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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We came back from hiking on Monday, two days earlier than planned. The temperature ticked up from the mid-90s to the high 90s, and so did the humidity. We did 12 miles on Saturday, 9 on Sunday, 7 on Monday. We both got bit up by chiggers on Saturday, which is a thoroughly miserable experience. If you are from the North you don't know about the South's dirty little secret: CHIGGERS. You can't see them and they don't start to itch or burn until hours later, so you never know exactly where you were when you got bitten.

If a mosquito bite is a pea shooter, a chigger bite is a nuclear bomb! I cannot emphasize how excrutiating they are. We each have about 20 of them, mostly on our ankles but I have two between my fingers and a couple on my back. It's been 3 days and they are still driving me crazy and waking TC up at night.

Frustration #2 -- the cardiologist

The cardiologist's office doesn't seem to be particularly well run. Despite my telling them on Friday they should use my cell phone number, we got home on Monday to find a message on the home phone saying their treadmill was fixed and could I come in that afternoon. Lucky we decided to come home early, right? I called them back and said yes, but when she found out I had drunk coffee that morning she said they could squeeze me in on Tuesday afternoon.

So Tuesday morning she calls and says the treadmill is broken again! I ask if I could possibly get some information about the three tests I already had taken, including the 24 hours on the heart rate monitor. After being on hold for about 10 minutes she told me "It hasn't been read yet." She said she'd have someone look at it after lunch and call me back.

So I sat in the house all afternoon and you guessed it, no call.

So here's what I don't understand: why do I need Test #4 when they apparently haven't looked at the results of tests #1, #2, and #3?

And something else I thought was weird: on my first visit, after tests #1 and #2 and after getting hooked up to the heart rate monitor, I was given an appointment card for a "follow up" visit in 2014. Why do I need a follow up appointment a year from now when they don't even know yet if anything is wrong?

SO....I'm losing faith in this guy and feel like I'm being over-tested for the insurance money. So I think I'm going to decline test #4 and wait until they can evaluate the results of tests #1, #2, and #3.

We leave for Peru in five days and I need to get myself in a good place mentally. Someone in our group posted a YouTube video of the same trail we are taking, and it looks positively DAUNTING. My mantra for the next 5 days is, "I am strong. I am capable. I can do this."

The video is long, but here it is if you are interested in seeing what I'll be doing next week:

Sorry this is long, but it is nearly 3:00 a.m. and I can't sleep because of the dang chigger bites!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hi TG - so sorry to hear about all the issues with the doctor. You do have to wonder what is going on and it does sound like you are more of a process than a patient.

    If you have other options I would sure look into them.

    Good luck with that hike. I watched part of the video and you do have your work cut out for you but just think of the feeling you are going to have when you conquer the trail!!

    You will probably also lose several of those pounds you promised yourself this year!

    You go get em!!


    1651 days ago
    Wow that looks SO cool. I am such a city girl, part of me thinks 'OMG how many odd bugs and animals would I have to worry about doing something like this, where's a Holiday Inn?' but then there's adventurer side starting to take over me as I've gotten older that thinks 'I could do this!'

    I'm so impressed that you are doing this, I can' t wait to hear about it.

    And EEYOW! CHIGGERS! My grandpa used to tell me horror stories about them. I'm so sorry for you guys.

    Oh and WTH is with that doctor? Tell me the results of 1,2 and 3 before you make me wait for an appointment for 4 thank you very much!

    Happy trails to you!
    1652 days ago
    Maybe you will out travel the chiggers.
    1652 days ago
  • SUGAR0814
    I hope your chigger bites heal soon! emoticon
    1652 days ago
    AARGH! I've heard a lot of stories about people getting stuck with doctors who are just going through the motions. Statistical note: 50% of doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class.

    My prayers are with you for your Peruvian Adventure! I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures!

    1652 days ago
    Oh, my those chiggers sound horrendous!
    How long do the bites last?
    You are a smart health care consumer- I would refuse further testing, too.
    Does sound like it's time for a new doc.
    1652 days ago
    We have chiggers in the north, but we call them no see'ums.
    1652 days ago
    I'm sorry you've got so many frustrations "eating" you lately. How long does chigger itching last? Sounds dreadful!

    You will love your Peru trip, and I look forward to hearing about it. I'm off to watch your video!

    That was an eye-opening video! I'm glad you've been working up to the trek!
    1653 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/11/2013 10:46:54 AM
    I totally don't know why you are having to have 4 stress test instead of one and getting results and then going from there. When I've had a stress test I've had to go off certain meds I take (one keeps my heart frome going too fast (caffeine also day of test) for several days to a week before either the 24 monitor or stress test. My husband was on a heart rate monitor that he transmitted over the phone and heard back results before the end of time he would have to end wearing monitor (could have been up to 2 weeks. He was dealing with The Arkansas Health clinic and still is for his problem. We both think you need a different cardiologist.

    Have a great time on your trip and be careful. Enjoy while you can.
    1653 days ago
    sounds painful, the bites that is.
    1653 days ago
    My husband is from Washington state and chiggers love him. Even, walking outside from the front of house to the back he got attacked, same thing with other outside activities. He is a blond and fair skinned so I tell him, they just love that northern fair skin. I occasionally get a bite if I get in tall grass. Recently a friend told us about taking a bath using a bar of a particular laundry soap. It did work with relieving the itching.
    1653 days ago
  • NANCY-
    Yikes! You indeed are a brave soul taking on such a wonderful adventure. Hopefully there will not be chiggers in Peru.
    I know it's kind of late now, but I hope you get answers regarding your tests and perhaps when you return you can find a new cardiologist.
    1653 days ago
    Well the trail does look daunting but the views look beautiful! Of course you can do it! You've done these kinds of hikes before and loved every minute of it!

    Regarding the tests: Did they not explain the purpose of the 4th test to you? I feel like they should have done that. Who knows, maybe there is a good reason for doing it!

    Sorry about the chiggers! They sound simply awful!
    1653 days ago
  • BEFIT018
    Oh, I feel your pain! I got chigger bites my first year in TX. NO fun AT ALL!!

    Peru sounds absolutely awesome! I'm going to check out the video.

    I'd say find a new doc, too! It's been, what, 6 days since your tests? That's a long time...If he's that busy he needs to get an assistant.
    1653 days ago
    I have not heard of your friendly little chiggers before and hope to never meet them!

    I always feel that if there is an emergency, they will get you into the dr office quicker than you can imagine. If it's not an emergency, then they just kid of drag their feet. BUT, I would find a different doctor if you can. It just doesn't seem right that they can't get their act together. (I know in some areas of the country there aren't a lot of options for doctors. I live in an area where there are 2 research hospitals so we have a lot of options here)

    How exciting that you are going to Peru! I do a lot of walking, but have never done the hiking in the woods thing, I'm not a real fan of fact, I went for a run on Monday night and ran into a swarm of bugs. It was really gross and I had to go through them twice!

    Have a great day and keep on stepping!



    1653 days ago
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