Join Date: Jun 2004
Worried about my dad, refuses to go to emergency room
I am very concerned about my dad's health, and worried that his heart can stop any minute. My dad is 62 years old, and on the left side of his chest (under his left armpit), he mostly feels heavy pressure, and rarely pain, as if there is something clogged in the arteries. That clog moves around because
sometimes he feels the same thing on his upper left back, and sometimes, there is actual pain in his left upper arm (just below his shoulder). Sometimes, the pressure is mild, and other times, the pressure is heavy, and this has been going on for the past couple of weeks.
I have repeatedly asked my dad to go to an emergency room, but he flatly refuses. He says that going to the emergency room is like being in a straight jacket due to a similar situation that happened 8 years ago. Back then, he complained only of a sharp pain in his left upper arm, just below the shoulder (the similar type of pain he has now). He was casually discussing his sharp pain with an acquaintance who happens to be an internationally reputed MD doctor who does reconstructive surgery, and was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, 4 or 5 times. Unfortunately, this acquaintance had suffered a massive heart attack, left with a heart that functions at 10% capacity. Because of this, the acquaintance asked my dad to stop talking and go to an emergency room right away, since this sharp pain is a sign of a heart attack. My dad went immediately to an emergency room.
When my dad went to the emergency room, he had to wait 8, 10 hours, connected to a bunch of tubes, in the emergency room. Finally, when he was moved to a room, he had to stay idle couple of days in the hospital room. When the doctors were finally able to perform the angiogram, the results were negative. What's interesting is that negative results are not new to my dad because in the past, when he has visited doctors, he has undergone various cardio-related tests such as EKG, which always came negative, and once, a stress test 15 years ago, which was also negative.
Afterwards, few weeks later, my dad found out that the pain in the arm was due to a pinched nerve in the area of the 6th & 7th cervical vertebrae in his neck. The neurologist said leave it alone, it will go away.
All of this was 8 years ago, and my dad went through several days of hell in the hospital room, and the results were negative. Now, 8 years later, my dad says if he goes to the emergency room, it will be pure hell, only to find that the results are negative.
My dad comes from a family where heart disease and diabetes are prevailant. 35 years ago, when his father died of a heart attack at the age of 62, my dad decided he will never have any of these health problems, and has been health-conscious ever since. As a matter of fact, he goes to the gym thrice a week and burns 1500 calories, each time on the nordic-track type of cardio-machines (except, he stopped 4 weeks ago because of a meniscus tear in one of his knees). He maintains a diet of fruits, vegetables, and fish, and believes in taking multivatimes, along with chewable baby Asprin (81 mg). He reads Prevention magazine like a holy book, and even takes scotch at night, slightly more than one drink, just to protect his heart.
He had his last blood test three months ago, and the cardio-related results are consistent from the previous year. Except for homocysteine (which is normal), the results looks as if they came from a healthy person in their 20's.
Normal Range < 200 mg/dL
Normal Range >/= 40 mg/dL
Normal Range < 130 mg/dL
Normal Range <150 mg/dL
Normal Range < 1.0 mg/L for low cardiovascular risk
Normal Range < 11.4 MICROmol/L
In spite of being as health-conscious as humanly as possible, he cannot escape from old age, and hence he has to take medications for various ailments, such as Lipitor 10mg to control cholestoral, Synthroid 0.1mg for underactive thyroid, Nexium 40mg for h.pylor, and Flomax 0.4 mg for slight prostate enlargement.
My dad believes that with the health he has maintained over the years, that he can make the pain go away without going through emergency room hell. A week earlier, he was taking Ibuprofen 600mg, couple of times a day, for 4 or 5 days. The Ibuprofen didn't work, plus it was causing a stomach ache,
even though he always took it with food, so he stopped. Couple of days later (day before yesterday), along with food, he took two coated Asprins 325mg each, together. And yesterday, he repeated the same thing, except the Asprins were plain, not coated. Today he says that he's feeling ok, but I'm
worried. Please give your advise, what should he do?