Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Stressful Stress Test

I had my stress - echo this afternoon. Boy, was that fun! I'm sure there are several of you who have had this test before. For those who haven't, I feel the need to describe, in great detail, just how it goes. You know what I was told about the test? "You'll be walking on a treadmill so wear comfortable shoes." Yep, that's about it. But I'm here to tell you the whole story.

I walked in the office, looked around, and realized I'd mistakenly arrived at the retirement home. I turned to walk out when I saw the doctor's name on the door. Guess I'm at the right place. I was the youngest person there by probably 30 years. I checked in and sat down to fill out several redundant questionnaires. Why is it necessary to ask if you smoke on three separate pages? After filling in information about my spouse, I came to the question asking for the name of an emergency contact. I wrote my mom's name there. Under her contact information was the question, "How is this person related to you?" My choices were spouse, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, great grandson, great granddaughter... There were no boxes for "parents". I squelched my urge to write "imaginary friend" and wrote in "parent" instead.

So I was called into a room. It had treadmills and it had hospital-like beds. It was the geriatric Bally's. All it needed was big band music pumped in. I was lead to a closet where I got to strip from the waist up and put on a gown. The doctor, a young guy, of course, because that's my luck, comes in and rubs me down with alcohol, then he used some sort of sandpaper on me to remove hair where the electrodes were to go (I swear I don't have a hairy chest!) Next, he had to lift my boobs out of the way to apply the stickers. Yeah, that was fun. What do you do in a situation like that? Where do you look? You can't make eye contact because that would just be weird. So you stare at some spot above the doctor's head and pretend he's not putting stickers on your boobs and say something nonchalant like, "So, it's pretty nice weather we're having, huh?" Or maybe you just start babbling like an idiot and say things like, "So, I had a goldfish when I was two. I named him Goldygold. You know, because he was gold. Yep, that was 37 years ago. I have no idea why that just popped into my head. Do you like popcorn? I got to swim with dolphins a couple years ago..." Not that this happened to me or anything. Just sayin'...

To these electrode leads, about 400 wires were attached. I was like a Christmas tree with all the wires trailing out from under my gown. My gown was missing the tie on top, but this doctor said, "It doesn't matter because we'll stick it back to together with tape anyway." What kind of weirdo place is this???

A nice technician, female, thank God, did a quick ultrasound of my heart. (It's a lot more fun to get baby ultrasounds!) And, sure enough, she stuck my gown back together with tape! Then I got to walk on the treadmill. OK, back up for a minute. Remember the part where I had to strip from the waist up? Yeah. And now I get to jog on a treadmill with no bra. Yeah. Ahem. So there I am, walking along, braless with the girls flying all over the place. Lovely. After I walked for like 3 minutes, he cranked the treadmill up faster and inclined it. By the end of that 3 minutes, I was getting winded cause I'm so fat and out of shape.

Then he cranked it up faster and inclined it more. About a minute into it, he pried my fingers from the bar where I was holding on for dear life so he could take my blood pressure. I nearly flew off the back. I kept thinking, "Oh my gosh, how do 80-year-old patients handle this???" Then when my pulse rate reached 890, he had me get off and run to the table for another ultrasound before my heart exploded.

After that ultrasound, I sat there in a pool of sweat (you know because I'm fat and out of shape) while I gulped for air like a guppy out of water.

Long story short - My regular doctor called me right away this afternoon (how awesome is he?!) and said everything looked great. They detected no heart problems. I have low blood pressure and good cholesterol levels. I don't smoke, nor do I have diabetes. In other words, "Stop your whining Dawn. You have indigestion, you big baby." I'm pretty sure an eyeroll was inserted there too. Actually, he was awesome for checking everything ok quickly and making sure I wasn't about to keel over before my speaking engagement tomorrow and my traveling Thursday. So, I may get hit by a bus tomorrow, but rest assured, I'm not going to drop of a heart attack anytime soon. I guess I'll have to find another way to get a little vacation.

40 comments:

Rosten18 said...

Ooooh, I did one of those once. I felt like a total loser, because I was in my early 20s at the time, and totally out of shape. I wasn't overweight - just didn't have any stamina! I think I somehow got to keep my bra on, but they didn't tell me to wear tennis shoes, so I showed up in sandles and ended up having to do the treadmill barefoot. It's an experience I hope to never duplicate.

Christina in Vegas said...

I'm sure it was a pain in the ass, but I'm so very glad you're ok.

Mark said...

5:30 AM Massachusetts time>
Dawn, thank you for reporting on your Stress Test. When I had mine, I was terrified, not knowing what to expect. However, you made it sound like FUN..I was just about to schedule another,but something told me to re-read your comments. Sure enough! I would have been so disappointed NOT to get some PASTRIES.(Most likely, I would NOT have been invited back!)
There are going to be many MANY happy and loyal DAWN Readers today. (Happy, because we will feel relieved about your good news. ) I am reminded of that famous TV anchorwoman, who went "live" with her rectal polyp-hunting procedure. Similarly, your own PUBLIC SERVICE may save many lives.However, I could NOT find the LINK (starring YOU!) at You Tube,,Must have been an oversight.

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

This is great news! I'm so glad the test didn't find any problems!

Rosemarie said...

Glad to hear you're okay. I did have a chuckle about running on a treadmill without any support!

Anonymous said...

You were lucky! When my husband goes for his echo, because of his family history, they use sandpaper to get rid of the hair in certain spots on his chest for the "stickers". LOL! So he has hairless spots on his chest still.

Anita in Indiana

diane said...

OMG I know just how you feel. I remember when I went in for the same test, and felt like I was in a waiting room at the geriatric facility. I am sure if they had taken my bp it would have been sky high. Couldn't decided if I felt good because there were so many "older" folks there, or what. It was very upsetting. Glad to hear everything is OK. When you have kids, it is tough to think that you are anything less that Super MOM!

Scrapingirl said...

Hee hee..... I have to admit that I was cracking up at your "girls" reference. You are so funny. I'm glad you're not going anywhere, just yet.

Krys72599 said...

I suppose you probably don't want to hear that there's a stress test that requires.you.to sit.down. Admittedly they inject you with something that probably glows in the dark, but you get to sit.down. Then you get to lay down after for some x-rays...
My mom just had it done - she's 78 and not real able to get around on her feet so they gave her this other kind of stress test...

Bailey's Leaf said...

I know your pain. I've had the heart attack heartburn myself. No fun.

Glad that you are good!

Slack said...

First, glad your heart is heathly!

Second, my MIL has been to the emergency room twice thinking she was having a heart attack...turned out to be gas.

Third, we have a Wii Fit and even with a bra my girls fly when I do the jog. I have to hold them just to get through the 3 minutes (otherwise I'd probably knock myself out).

Mayberry Mom said...

My DD's would have been hitting the doctor and the nurse if I had to run on a treadmill with no bra!! Nevermind how much that would HURT.

Will you be getting your gall bladder checked?? I hope he does that too, you don't want your gall bladder to get too diseased. My hubby's cousin had that happen and it's really not a good thing at all. He was very sick.

I'm glad your heart is A-OK!

Anonymous said...

two things to feel better

1. EXERCISE

2. EAT HEALTHY (no trans fats)

then you won't have problems!

and live longer!

MaBunny said...

Glad to hear everything worked out ok on your test!

My Semblance of Sanity said...

Will your doctor see people who pee their pants EVERY FREAKING TIME they read your blog?!

I am laughing so hard! But also THANKING THE LORD that you are AOK!

Love you!

Chris said...

I had one about ten years ago, and you're right. The girls go every which way when you're on a treadmill!! BTW, have you tried the Weight Watchers point system? It's SO easy and I've lost 5.9 pounds in four weeks!! Give it a try!

Diane of Crafty Passions said...

Great post I felt like I was in there with you !
Glad your ok, that's a blessing .
Take care
Diane

Ruth said...

Glad it's not the heart but don't let the doc off the hook. Make sure you get tested for acid reflux. If acid reflux goes untreated for too long it can lead to esophageal cancer.

Jessica said...

This was hilarious! I'm sure it was a little bit less hilarious to live through.....but if you are like me, you were probably writing your blog post in your mind through the whole experience. =D

Anonymous said...

Running on a treadmill with no bra? I think I would have to refuse to do that! I love your description of the "girls flying all over the place"!

Purple Quilter Queen said...

Oh so good to know you aren't about to cross the pearly gates! Stay well!

Domestic Spaz said...

Another reason to start jogging... so if I ever have to do this I won't be horribly embarrassed. I would have never made it... you're a champ, Dawn!

Lynn said...

Somehow I missed that you were having all this fun! And since you made it past the next day I can tell you that my Dad had a stress test like this...and had a heart attack the next day.
Thrilled that you're doing okay! I don't have a clue how to spell this but I get pains that are from esophagial (told you I don't know how to spell it..from the esophagus) spasms that feel like someone's stabbing me. Not that it helps you figure out what's going on with you. And I have a feeling it could be stress related...the catch-all for all things painful that the drs don't know how to diagnose...
Praying you feel better and just don't have any more of these thingies!

Keeley said...

Yay for good news! =) Thank goodness for indigestion. =)

Anonymous said...

At least you didn't fall through the hole in the table and almost kill the tech like I did! They didn't tell me about the trap door they opened to do the pre-torture echo and when I went to get up I put my hand right through the hole with my full weight!
And after the incline the speed was too fast to walk and too slow to run...I swear they do it on purpose!

Lissete said...

Welcome to my world. It's an annual thing for me. I sit there among all the little white heads and wait for them to ask what is wrong with me. One always does ;)

Glad that everyting is ok!

Anonymous said...

Such good news, Dawn! Thank you for updating us. I love your description of the stress test room! Way too funny!!

Take care of yourself because we all need you around!

((hugs))

Donna from PA :)

Anonymous said...

As soon as you got to the part of where the electrodes were applied I thought....what about a bra??? I think trying to run without a bra would have been worse than being out of shape and running. And I am out of shape!!!

Glad you are okay.

Kristine said...

Yay for good results! How awesome to have a dr that doesn't brush you off. He's a keeper!

Cheri-Beri said...

If you get the pain again, don't automatically assume it's heartburn/indegestion. I did the same thing for YEARS and it turned out to be my gallbladder. By the time the doctors and I put two and two together, my gallbladder was so full of stones that it had doubled in size and attached itself to my liver. Not fun!! If I were you, if it happens again, I would demand a gallbladder ultrasound. Your symptoms sound just like mine did. Getting my gallbladder out was one of the best things I've ever done . . . . not like I had a choice, though :-)

P.S. All my doctors ruled it as indegestion, too. Until I ended up in the emergency room screaming from the pain.

Michelle said...

Ok I totally missed something but yay for happy results. And for vacations. But now? I'm sooooo wearing a sports bra, screw what they say! :) Thanks for the heads up.

Anonymous said...

I now what you mean about the retirement home. I was diagnosed with an arrythmia at 22 and it was almost always assumed I was driving someone else there instead of there for my own appointment. And, everyone else in the waiting room was at least 40 years older than me.

Be glad you didn't have to have a radioactive dye test. Then you get to ride a bike with all the electrodes attached, a needle in your carotid artery, while pushing your chest against the "camera" wearing only a large ace bandage on your chest to hold the 'girls' in place.

LindiLou said...

You are a bit young for heart problems but listen to your body and don't assume it is just gas. As I tell my daughters, if I knew I was going to live so long, I would have taken better care of myself. I got a clean bill of health after the same stress test and ended up with them doing angioplasty 2 weeks later. Having had both kinds of stress tests, I would choose the treadmill one over the chemical one which scared me half to death the first time I had it!

Lisa said...

Your description was EXACTLY what I experienced!!!

Shellie said...

Boy did that sound like a lot of fun...Thanks for the laugh. I didn't have to have a stress test, but the Dr. sent me to the ER because I only get sick at night and I was probably ok but on the other hand my symptoms could mean my heart was malfunctioning and my lungs were filling up with liquids, thus causing my difficulty breathing. Nope, I got an MRI with contrast dye and found out there is no explainable reason why I am sick, unless I have Chagas or some other dreaded South American disease. On the bright side the dye makes you feel warm and the ER is freezing so that was nice. My husband and I decided to go somewhere less expensive and more entertaining the next time we go out on a Saturday night. There are better ways to get a guy to take you out on a date that that.

Robin said...

glad to know you're okay.

Sondie said...

I had one of those test done when I was 24 (I'm now 35). I failed it...yup, passed right out on the treadmill and at that time I wasn't overweight or anything. Funny thing was that the cardiologist wasn't even concerned that I had passed out. The assistant helped me to the table where they did the heart ultrasound. The cardiologist kept yelling that I wasn't squeezing the dang rubber ball in my hand. And then, after about 30 minutes they discharged me and left me to drive myself home. Unbelievable!

I'm so glad to hear your tests came out ok. You write things so entertaining. Thanks for sharing!

Sylvia said...

You make me laugh and laugh. I'm not laughing at you....well, yes I am. But only because I identify.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you are fine! Ugh, that must have been horrible to exercise for three LOOONG minutes without a bra and be watched by somebody at the same time (that could spike your blood pressure all by itself). And yeah, those hospital gowns are sometimes a laugh.. exactly what they do, I have not figured it out yet. Because they barely cover up your whole body, do not warm you, are see-through, and sometimes don't even "work" like you mentioned (need tape). And the doctor or nurse there just pretend that you are fully clothed while you freeze your butt and try your best to cover up what you can. LOL. In those kind of situations, a sense of humor is a must!

Dave Reynolds said...

I'm glad all is well! I found your blog post yesterday shortly after I developed exactly the same symptoms...including pain in my jaw. Even though I'd been through it before, generally after doing something stupid like overeating, I let the internet freak me out. Still, I'm not as young as I used to be and am inspired to visit my doctor to make sure all is well. Although I'm a guy, sadly I'm growing breasts too which is yet another sign that it's time to get back in shape. I like your blog!

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