Articles for February 2014

Grumpy Grandpa

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Gene is 80 years old and had been married for 45 years, having lost his wife 10 years ago. He used to be the life of the party, where grandkids and the whole gang couldn’t get enough of him. But since his wife died he’s been a different Gene: depressed, introspective, lying in bed all day, and declining to interact with his family.

I see Gene because of an erratic heart rate, which we’ve controlled. He has a condition called Sick Sinus Syndrome, where his heart goes too slow and then too fast. He will need a pacer, but declines, understanding the consequences. It’s tough to treat a patient who does not want to get better. For the past 5 years, our visits are filled with laughter and always a challenge where I press him to walk and interact more. His daughter-in-law brings him in faithfully and cares for him in their house.

On Call Encounter

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

The stench lingered in my soul as I left my patient’s room. It was the beginning of my career as an intern, and I remember the very room in which I met my patient. Those were the days when I was on call and swore that the nurses knew exactly when I went to sleep, and then woke me up. Those were the days when I carried an “On-Call Survival Book” as a security blanket. And those were the days of 36 hours without sleep.

My patient was a 55 year old woman who had felt a lump in her right breast 3 years prior to her presentation. She did not seek medical attention, but when that small lump had eroded through her skin and caused bleeding and a stench that was undeniable and unbearable, her family forced her to come to the ER.

Shall I Take My Pills?

Samuel A Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Ever get a call that you didn’t expect? It was Sunday morning and I was on my way to speak in a church when my paging service called, and my patient asked for help. A year ago I had placed stents in his 99% blocked heart arteries and given him a healing that he would never forget, so I thought. He was supposed to take his medications as if his life depended on it; in fact, it did depend on it.

My patient had run out of his medications on Thursday and called the office. I had samples ready for him on the same day, but he did not show up. Come Sunday my patient had chest pains that reminded him of his actions or the lack thereof.

Effortlessly Effortless

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC

I had just come from church, commemorating the 10th anniversary of September 11, a day filled with emotions and pride; I felt a sense of hollowness and pain for the victims and whispered a prayer for their precious loved ones, asking God’s healing touch on their hearts.

I wasn’t watching TV, but it was on. There was a commercial that was off the wall and had nothing to do with 9/11, but it got my attention enough to get me to sit on the couch and gaze in disbelief. It’s a product you sprinkle on food, a plan that allows you to eat anything. Buy it monthly, sprinkle the granules on your food, don’t exercise, pig out, and lose weight! If fact, 150 people sprinkled themselves into a 30 pound weight loss by simply dashing granules on their food.

Coming Soon…..

By Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Ted is a diabetic, obese, and has high blood pressure. On a calm summer night, he had a terrible argument with his wife, both fighting in front of their three children. Words were said that should have never been said. Both verbally wished each other to die as their children looked in horror. “You are a worthless piece of junk,” he jabbed a finger at his bride of 15 years. “I hate you!” He came within inches of striking her, only to hurl a stack of dishes on the floor as he stormed out of the kitchen.

The 18-Wheeler Drive-By Special

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Tony is a hard working 45 year old contractor who loves his cheesecakes. He is 6 feet tall, weighs 223, is obese, and has high blood pressure. After a stress test last year, I recommended that he decrease his portions, lose weight, and undergo an angiogram. He gained weight, and refused the angiogram.

One year later, I visited him in the emergency room. He had stopped taking his blood pressure pills, and was celebrating his wife’s birthday at the Cheesecake Factory ®. His wife thought he looked a bit ashy, but he didn’t agree. When his heart started to flutter and his head began to spin, he had to concede to being sick and needing help.

One Fine Day

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

I remember seeing Ken eight years ago and begging him to lose weight. He served our country as a Marine in his young 20’s when he weighed 170 pounds. Now in his 50’s, Ken is 290 pounds.

He is on 12 medications, including insulin injections which he needs twice daily. At nights he uses a machine to help him sleep because he has severe sleep apnea (stops breathing for a few seconds due to excess neck weight).

Midnight Lectures

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Four months ago I had opened up RB’s right coronary artery by placing two stents. RB is in his 40’s and has multiple risks for coronary artery disease, including smoking and obesity. I warned him about his smoking and weight. He slowly tapered himself off tobacco by placing a rubber band around his wrist and snapped it when he had the craving. For this I was most thankful.

Dying To Live

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Just the other day, a man died in my office. He had walked a good 10 minutes on the treadmill as we spoke about life and the obstacles it presents, but never did we imagine what was to transpire.

LJ stepped off the treadmill, laid on the examining table, and post stress echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) images were obtained. He denied chest pains, though the EKG spoke differently. He denied smoking though the clothing testified to the truth. LJ denied being diabetic though his 250 pound frame betrayed his speech. And he denied hypertension though the sphygmomanometer screamed of dangerous levels.

Do The Math

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Bill was having a stress test in my office, and was venting about the administration at the high school he teaches. The kids must love him because he’s kind, funny and simply pleasant. He said California is desperately trying to prevent absenteeism. Schools lose funds up to $40 daily per student for an absentee. To make up for it, the students can convene on Saturday and get lessons, but the administration is hesitant because they haven’t budgeted for Saturday school and it would “mess up the system.” Bill was beside himself, saying, “Do the Math! If I get 60 students, and the school gets $40 per student, they’ll make up $2,400, the students will catch up, I’ll get a small reimbursement, and in the end, everyone wins. Just do the math!”