Archive for September, 2009

Operation Medical Packet: Complete

September 28, 2009

Last Wednesday, 41 days after receiving my medical packet, I handed my stuffed envelope to the Postal Service clerk. Never before had I spent so much time and so many thoughts on a bundle of paperwork.


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As I was copying all the documents the night prior, I began to wonder if I would really get medically cleared. The diagnosis from each doctor was that I am completely healthy. But I was a tad concerned that my paperwork didn’t tell that story with great detail. On the Section II evaluation from my general physician, she just wrote that I had neither a heart murmur or mitral valve prolapse. My cardiologist confirmed those findings to me verbally, but I wonder if I should have had him scribble that down. However, I am not very worried about it at all. If PC comes back and needs more information, I know where to go and get it.

It feels great not only to have all that work behind me, but also to have a stable of healthcare professionals in my new home of St. Louis. A lack of having a doctor to call upon had always been one of the things that bothered me about living here.

And so it begins, the great wait. I will hang out until I (hopefully) get medically cleared (my guess: December). Then I will bide my time with all my little daily activities until I get that big email someday next spring. And on that day, I will be the most excited, scared, and satisfied guy for miles.

5 Ways to Remain Sane in Corporate America

September 20, 2009

1. Slash your commute (I walk to work)
2. Work towards a passion on the side (Peace Corps)
3. Eat lunch at home, not at your desk (again, walking to work is key)
4. Workout after work (melts the stress away)
5. Dream about setting your Out of Office Assistant on your last day

Without these things, I would surely go crazy.

A Warm Cup of…

September 15, 2009

The medical progress continues. After a nice weekend in Cleveland over Labor Day, I returned to St. Louis, AT&T, and Peace Corps medical packet work.

Recent Events:
9/4 – Picked up Cardiologist’s evaluation along with fresh EKG and old Echo results
9/12 – Visited LabCorp to do my blood work and urinalysis
9/14 – Called my Dr. to have them add the Hepatitis C Antibody to the LabCorp request since it was forgotten, visited Connect Care to get a TB test done
9/15 – Scheduled an appointment with my Dr. next Tuesday to finish the paperwork

So, I could have all my paperwork done on the 22nd of the month. That would be perfect. Getting everything done in less than 2 months while working and having to see a specialist sounds pretty awesome in my book. Especially for me, since I tend to heavily procrastinate when it comes to making medical appointments.

What’s left? Tomorrow I get the TB test read (Right now it is hardly even noticeable…is that normal?). I need to get a Tetanus booster and a Polio booster. Finally, I need to find my pediatrician records because I don’t think my SLU immunization history covers everything the application is asking for (ex: Yellow Fever and different types of Hep A&B).

I’m feeling good! At this point I feel confident about my packet and my chances of getting cleared. It feels like I’m just taking care of some loose ends now, having already triumphed over most of the packet’s difficult requirements.

In other news, my friend Bryce accepted a position in the United States Secret Service last night! I am extremely happy for him. Bryce, another friend from work named Chris, and I all had a running joke of who would win the race to get out of AT&T first. I always knew Bryce would win. It’s so cool to see someone’s career unfold like that.

With that news, I am wondering if I should spill the Peace Corps beans to Bryce and Chris. I have been dying to tell them for quite some time, but have opted not to because I want to make sure my pursuit of this dream remains confidential until I have some sort of offer. But after holding out for almost 9 months, I feel like I am hiding part of myself from my friends.

Feeling Good

September 2, 2009

kidney
The past week has been challenging, but now that I’m through it all, it feels great!

Monday was my appointment with my new physician. She is an Italian doctor on The Hill, St. Louis’s Italian neighborhood. I think that’s cool. Her office has no curb appeal whatsoever. The inside of the building looks like it hasn’t been renovated in 35 years. But that’s okay! Who needs curb appeal and nice furnishings when you’re dealing with a great doctor? She was awesome about filling out the forms and getting me what I needed. I have to go back in a couple weeks to complete the paperwork once I have my lab stuff done. They referred me to specific labs for the tests, which is perfect. I am also proud to report my blood pressure was 120/70. Yes, I was worried about it. My mom is a bit of a worrier, and I suppose you could say the same about me.

Today was the cardiologist. After navigating Forest Park Parkway in lieu of the shuttered Highway 40, I made my way up to the 11th floor of the University Club Towers. I had been there before in college for an echo. Today I was just expecting to meet the doctor and have him fill out my papers, but they wanted to do an EKG. I was actually relieved when I heard them say that because I had been concerned that the Peace Corps might not accept my 2+ year old EKG. So I did that, then met the Dr.

He was a really cool guy. He was not much older than me, which was a first for me in a medical setting. He was very laid back, thoroughly explaining that my Mitral Valve Prolapse diagnosis from my teenage years was one of many made when the standard for MVP was different. He said I had no heart murmur. My EKG was normal. He showed me how I have what is called a Sinus Arrythmia. It’s normal in young people (your heart beat slows while you exhale). He also looked at my old echo and Holter and said everything was fine. When I mentioned my preventricular contractions, he said that they were very common. He even has them! So it was great to hear that I am perfectly healthy. It was also funny for me because he was calling me “man” and the whole thing was very casual. I got the vibe that he almost wanted to be my friend. Definitely an enjoyable visit. All my visits have gone very well.

The Punch List
1. Get immunization history from SLU (what in the name of Biondi is taking so long?)
2. Schedule urinalysis/blood work from LabCorp
3. Schedule the PPD test
4. Pick up completed paper work from U-Club towers
5. Visit physician to complete paper work
6. Send it in
7. Pay the bills (the scariest part)

I’m thinking 2-3 weeks is very realistic. My goal is to have it in by the end of September. But I think I can beat that goal.

One other thing I learned today: When I collapsed at the 2008 St. Louis Marathon, I thought I just had severe dehydration. As the cardiologist was looking at my chart, he asked, “Did you know you had mild renal failure?” “What’s that?” I quickly inquired. He explained. I was surprised to learn that my kidneys had begun to fail on that day. I already feel lucky for surviving that whole experience, and now I feel even more grateful. Wow.