What It’s Like to Be Dying

Our “Health Care” system has some serious flaws. I have an appointment to see a new cardiologist
on May 28, which is too far from today, but it’s the best I could do. I appealed to the lady
who arranged appointments, telling her I was in distress, but she said they must get my medical
records before a doctor will see me. She advised me to go to the E. R. at a hospital, and I told
her I had already been to two, and after you read what I say below, you will understand why I see
no point in going to all that trouble once more. I then told her, the delay in seeing me would
give me ample time to make “funeral arrangements.”

I prepared the info below to give to my new cardiologist on May 28th:

Basic symptoms: Periodic “attacks” of shortness of breath accompanied by erratic pulse beats.

Insurance Provider: UNITED HEALTH CARE
1. I underwent two angioplasties in 1992 @ 71 years of age.
2. An abdominal aortic aneurysm was repaired in in 2003 @ age 82.
3. Dr. Chee Lee (Humana) said I had Stage 3 chronic kidney disease. (Switched to United Health Care)
4. On March 8, 1017 I was experiencing back pain (@7) just below my left scapula.
Concerned that it may be related to my kidney disease, I went to the Halifax Hospital E. R.
5. Was admitted. Had a chest x-ray, C/T scan and an EKG, plus some 5 or 6 blood drawings.
6. “Elevated heart enzymes” detected. Was given 3 prescriptions for: nitroglycerin, muscle spasm
and hypertension medications. My cardiologist, Dr. David Henderson, was contacted. He came,
told me to make an appointment, and had me discharged.
7. Went to his office and was examined solely by David W. Bamberger, P.A. He checked my computerized
hospital records and chest, then told me to take an aspirin a day and “Just keep doing what you are doing.”
Since my sub-scapular back pain persisted. I asked the P. A. if there were muscles connecting ribs, and he
said, “Intercostal muscles.” At home an internet search listed the symptoms for intercostal muscle sprain
that matched mine. At my wife’s advice, I used a heating pad, which did the job.
My being check by a Physician’s Assistant instead of Dr. David Henderson, who did an angioplasty procedure
re my heart (a balloon job), was very disapointing and a waste of time. Henderson didn’t even bother to
consult with me after the useless visit ended.

8. Since breathing/pulse variations symptoms worsened, I went to Centra Care (Florida Hospital Urgent Care)
for advice. After studying my EKG, Dr. Scott W. VanLue advised me to go to an E. R. immediately since his
facility lacked the equipment to deal with my problem.
9. I went to the E. R. at the Florida Memorial Medical Center, got a chest z-ray, an EKG and a blood
analysis. Dr. Dusty Moses’ advice: just one cup of coffee per day, no alcohol, no racquetball (I played
twice a week), get plenty of rest and see Dr. David Henderson within a week for a follow up. I see little
point in being treated by his P.A. again.
When I have an intermittent shortness of breath “attack”, I immediately check my pulse and it predictably
is erratic. Sometimes just 2 beats, a pause, the 2 beats, a pause and 5 beats, a pause. It’s quite worrisome.

Monday, May 1:
Morning: A cup of raisin bran w. 2% milk. Lunch: a banana and an ear of corn. At 3 p.m. a glass of chocolate
milk in crushed ice. 10 minutes in hot tub at 102o.
Evening, 1 slice of pizza; glass of cranberry juice. BREATHING “ATTACK” (Rapid, breathless). Pulse weak and
intermittent. Very weak. Laid down; slept for an hour. Now, at my computer, on a scale of 1-10; breathing at
about a 5. No chest pain or discomfort. Just short of breath and breathing rapidly

1. What’s wrong with my heart?
2. Can it be fixed?
3. What “behaviors” may I engage in and what should I avoid?
4. What is the prognosis?

Francis T. Sganga 2506 Sunset Dr., New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168 386-957-3558 sicari1921@gmail.com

Of course, now that I am officially 96 (April 29) and am aware of how few people make it to my age,
I am keenly aware of the possiblilty of my dying before my May 28th birthday. Complicating matters is the
fact that wife May will be leaving to visit her ailing mother and new granddaughter this Monday. Well, I
intend to give her a grand Honeymoon send-off no matter what!!!