Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh, Stress Your Lil' Stinking Heart

Well this round of tests are done, and I just gotta say it:

I'm starting to feel like a 3 dollar ho.

Every time someone in a white coat or scrubs walks by I have an uncontrollable urge to flip my shirt up and show them my chest. Pavlov's dog and all that...

One of the tests I took was a stress test.

I don't know if it's the lazy person's stress test, or the physically impaired person's stress test or what, but it doesn't actually involve any treadmill running or jumping jacks or whatever they used to make you do. Which is good, because my right foot is still very tender and wouldn't look kindly to being jumped up and down on.

What they do now is basically give you a 5 minute push of adrenalin and halfway through give you a shot of radioactive isotopes that light your blood up so they can see how the blood flows through your heart at a stress rate and at a resting rate. The adrenalin will exit your system about 45 seconds after the push is done and the isotopes will continue to light you up like a Christmas tree for a few more hours or so. Because the adrenalin has such a short shelf life, they have to specially order the dose one day before the procedure.

While the medical assistant was wiring me for sound (I.V. in my arm, electrodes all over my chest and ankles which she attached to cables) she explained what the side effects of the adrenalin could be. Headache, nausea, difficulty breathing, rapid heart beat, pain or pressure in my throat and/or chest. Most patients experience one or more of these effects. Risks included me falling down dead of a sudden heart attack.

"But not to worry", she added cheerfully. "You're in an excellent cardiac facility!" Then she handed me a clipboard and told me to sign.

I read it and stopped. Uh, we have an issue. I don't weigh xxxxx (not telling, none of yer business! LOL).

She took the clipboard back. "Well you said you weighed this when we set up the procedure on December 11th."

Nooooo---What I said was that at the rate I was losing weight, I could possibly weigh 10 to 15 pounds less by now.

"I have to go get the doctor." And she left.

I started to get scared. Visions of a mouse in a microwave (me being the mouse) were racing through my head. You know me and what I mean.!! From the inside out.

The MA came back with a doctor.

"It shouldn't be a problem if you're within the 10% range", he said. "What do you weigh now?"

I'm not sure (with all the weight I'd been losing I wasn't stepping on the scale every day. It was all freaking me out a bit).

So we had to go down the hall to a scale. Me with a shortie wrap gown covering my boobies, and the med assistant and doc carrying the wires that were attached to the electrodes trailing behind me like attendants at Dr. Octopus' wedding.

Whew. I was within the 10%. Barely. I calculated what all the wires might weigh and signed the form (with trepidation). Then I got back on the table.

The technician who was going to administer the adrenalin push and isotopes came in.

"Did the medical assistant explain all of the possible side effects?" he asked.

I assured him that she had.

"Let's go over it again. Headache, nausea, difficulty breathing, rapid heart beat, pain or pressure in your throat and/or chest. Most patients experience one or more of these effects. Risks include falling down dead of a sudden heart attack."

"But not to worry", he added cheerfully. "You're in an excellent cardiac facility!"


Then the cardiologist who was going to monitor the whole procedure came in and introduced herself. Asked me if I knew what the possible side effects of the procedure was going to be.

I assured her that I knew.

"We just want to be sure that it's clear. Headache, nausea, difficulty breathing, rapid heart beat, pain or pressure in your throat and/or chest. Most patients experience one or more of these effects. Risks include falling down dead of a sudden heart attack."

"But not to worry", she added cheerfully. "You're in an excellent cardiac facility!"

I was seconds away from bursting into tears. From all the warnings, at this point the image in my mind of my heart (ok you guys know the weirdness that passes through MY noggin) was of the baby monster thing bursting through the chest of its host in the Alien movies. I was scared to death.

There was sort of a countdown. The I.V. was on my right side, the medical assistant was on my left with a blood pressure cuff on that arm. I turned my head to the left and focused on the medical assistant.

She took my blood pressure.

How is it? I asked.

"Good", she said. "Are you feeling ok?"

I'm fine. When are we going to start?

"We're already one and half minutes into it. I need to take your pressure again."


There was nuthin'. Really not a thing.

Ok, during the very last minute, I felt a little tightening at the base of my throat. The MA, the tech and the doc kept exclaiming that I was one of the "lucky ones" ---with what I thought was a little disappointment---who didn't need a crash cart and an extraordinary save. Could be my imagination. You know how overactive it is.

Anyhoo, they unwired me, but left a few electrodes stuck to my chest for the next phase. I had to go sit in the waiting room for 30 minutes to give the isotopes a chance to circulate before taking a bunch of pictures.

I promptly fell asleep from the adrenalin crash and had to be physically woken up when it was time. I was dreaming about having wild hot monkey sex with my hubby (seriously!) and had a little drool on my chin. Gak!

Got the results back. There's good news and bad news (in my opinion).

The good news is that everything is clean and clear. No blockages whatsoever, so no bypass surgery or rotorooting needed.

The bad news?

They still don't know why my heart is failing.

So that means in two weeks, more tests. Argh.




Anonymous said...

Oh, god. What a pain in the... well, ass is probably literally accurate at this point, knowing what those waiting room chairs are like.

I'm thrilled to hear the results, but sorry to hear that it's not the end for you. Wait, that came out REALLY wrong -- I mean sorry it's not the end of *testing* for you! Not the end of... oh, damn, woman, you know what I meant.

Hugs :-)

Beth said...

I wonder if they factor in the body's own natural adrenalin rush when they repeatedly tell you the possible effects of that test?
The test results were indeed good news - huge.
Sending love, prayers and all good thoughts for the next round.

KL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KL said...

Girl, don't you know by now that medical diagnoses are done by a rule out system? Sadly, this is more true than not. Just hang in there and when it gets to be too much, just think how much you will be entertaining your friends when you blog about it all! :)

OH...and just found this gem in my about a place to NOT eat ;)

HAG (may be dangerous just to think about!


carmachu said...

Makes a note to self to mail your husband a white coat and scrubs....

Anyway....good luck with the tests! Glad to hear the other tests were good news.....

RC said...

wow...that certainly doesn't sound like a lot of fun. but certainly sounds like "the lazy man's stress test" as you put...that part cracked me up!

contemporary themes said...

Good thing the hospital has a good cardiac program. Geez! I can't believe they had to tell you three times. Glad the results were good!

And the dream -- I cracked up! You are too funny!

Sending hugs!

Brenda said...

I just want you to be ok! Hang in there, surely they'll stumble across something soon and get it fixed. Keeping fingers and toes crossed here.

Aren't those gowns just the cutest things? :-)

H~ said...

Thank God for your sense of humour about this whole thing. Not knowing what's going on must be beyond incredibly frustrating. My hat's off to how you are handling this. You are, as always, in my thoughts.

Oh and I think that their constant repetition of the side effects had to be part of the stress test. Repeatedly hearing that you could possibly have a heart attack is no where near relaxing.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you can laugh about it, but man, is seems so insensitive. If they told me that once, my blood pressure and anxiety would have been off the charts. You are a brave woman.
I'm glad the test came out so well. I'm doing a great big cartwheel (in my mind) for you. It really sucks that you have to have more tests, but just keep telling yourself that knowledge is good.
I hope you are feeling better and congratulations on all that weight coming off. As always, you are in my thoughts!
Love and more love,

The Quacks of Life said...

I do trust you acted out your deeams :D

stinkypaw said...

Focus on the good news even if I do know it can be hard to wait for friggin' answers when we're not feeling 100%. go back to your dream! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Aw man. At least it's a mixed bag so far--I'm always better when I get good and bad news.
Clean pipes, though, you must feel proud of that.

Anonymous said...

Sounds gruelling. Hang in there.

Ellen Seidman said...

I got kind of stressed reading that. Not. Fun. But glad the results were good.

Do you think hell consists of one long stress test?

Ellen Seidman said...

...and doctors in white coats telling you "You're in an excellent facility"?

Angela said...

Well glad you are alive it seems as if everyone seemed to enjoy telling that over and over again.
Good luck with upcoming torture

Unknown said...

I'm really keeping positive and caring thoughts for you! :)

Michelle Flaherty said...

Dear God! Okay, let's not say your heart is failing. Let's just say it's going through a secondary pubescent state in which it's acting very tempermental. Sending HUGE hugs your way! xo

Green-Eyed Momster said...

If you survived all of that, everthing else will be a piece of cake, right?


TxGoodie said...

During all the testing, have they ruled out sleep apnea?

Hugs and prayers for all you are're a brave little fighter. Good for you!

Grim Reality Girl said...

Ah the stress test... you had the chemical one vs. the physical one. I don't know which is worse... Those bastards made me run BRALESS on a treadmill with a mega incline. Hello??? Do they not understand what unrestrained breasts do when you are RUNNING on a treadmill with an amazing incline???? Stress tests suck. Praying for you!!!!