Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Heart Palpitations!

After her Extreme Fainting Episode last week, Darling Daughter was awarded a follow-up appointment in the Syncope Clinic at the children's hospital.

Syncope. 

That's a fancy word for "faint." 

How can there be a clinic for fainting??  I don't understand.  A clinic for ear, nose and throat ailments, I get.  A clinic for gastrointestinal issues or asthma or orthopedics...but passing out?  Are there so many kids who faint that there can actually be a whole entire clinic to examine them?  And can they really figure out what's wrong or not wrong with them in a clinic?  How do they check that out?  Have them faint on cue?  It's not like they can shine a little light in a child's ear and determine what a fainting spell looked like...

We ended up in the pediatric cardiology office.  That's the first place they send teenage girls who pull a Scarlett O'Hara.  Because it's very important for young ladies to learn how to give CPR to their daddies after they've caused him to have heart failure!

First, I had the pleasure of filling out a questionnaire.  All sorts of vital information was collected including the exact date and time that Darling Daughter first stuck her fingers in her mouth as an infant and when she discovered she had toes.  Then it was off to be weighed and measured.  She had her blood pressure taken in each extremity.  She freaked out a little because her BP was higher in her legs than it was in her arms.  The nurse informed her that this was totally normal. 

Then she freaked out because Darling Daughter doesn't like to be totally normal. 

Ever.

Next it was time to lie on a table and have an EKG.  The sweet technician and my daughter talked each other's ears off for a few minutes while the machine did its little scribbly thing.  Results?  Perfect!

And then we sat in an exam room and I read her a story about a little choo-choo train while we waited on the doctor. 

Shortly thereafter, the door opened...and that's when it happened.

Darling Daughter went into full-blown cardiac arrhythmia! 

Her eyes...became intensely focused. 

Her face...became flushed!

Her breathing...rapid and shallow!!

The medical student who had come in to talk to her...absolutely ADORABLE!

Tall, young, blue-eyed and a little too skinny.  Just a little bit shy and ever-so-slightly unsure of himself still.  He sat down on a stool and started asking questions.  She went completely blank.  I relayed every detail of the Saturday evening from h*ll and he jotted it all down for the Big Doctor In Charge.  He listened to her heart first...explaining that in a Peds rotation one always wants to do the heart first since babies and toddlers tend to start screaming shortly after you begin messing with them and then you can't hear their hearts.  Makes perfect sense to me, but I wonder if he realizes that when a handsome young med student starts off an exam by applying his stethoscope to the heart of  a 17 year old girl he's probably going to hear a very increased heartbeat??!!

He talked to Darling Daughter a little bit about her med school ambitions.  He was very encouraging, giving her pointers on applying when it comes time and offering his perspective on the different areas of medicine he's rotated through so far.  She said that she plans to major in Biology.  He told her that he had majored in Microbiology...

And she gazed up into his eyes and asked, "Is that a science?"

Too funny!

Doctor Boy mentioned that he wasn't really considering a career in Peds Cardio.  He would prefer to get into Intensive Care. 

After he went out to find the Big Doc in Charge, Darling Daughter squealed and giggled and turned to me and blurted out, "Good thing he doesn't plan on going into cardiology!  It would never work.  Every time he walks in a room he'll make all the girl hearts go crazy!"

The good news?  She's fine.  Nothing wrong with her ticker whatsoever.  Apparently it really IS quite common for teenagers (especially girls) to faint for no good reason.  Something about their nervous systems being less mature than their bodies and something else about teenagers needing to drink more water than adults in order to stay properly hydrated and maintain blood volume. 

In other words, it very well may happen again.  And it very well may not. But medically, she's perfectly normal. 

And hormonally as well.

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