Thursday, January 19, 2006
Another Stress Test
Well, today I had my second cardiac stress test in about three years. It will be several days before I know the results and in the meantime I will just keep my fingers crossed and ponder the logistics of a test that basically requires a technician to inject me with poison. Yes, I said POISON! You see, I made the mistake of looking over the doctors shoulder when he was writing the order for the "Thallium Stress Test". I didn't think much about it at the time but, guess what?...That very next night my wife and I were watching Forensic Files. They highlighted a case where a lady slowly poisoned her husband by putting THALLIUM in his iced tea. Thallium? What the crap? Isn't that what my doctor ordered for me? Well, this guy developed all sorts of problems. He got severe body aches, his hair fell out, and he eventually died. I am watching this show, all the while thinking "surely I just misread the order". Guess what? I didn't misread the order. Apparently thallium has some medical value as a tracer when administered by someone trained and knowledgeable in its' use. My "administering agent" today was a man named John, who gets great joy growing peppers. All sorts of peppers, the hotter the better. Anyway John is a likeable sort of guy. He jokes (I hope it's joking!) about holding me hostage for 3 to 4 hours. He jokes about forcing me to run on a treadmill until I almost drop and then he jokes about injecting me with poison and radioactive materials once my heart is thoroughly stressed. I started this whole process at 8:00am . At this point I might mention that I am a coffee hound and I had been instructed NOT to have any caffeine of any type after this past Monday night. THREE DAYS WITHOUT COFFEE! Well, I had an iv line put into my arm and began the testing. First time I spent about 25-30 minutes laying motionless in the scan machine watching daytime tv on the overhead monitor. After that there was a bit of a wait then I had the "stress" part of the test. I was hooked up to a myriad of ekg electrodes and then forced to walk in an increasingly accelerating gait on a treadmill until it was determined that my heart had reached it maximum operating speed (a nice way of saying that I was about to pass out from exhaustion). That's when John had me injected with another dose of the radioactive material and told me to keep up a fast pace for at least another minute. After that I was FINALLY allowed to have something to drink. I opted for a cup of hot java which I downed quickly then refilled the cup again. I figured that I deserved this having deprived myself of coffee for three days. After a few cups of coffee I was once again strapped into the scan where I tried to remain motionless for another 25-30 minutes. Finally when I thought that I would surely doze off (which John advised was not allowed) a buzzer sounded indicating the end of the test. It was 11:40-am and John smiled, said " well, I didn't kill you" and declared that he was "releasing me from captivity". What a morning! And tonight I am taking a sleep study test. Can you actually take a test in your sleep? I'll let you know tommorrow.