The stress BEFORE the test

*** Please note that the following is not for children. Those who know me, know how I think, so you shouldn't be surprised***

I had a stress test yesterday. Actually, since I saw the Doctor 6/28, I have been having a stress test Every day, and I wasn’t passing. (The post under this one discusses my take on Angina) I was letting the stress over the test get the best of me, but when I stepped off the treadmill yesterday, the stress test was officially over. Whatever happens going forward will be dealt with, and I cannot, will not, shorten my life by worrying about that which I do not know… Concerning my life, God has the final say.

For those who have never had a stress test, it goes something like this:

12 hours before:
Stop eating/drinking. No coffee, no sugar, no chocolate, they don’t want any stimulants in your system, your fear causes enough adrenaline I guess.

The morning of:
No powder or lotion… (I put deodorant on, no way I was gonna be funky, man)

7:30 am,
Wife and daughter in tow
I am in the hospital, and a nice woman named **** is prepping me. Fear is a funny thing, in that it blocks out pain. The nurse that set up my IV line had to use the top of my hand because my veins duck needles like you duck that dude you owe $100 to. Yeah you know, that guy…
She stuck me, and I bled more than I did when my cousin pushed me off the swing and I busted my head open, (she was very apologetic)I tell you this chick put leeches to shame, baby. but I was in a zone, didn’t feel a thing.

The prepping woman then began to scrape my skin with plastic Brillo ( I do not exaggerate here. It was literally cut up pieces of a plastic abrasive that can clean baked on grime off of pots) to prep me for the electrodes. Interestingly, they were dark brown, and I wondered if they used color matching so you can’t see how much of your skin is coming off, and freak out. My friend TF says that his were red, which is of course the color of blood, (and the color of his skin when they were done 'prepping' him) But I was in a zone, didn’t feel a thing

So, then she sticks electrodes around my left ‘man boob’ (I AM LOSING THIS DAMN WEIGHT) across my chest and up on my right clavicle.
Once I am sufficiently ‘prepped’, I am sent to another room, where another nice woman named ****** injects me with TC99m Cardiolite radioisotope. As I watch the woman remove the syringes from lead cases,(literally, LEAD cases) I can’t help but hear the old hulk theme song playing."Doc Bruce Banner, belted by Gamma rays turns into the HULK..." What? You don’t remember it? OK, you can Listen to it here:

Then I start wondering what changes will take place once this stuff is in me, and I resolve NOT to touch my wife later, just in case Captain Sky’s classic song has come to life in my loins… What? You don’t remember Captain Sky? SuperSperm??? You don’t know that? Where on earth did you grow up? Ok. Ok here…

So I am thinking, she doesn’t want any contact with this stuff, but she’s injecting it INTO ME….
(At this very moment, as a result of this test, I am radioactive, and have the papers to prove it. They gave me a letter to give to the ‘authorities’ in case I am stopped because I am ‘hot’. Well I am, but you know what I mean)

Why couldn’t they give me a letter like this in case I am stopped for DWB or WWB?
(Driving/Walking While Black)

Anyway, we go across the hall, and the first of two 20-minute Nuclear Imaging sessions. You lay on the table, which turns out isn't a table but a sliding drawer and get slid like you're going into a blast furnace or something, then the photos begin. Don't bother to smile, they're not looking at your face.

Once done, it is off to the torture chamber. Sorry, I mean the "treadmill room".
There I am made to sign a release form, after being told that I have a 1 in 10,000 chance of dying or having a serious heart attack… (Happy happy joy joy)

So I sign the paper, get attached to a bunch of wires, and off we go… I am told that my target heart rate is 170-180 bpm (or heartburst minus 20) with the bloodletting nurse and a rather uninterested ‘heart doctor’ (his words not mine)in attendance. I wanted to ask him if he thought that since I was black I wouldn’t understand the word Car-di-o-lo-gist, but thought better of it since he could literally have my life in his disinterested condescending hands.

The first torture level is 1.7 mph with a 15 degree incline, then 2.6 mph with a 30 degree incline, then 3.6, I think, with a straight 90 degree vertical (I can’t remember because after a couple of minutes of that, I was hanging on, trying to breathe normally, not pant, and not look uncool by fainting)All the while "Leecha" is taking my blood pressure, and offering reassuring words like "In 30 seconds the speed will increase", and "Sweating is good" ...

So once I got to 170 bpm (Heartburst minus 30) , I was re-injected, to make sure I was good and Nukular (Bush pronunciation), I kept it up till heart rate reached 180, and shortly thereafter stopped. Unlike 1998 (my last stress test) I didn’t faint, or have to be helped to a chair. I watched the monitor as my heart rate came back down, and my cool returned (I had stopped panting, and the sexy was back in my voice)

Then came the hard part, waiting for 45 minutes for the second set of pictures.
This time, I doze a little, because I know I’m ok, the worst is over, and just as I am feeling better, rather unceremoniously, the tech tells me to get dressed and leave. Nobody says goodbye, though they’ve all been intimate with me, taken my life’s blood, messed around with my heart, and have left fluids inside me. What the?????
Just like that, it’s over. I go quietly to the ‘patient locker room’, and close the door, getting dressed in silence, while I listen to another nurse use the same seductively comforting words on another victim….. “There is a chance, a very slight one that you could have …”
At least my wife bought me lunch...

On the book front, I finished the DeYmaz book, will finish the Elwood book tonight.
I actually was trying to read while waiting for the torture to commence॥ THAT was a joke...
Thursday's when I get the diagnosis, and it's gonna be a breeze


A Diva said…
Oh My goodness...
first of all to leave you "used & abused" is just wrong...but second of all you have me crying at the coolness factor of your stress test.
I am not mad at that..
still praying for ya...
Ronald K. Antonio said…
Nice. Like your detailed account Bro. I had one back in 2002-3ish and can appreciate the apprehension. It is daunting even if you know the intricacies of the process. But it can be the best wake up call--it was for me--to change a lifestyle. My sedentary lifestyle was challenged and I started to hit the gym--just 3 days a week doing the circuit at first--along with eating MORE FREQUENTLY. (Yes that is not a typo.)

I eat 3 sensible meals but make sure that I have sensible snacks EVERY 3 hours. This keeps my metabolism up, along with the increase in muscle mass, to keep burning calories even when I'm not working out.

After shifting my metabolism up a notch, I started using my time machine--er, my bicycle. First a 7 mile ride, then 12, then 15, then 20. Soon I was able to ride for hours and feel great afterward.

Whatever form of cardiovascular exercise you choose, find something that you can enjoy. I've found that people don't necessarily like to 'work'out. I think it has something to do with the word, 'work.' But the idea is to have fun and reap the residual rewards.

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