Saturday, May 9, 2009

Reality Rears its Ugly Head

Day 2 of the stress test was a walk in the park compared to the first day, but without the walk. In this type of stress test, on day 2 the technicians image your heart at rest as a comparison to the imaging that was done on day 1 when your heart was under load.

I showed up at the imaging department at 10:00 AM. The nurse injected me with the thallium, gave me a glass of milk, and told me to come back in an hour. I headed to the coffee shop in the hospital (giving the cafeteria in the place wide berth based on my experience from the day before), grabbed a cup of coffee and a glass of milk, and started killing time.

As an aside, Beth bought me an HP netbook with a solid-state drive for my fiftieth birthday. I love that thing! With public wi-fi in the coffee shop, the hour went quickly. I checked email, worked on the online class I was teaching, and did some more reading on angina. Then, I headed back to the imaging department.

Day 2 of the imaging was the same as the first day: You lie down on a table and hold your hands and arms above your head. The table has a strap to hang on to; keeping your arms out of the way gives the imaging head of the unit (which looks almost exactly like an open suitcase) a clear shot at your internal bits. If I had more sense (or been in less of a state of denial), I probably would have brooded. However, yours truly was fat and happy, so I dozed, did breathing exercises, and waited for the process to finish.

At the end of the 16 minutes, I headed out of the hospital. Since it was nearly 11:30, I decided to grab lunch so I headed to a hut that served pizza to eat a salad and a couple of slices. That done, I went back to the office. When the stress test was set up, I made an appointment with my personal physician for Friday morning to go over the stress test.

Several hours later, at work, the phone rang. You hear about times when everything changed? This was mine. The doctor who had ordered the stress test was on the line. She said, “The cardiologist is in the clinic. Could you please come in now?” I gathered myself together, called Beth, and we headed to the hospital. After that, things started happening fast.

Next up, the cardiologist and the vagaries of the healthcare insurance system.

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