Monday, April 07, 2008

A little knowledge

Is all I want, really. I've not been leading a healthy life style lately. You noticed? Shoveling is my version of aerobic exercise. I huff and puff when I walk up the hill to Jenn's and this past week I have some chest discomfort when walking a flat bike path with a co-worker. She, a straight-shooter, casually looks at me and says "you probably have a blocked artery". We part company at the end of the trail - I let her take the high road (she does this daily) and I hobble back via the more narrow but level path. I keep thinking of Frost and his road less traveled. Wonder if he had any chest pain.

I'm going out-of-country at the end of the month, flying to London. Why I'm going will have a blog entry all its own. I decide to do the logical, adult thing and call my family doctor. "Sure, come on down", he says. I go. I have an EKG. It is fairly good; however, the doc does not define fairly. We talk. I tell him I had this kind of feeling lots of times when I lived in Philly and that I had an echo-cardiogram and stress tests and nothing suspicious. But I'm flying to London and I've read some scary online news lately about defibrillators not working and no air marshalls on the plane and nasty attendants and empty oxygen containers so ... better to be prepared, eh?

The nurse will call me tomorrow when she manages to clear an approval for a stress test for couch potatoes who have no stamina for a treadmill. That's me. I will have to lie on my back while technicians inject all kinds of fun things into my veins to simulate stress. I have enough real stress but nothing like going to a hospital to add a bit more. Now, while my body is stressing, they will take about 30 minutes' worth of piccies. Heart, do your thing! Then I return for a second day so they can shoot a radioactive sliver into my vein and make me all glowy and touchy feely.

All this before London. I hope. I hope there is no residual effect with the radioactive glowy thingy that will cause me to set off alarms as I go through airport security. I hope they can also knock me unconscious in the hospital while they play with my body.

I come home, open a can of tuna (oblivious to the mercury content since I've got other things to worry about), dump it on top of lettuce, spritz a lite balsamic vinaigrette, and eat my first heart-healthy meal in months! It is fairly good, like my EKG.

I then proceed to research Persantine Nuclear Cardiac Stress Test online at a Swedish Hospital website which seems like a contradiction because Scandinavians eat plenty of fish and ski a lot. Why the hell would they need a heart test? I take a closer look and realize the hospital is in Chicago. I keep reading. I read way, way too much. Ignorance is bliss; I'm toast. Radioactive toast. And nuclear. Holy latte, I'll need national-security clearance for this test.

Finally, I go to the Heart Association Red Dress website where Marie Osmond, looking adorable and perky in her red dress, is telling me how she came backstage from one of her Vegas shows, huffing and puffing (sound familiar?) and her son tells her he doesn't want her to drop dead. Yeah, good point. By now, I'm chewing my fingernails. Marie is beaming; she's lost 40 pounds. Dancing with the Stars will do that for you. Since my one shot at ballroom dancing was a disaster, I decide that I'll have to find another way to drop the weight, like cutting off my right leg.

If Marie can send me her personal trainer, dietitian and cook, I will be ever so grateful.

One cannot live on tuna fish alone.


geogirl said...

Ok, don't scare me like that!!!

Seriously though, my boss had to get that same test befor surgery since he was getting a knee replacement and therefor couldn't exaclty run on a tredmill either. He got through it fine and didn't seem to glow...not that we turned the lights off at the office or anything.

At one point in my life I was having some GI issues and they ran all kinds of tests where I had to drink all kinds of radio active isotope thingies. I felt fine but I think my toilet glowed in the dark for weeks. :-)

Becky said...

could be costal chondritis...I had that everytime I exercised. It is inflammation of the joints between your ribs and your sternum. Because of the position, it feels like a whole lot of chest pain. You can take advil (like 8-10 tablets a day) to control it. Just something to consider in case the stress test and heart stuff come back clear!

the Mater said...

Dear kind souls, I am so glad you weighed in with some words of hope. Becky, I SO hope you're right and in another week, I'll know for sure.