Last month I was experiencing some weird gastric discomfort, like a dull ache in my stomach which kept coming and going for several weeks. It was bad enough to disrupt my routine, to keep me from doing things I’d normally do.
At my mother-in-law’s suggestion, I visited the doctor. He gave me an EKG as a matter of course, explaining that he didn’t expect to find anything. But when he looked at the results, he said, “I almost don’t believe this, but there’s an irregularity here. It’s probably nothing, but now we need to give you a stress test just to make sure.”
Naturally the stomach pain has disappeared and not returned since that doctor visit. But, being a believer in the value of early detection, I went ahead with it.
This morning I skipped my usual coffee (having tapered off over the last week to avoid a withdrawal headache) and reported to the clinic, just a short distance from home. After the usual sheaf of paperwork, they shot me full of isotopes, because this was a nuclear stress test. Then they stuck an IV double pigtail stent in my arm so they could inject more isotopes later.
Shortly thereafter, I had my chest scanned by a LEHR (Low Energy High Resolution) collimator, which took about twenty minutes as the machine rotated slowly around me, gathering data for a 3D image of my heart. A while after that, they pasted electrode all over my chest, attached a blood pressure cuff to my arm and some other sort of monitor to my finer, shot some isotopes through the stent, and had me get on the treadmill, a Marquette 2000. They had me walk at faster speeds and increasing incline until I hit my target heart rate of 179 bpm. They continued to monitor me until my signals returned to normal. Finally, after another break, I was back on the collimator for another scan.
All done in three and a half hours. The doctor was monitoring the electrocardiogram results as I trod upon the mill, and he didn’t spot anything unusual, but I gather they have to analyze all the data before they can issue a clean bill of health. So, here’s hoping.
One of my co-workers remarked that I’m “the last person who needs a stress test. You’re the least-stressed person I know.” I wonder if that’s how people generally perceive me.
Update: My doctor’s office called me and informed me I got a complete clean bill of health from the stress test.