approved by my insurance, but has since gone out on his own. I now see him, paying him out of pocket. So I get things covered by the insurance he tells my PCP what prescriptions to write and tests to order. If he wrote them himself they would not be covered.

                        The insurance cardio is a group. The man I was recommended to use now says there is nothing wrong with my heart. (I also have Coronary Artery Disease and have had four heart caths - the last two with stenting - so far. I have no idea whose record he is looking at.) Anyway, he said that if I go to the local hospital – which I found to be the best in the area – I would only be treated by the cardiologist whom I hate and have no confidence in. This is the man who read my Echo, gave his vague impressions, and destroyed all the details. (I finally got a copy of the echo itself on a CD for the cardio in LA – without the measurements, but he ran a newer one himself.) I have no further appointments with anybody in this cardio group.

                        I did speak to the insurance companies high risk caseworker assigned to me, and I think we have a possible solution. If hospitalized, I have a right to a second opinion, and I can specify the local doctor I like. That way I can be treated by somebody who knows my case and whom I have confidence in. I am now trying to get the man in LA and the local man communicating on the phone – not an easy task.

                        While I was typing this I got a call from my son, who bought his own blood pressure machine. He said his last reading was about 185 / 110 – or something, with a pulse rate of about 95. I emailed him a form he can print and record the readings on. He talked to his cardio today but forgot to ask about the flu shot. He talks with his PCP tomorrow – maybe that will work.

                        Hope this clears up which doctor is which. I don’t think it is appropriate to name names.


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