Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stress test survival

Okay, I survived of course!

I fasted from midnight on and arrived at the clinic nervous as a hen on a hot brick. Hungry, unmedicated, thirsty and nervved up. Great combination!

There is no caffeine for 36 hours beforehand, no medications for 24 hours beforehand and nothing to eat or drink from midnight the night before.

They take you in, start an I.V of saline and then do the skin prep. First they wipe several spots on your chest and back with an alcohol swab, then they sand the spots lightly and attach the sticky lead thingys. Yes WD, that is the technical term.

Then they attach those to the machine and up on the treadmill you go. They instruct you to jog while the treadmill slowly increases in speed and incline angle. Then, just before you feel ready to collapse, you let them know and at that point they will inject thallium into the I.V..

Then, just to add to the fun you are already experiencing, you have to continue to jog for another 90 seconds to work the thallium throughout your system. Never mind the fact you just told them you are on the verge of collapse, and potentially have a bad ticker, keep jogging!

I'm digesting all these instructions and I`m thinking, "Okay, the cardiologist said no stairs, no swimming, no heavy housework, no exertion and these clowns want me to run until I feel ready to collapse...hmmmm."

So I said, "No." That's right, I refused to run. I told them I would gladly co-operate on every other level but I would not run. And, they agreed. No problem. No discussion, just, "Okay."

I had to wait a few minutes for the camera to be free since as soon as you come off the treadmill you go directly under the camera. While I was sitting there, a fellow in a white coat came from the back area of the testing area and asked where the cookies were. The other gals told him there were no cookies but he insisted he could smell cookies and accused them of hiding them from him. At this point the camera tech laughed and said, "Mrs. Nana looks confused!"

I said, "Hey, I'm sitting here starving and you guys are talking about cookies? That's just mean!"
Then the treadmill tech said, "Mrs. Nana is wearing some very nice perfume I think that's what you smell."
I remembered I had, that morning, automatically put on a spritz of the Beauty Control perfume WD sells. It smells like vanilla and cookies.

He wandered off, disappointed.

The test went well and I walked for quite a while before the treadmill tech decided it was time for the injection. Apparently, my blood pressure had risen quite alarmingly from the starting numbers so she gave me the injection and I quite happily kept walking until it was time for the camera.

The camera part consisted of lying motionless for 20 minutes with my arms over my head. Anyone who knows me in real life knows lying motionless is one of my best tricks. I have spent years perfecting my technique so that part was a piece of cake.

Once the camera was complete the Nameless Man and I took off until 2:10 when I has to be back to go back under the camera. We used our time to run some errands including a run to Costco to get cookies for the lab staff.

The afternoon went smoothly and the cookies were a hit. Aren't they always?
When it was all over, the Man took me to Peter's Drive-In for a legendary burger (no fries or onion rings, thankyouverymuch). Those burgers are always delicious but after waiting so long for something to eat, it was a fabulous treat.

Today, I haven't been feeling very well. I assume it's a side effect of the Thallium which is, after all, an ingredient in rat poison. I'm very relieved to have that test over with and now just need to wait for the results.

Thanks to everyone who called and e-mailed. I don't deserve any of you but I'm thankful for each and every one of you.


  1. 36 hours without caffeine! That's a stress test all by itself! Congratulations on your survival, and no wonder you don't feel great.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky, starting her second pot of Sunday morning coffee

  2. I wouldn't run, either. I mean, if they asked me to.... I can't run. (Can't breathe - hmmm, wonder if that means I should quit smoking?) But enough about me.

    I'm glad you survived the whole ordeal! I just hope you didn't weigh yourself after they shot you full of Thalium. (Isn't it a "heavy" metal?)

  3. Glad it's all over and sorry I seem to have missed it all, I'm always the last to the party.