Less than twenty-four hours ago, I told you about my friend Keith, and in that story I told you how I needed to stop being such a drama queen.
Shortly there after I realized that if I did that, I would have nothing to write about.
With that said…
I’m full of nuclear isotopes.
Our journey begins a couple of months ago. (Well in reality it begins back in 1988 or so, but I will get to that in a bit.) I started having these ‘weird’ feeling in my chest. Not chest pains, like I was having a heart attack or anything, no arm pain, no dizziness or anything else that would make you think that you need to get the fuck to the hospital immediately and summon a priest; although if you look up the symptoms on WebMD I had anything from indigestion to ovarian cancer.
After a couple of weeks of these off and on ‘murmurs’ not going away, I decided to bounce in to the local Urgent Care to see what they said. I was slightly concerned because when I was in middle school I remember going to the doctor for a similar incident, though for the life of me, I cannot remember how that turned out.
I don’t think I died, though.
The Urgent Care hooked me up to an EKG and didn’t find a problem. The nurse/doctor there pondered it might be anxiety/stress related and asked if anything stressful was going on. I looked at her and just laughed. Between work, finances and various personal life events, I’ve been pretty damned stressed out. None the less, she went ahead and referred me to a cardiologist; but first I would have to wear a heart monitor for 48 hours so they could see if they could catch my heartbeat when I was having the feelings.
Talk about a fucking ordeal.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with the EKG sensors or not, but they stick to your body pretty good.
Except when you’re out in 137 degree heat.
I was freaking out Abbie Alford all day the first day I was wearing this thing because I kept whacking my chest, trying to keep the damned thing attached to my sweaty-ass body. The tape they used had failed, and it was all sliding off of me. I didn’t want to get stuck with it another day so I was doing everything I could to keep it on me. Finally, when I got home I decided ‘FUCK THIS’ and I basically wrapped myself up like a Christmas present; using nearly an entire roll of medical tape.
It was a good idea at the time. The monitor stayed on me, and the cardiologist got the information he needed. Taking all the tape off though…
I’m quite hairy. Or at least I was.
Anyway, I found out that I have ‘premature ventricular contractions’; a benign, pretty common condition where one of the chambers in your heart ‘beats’ out of sync with the rest. If my heart is otherwise fine, there’s no cause for concern, and may even be caused by a potassium deficiency that’s a common side effect of one of my medications. To be safe, the cardiologist sent me to the hospital this morning to have some extra tests done.
The first test is the most accurate and telling test of all.
The doctor starts you jiggling and sees how long it takes you to stop.
Fortunately for me, he didn’t need to cancel his four o’clock.
I was then injected with (literally) radioactive isotopes. The ‘nuclear technician’ (that is EXACTLY what it said on his name badge) told me that there are no side effects. I of course made the argument that ONE – if there are no side effects, why are you wearing a HAZMAT suit? And TWO – nothing called ‘radioactive isotopes’ could have no side effects. It could not be a coincidence that this lab is on the same floor as the morgue.
It was at that point I think I was hit on the head with a hammer by one of his assistants.
I later woke up in a tube where they were taking pictures of my now irradiated heart. As if trying to turn me into a real life Spiderman, only without the spider, wasn’t enough, they then sent me down to the worst thing I have ever had to go through in my life.
They call it a stress test, but I honestly think sometime when I was knocked out, I was shipped to Guantanamo Bay. Treadmills are, after all, water-boarding for fat people.
The goal of this test was to get my heart rate up to 156 from it’s resting rate of around 66. Shouldn’t be hard, I thought. I get winded watching television.
Apparently some of my meds jack with my heart rate. After like 20 minutes on this thing, I could not get my heart rate past 110, and my legs were about to give out.
I am really, really out of fucking shape.
So they shot me up with something that fakes it; probably Fukashima water or something, and sent me back to have my heart photographed again.
Once that was done, one more person needed to fondle me. This one was a pretty woman, so it was fine. Though it’s always a pretty girl when I have to take off my shirt. It’s hard for a 350 pound man with a partially shaved chest (IT WAS THE EKG!) to flirt. “Hey. You’re pretty. I think we have the same cup size. Grrrrr.”
Anyway, this was actually cool. She did the whole sonogram. From what I could gather from the screen; based on what I know from human anatomy, my heart is a girl. Also, I will shamefully admit that I don’t mind being slathered in whatever that jelly is they use for those things. So, yeah. I probably won’t be allowed back in that hospital ever again.
Now all I need to do is await my results (and the accompanying bills). In all serious, St. John has a really nice staff and every time I’ve been there I’ve been treated great, so A+++ to them.
Unless they tell me I can’t eat meat.
Then we might have words.