I'm With The (Lap) Band

Friday, August 27, 2004

Matters of the Heart

Thursday and Friday of this week I got to go through the Nuclear Stress Test to determine if my heart was "up to" surgery.

What an experience! I was on a two day protocol, so it was two mornings of getting up and going in to be a human pincushion!

Wednesday, I was not allowed to have any caffeine, decaf or chocolate. Chocolate was easy - not having my Diet Coke was not so swift! But I made it.

Thursday, I had an 8 am appointment. I got there and they had to put an IV line in and then hook me up to all of the electrodes. Then I had to get on a treadmill and walk uphill to get my heart rate up to 156. I made it to 145 before I just couldn't go any more.

Since I couldn't hit the target, they had to give me this medicine that simulates a fast heart rate. Let me tell you, it is the weirdest thing to be sitting still and begin getting dizzy, getting short of breath and having your heart pump and chest tighten. As promised, though, 30 seconds after they stopped putting the medicine in, the effects stopped. (It was a 4 minute test.)

Two minutes into that 4 minute test, they injected the nuclear isotopes into my blood. Those, I never felt.

After that, I had to get dressed and go have a fatty meal. Gotta love a doctor who prescribes a milkshake with your meal! I went out and had a Sonic burger and shake - and then took a nap in my car.

I had to be back at 10:45 for the Machine. The Machine consists of a table that is literally about a foot wide - so you feel like you are laying on one of those gymnastic balance beams. You have to lay on this thing for 15 minutes - completely still - with your arms above your head. All the while you are laying still, this apparatus is closing in on you, taking pictures of your heart. (The isotopes help them see the walls of the heart by bouncing around in the chambers and help give the definition that the Machine needs...or at least that's the way I understood it.)

I finished up around 11:45 for the day and went to work.

This morning, my appointment was at 9 am and when I tried to leave the apartment at 8:30, I couldn't find my keys. Major panic - and finally, gave up and called my brother who just happened to be working at a hospital in Plano today. (He had confiscated our extra set of keys a few weeks ago and hadn't brought them back...) So, he left the job site to come pick me up - took me to Steak N Shake, since I had to have one of those prescribed milkshakes again and didn't have a way to go get them, and took me to the HeartPlace.

Today, I didn't have to do the treadmill test. I just had to have the IV threaded - which was a major task - and then the isotopes put in. It took at least 7 sticks in these veins for them to get a good one. Amazingly, none of them bruised. Then, it was out to eat my burger and drink my shake. That waiting room was soooo cold, I finally asked for a blanket - since I had to be out there for an hour and 45 minutes before I could be put on The Machine. I fell asleep and woke up to Brian's call telling me he was through with the job and would come pick me up. It was perfect timing - he had time to get there and eat his lunch in his van while I was on The Machine.

I got to work about 1 pm today...now just to wait for the results. I'm sure they are ok...


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