Two weeks ago I went into the hospital for what they call an Echo Cardio stress test.
My doctor recommended it after my cholesterol score was up and after he ordered a specialized blood test.
The cardio test is relatively simple if you are not a woman entering into a room with three men.
Rule number one:
IF you want my high blood pressure down, don't surround me with three men whom I have never met.
Rule number two:
Don't say to me. You will be fine but you do need to sign this form saying if in some rare case you have a heart attack it is basically not our fault.
Rule number three:
I will humor you and also let you know I am not afraid of dying and
if this should be my last day on earth it was nice meeting you.
Rule number four:
Be sure to wear good walking shoes which I did and leave your glasses at home if possible.
I had been instructed to 'put a gown on' after they left the room which is always a 'fun experience.'
Then I had to let them know I was 'ready'.
Can someone really be ready for this 'forced exercise test?'
They fastened me with multitudes of sticky probes on my chest and then they told me to 'relax'.
That was very funny again
I remind you there are three men in the room with me and
I have a gown on and
I feel a tad 'exposed' wondering what IS being viewed under those 'sticky suction cups'.
They had me lay on my left side and the ultrasound began.
I began to watch as the technician said to the others in the room,
"this is not working well we need the contrast to make it more clear."
Now the contrast is a protein liquid that goes into your heart through an iv line in your arm.
I immediately said,
"Is this iodine because I have gone into shock a few times and
I don't really want to do that today."
"No it is not iodine and here is another paper for you to sign should you have a problem with it."
I signed paper number two while trying to write with an iv in my arm.
The contrast dye was put in and the technician looked at some pictures on the screen.
Then they said to me, "we will need you to move to the treadmill."
So I got off the hospital table and sat up while one of them put more belts and probes on me.
Which again was a tad uncomfortable as he was in my 'personal space' and
really is this all necessary?
I moved to the treadmill with all the wires including the iv in my arm.
Then one of them said,
"We will need you to walk slowly then gradually we will make you walk faster."
I have been using my home treadmill but at a pace I am comfortable with because it scares me.
On this day I had the grip of death on the handles as they turned the machine on.
While I was mildly walking another one of them inserted more iv drip for the contrast to move in my heart and chest areas and another one of them was taking my blood pressure on the other arm.
Multiple things were going on at the same time and I had to really focus and concentrate.
Then the one who I called the treadmill guy said, "in twenty seconds you are going to move faster."
They raised the treadmill up to an incline and turned it up.
My little feet were moving fast like a hamster on a wheel.
My hands were white as they curled around the handle clinging tight with no letting go.
I was determined to do the test the right way and equally determined to not fail or stop too soon.
After what seemed like many minutes they said to me,
"Immediately we need to move you off the treadmill and lay you down on your left side for the contrast to be seen on the screen."
My heart was beating fast and I was gasping for breath feeling sure that I would have a heart attack any moment while they put more contrast protein in my arm for the third or fourth time.
Minutes later the dye contrast worked and I was done with the procedure.
They made me lay there and catch my breath as they monitored all my vital signs.
Then they left the room and told me to get dressed.
At some point in the process one of them had taken my glasses and
I was not sure where they had put them.
As I was walking out the door to ask where they had put them I saw my gold frames in the garbage can.
Yes someone had knocked them into the garbage.
They came back into the room and one of them cleaned my glasses with a disinfectant.
The test was an experience that was both scary and interesting.
I left feeling like I needed a nap.
It was a heart test I have never done before and should I ever need another one my glasses will stay home.