Have you ever dreaded something that you just knew would end in disaster and then, when it was over, thought, “Is that all there is?” That pretty much is what happened to me today. I had been scheduled for a chemical stress test last month. A couple of days before the test, the company that provides the nuclear material shut down for repairs. That put a stress on medical providers throughout the country and my test was postponed. A couple weeks later, it was again put off until, I was told then, at least the end of January. A supply of testing material became available and my test was today.
I have lived totally scared since the cardiologist told me last Fall I needed the test.
All my fears were based on the last chemical stress test I had in November, 2001, when I had a series of life threatening events. It was a horrendous experience.
We had a rather nasty snowstorm here overnight and driving became difficult and hazardous, but my wife slipped and slid me to the testing site. That may been the worse part of the whole adventure, but she's a good driver and got me there safely. Because of the storm, the cardiology office had received numerous cancellations so I had virtually no wait. I got hooked up to the chem. dripper, an ECG machine, and an other machine that was watching a whole bunch of other things. My cardiologist (I didn’t know he was going to be there) came in and he administered the test rather than the technician. He had earlier explained to the techie of my fear and he wanted to help ease the situation.
Before the doc arrived, the techie had said because of a mobility problem, she understood I wasn’t going to use the treadmill but sit on the bed moving my legs around. She said that was perfectly acceptable, but the treadmill did a better job circulating the blood. She said it gives the doc a better picture of what’s going on. Doc arrived, chem. got injected, ECG started and I asked the doc if he would like me to try the treadmill. He looked at me almost in disbelief, and said he would. So, onto the treadmill. I was impressed with myself because I was doing something I didn't think possible. The techie had warned me that the chem. stuff would give me occasional shortness of breath and occasional flushing. I had one about 2 second flush and experienced shortness of breath for about 2 seconds. That was it; test over.
I had to lie quietly for another 15 minutes while some gamma ray pictures were being taken of my heart and the doc said when we meet again Wednesday, the pictures will have given the best idea of how the heart is performing. But today he said he saw NOTHING on the printouts that might indicate any concern.
I told the doc that my concerns about the test and my fears of having it were totally alleviated and it was nothing like what I had gone through in 2001. "Remember, you were just a little sicker and had gone through a few more events then."
As I was leaving, I noticed a sign on the entry door: "(Facility) will be closed on Tuesday, Jan. 2nd to celebrate the New Year. We will be open as usual on Wednesday, Jan. 3rd." I went back to the receptionist and said, "I sure do hope your medical practices are better than your sign maker." I explained what the sign said and left listening to a gale of laughter.
Heading back to my wife's car for the interesting ride home, I asked, "Is that all there is?"
May 2008 bring you the joy and successes you seek! Happy New Year!