Wow, what an exciting day I spent. Today I was scheduled for a stress EKG. I reflected back to the day when they hooked you up to a machine, made you get on a treadmill and if you didn't have a heart attack an die, they deemed you healthy. Boy, things have changed. Although I had one just last year, I must have been in a drug induced stupor because I didn't quite recall all the steps. Let me see if I can give you an accurate recounting of my day and prepare you should you have to endure the test.
First off, I was instructed to have nothing to eat or drink after midnight. Normally, I can get up and go for hours without food or beverage, but why is it when you've been told not to have anything, you immediately wake up hungry and feeling like you've just crawled across the Sahara desert? I savored brushing my teeth, if for no other reason than the moisture.
I arrived at the Doctor's office at 9:00 AM and sat for about twenty minutes before they called me back. I was taken immediately into a little room and had an IV inserted into my arm. I was impressed. Things appeared to be moving fast, until... the technician, who appeared to be about twelve, directed me to another waiting room, filled with people bearing the same IV set up. Everyone smiled, all six of the men who were well in their 80s, and one little old lady who admitted to be eighty six. I felt like a teenager.
There was a lot of talk of death which made me extremely nervous. They discussed their bypass surgeries, strokes and enlarged hearts while I sat there and prayed my jaw ache and neck pain was associated with my Fibromyalgia. It seems even hangnails are these days so, I was hopeful. Nothing like sharing how everyone they know has died from heart-related issues. I'm not a hypochondriac, but I am susceptible to suggestion. I swear my condition worsened while I listened to them. I went from FMS to having a full-blown heart attack...at least in my mind. :)
Of course, the air conditioning was on full blast and it was freezing in there. I think it was ploy to give us all pneumonia, but I can't prove it. Next time I go, I'll take a parka, but I settled for requesting a blanket. My cardio doc has just moved into a new and swanky office building, and I looked around the room and figured that just the people in the stress EKG waiting room would probably cover the cost of all the new furniture.
A nurse came in and took a vial of liquid from a metal container marked, 'radioactive' and injected it into my IV then left without another word. I'm sure I flashed a puzzled look at my roommates but they only smiled and said it was step two. Were we all going to glow?
Step three, an hour later, the same nurse came and took me back so I could shed my bra and accompany her into the 'picture taking room.' The idea is to image your heart at rest. You lay on a table that isn't too uncomfortable... until you have to put your hands over year head for the entire process. The directions, 'don't move' immediately made my nose itch and drove me crazy the entire fourteen minutes it takes for the camera to move around your body. Of course they leave you there longer than necessary just to punish you. :)
Back in the waiting room for another thirty minutes. Finally, the twelve-year old came and got me and took me to the EKG room. Now, I'm not a prude, but I was seriously hoping he wasn't the one to hook me up with all those wires. There's something distressing about having a young guy lift my less-than-perky boobs. Luckily, the nurse came in and took over. I guess I assume women will understand it's a matter of gravity and not neglect.
So, I'm wired and ready. My instructions are to get on the treadmill. I have wires hanging all around, a blood pressure cuff on my arm, and I'm wondering how much more they can hang on me to increase the stress. I'm to walk until my pulse reaches 134, which I figure might take about ten seconds since I'm so out of shape. WRONG! That was the longest walk I've taken in a long time. Of course they keep increasing the incline and cheering you on. "You're doing fine. Keep it up. Almost There." Sure, then why am breathing like I just ran a marathon, feeling dizzy, and slipping to the back of the treadmill. Stupid things come out of my mouth when I'm in uncomfortable situations, and I think I said something about needing to have sex more often to increase my stamina. I think I also mentioned not to increase the speed to jogging as without a bra I could possibly harm myself or anyone standing close by. I have no idea why I become incoherent.
I felt like my heart was going to explode, then at 134 they injected more radioactive stuff, took my blood pressure and make me walk for an additional minute. Oh...deep sigh of relief when that stupid treadmill slowed and finally stopped. My reward was a carton of apple juice made in Mexico. I savored it like an alcoholic having a beer after having been in lock-up for a month.
All the angst about who was going to do the wiring was lost when the adolescent started fishing beneath my blouse to undo the leads. Oh well, I'll probably never see him again anyhow, but I can imagine what went through his mind.
Back in the waiting room. The same crowd is there, minus one man who has finished and left. One by one, the crowd thinned until I was alone. I talked non-stop because it's the first time in months I've had a captive ADULT audience. Remember I spend my days with a five-year-old and Spongebob Squarepants. I'm sure they thought I was pathetic. I could tell by the look of relief on their faces when the nurse came to fetch them. I felt pretty pathetic after thinking about it. :) But, I doubt I'll see them again either.
One more time for pictures of my heart after it was stressed...another fourteen minutes with hands over the head, and I'm done. I drove through Taco Bell and got myself something to eat and drink and headed home. I get the results tomorrow, but I'm optimistic that things will be fine. My greeting when I got home. My son asked, "What are you cooking for dinner?" Well, I showed him. I didn't cook. I went to bed and took a nap. Now I'm sitting here in the dark at midnight, blogging about my day, and you know what? Despite the radioactive dye, I'm not glowing. That's a relief. :)