Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Stress

Last week, after Durango shamelessly failed to warn me about the incoming thunderstorm, my Mazda Speed suffered copious amounts of hail damage. This caused me stress.

The next day my eldest daughter, who has now had her driver's license for over a year, had a wreck. It was not her fault and no one was injured. But, it caused me stress.

I've been dealing with a bad case of heartburn for a while now. I blame it on the Aleve I was taking for my Dupuytren's. Last Thursday I was working on my hot tub again when my left arm started hurting.

Obviously, everyone knows, when you have heartburn and your left arm starts hurting it's not a good sign. I'm not accustomed to manual labor and I was doing manual labor when it started so my first instinct was I just strained a muscle that's not used to strain.

My ongoing battle with neurosis won a decisive victory over my ability to think clearly and I decided to go the Emergency Room. Then, I decided not to go to the Emergency Room. Then, I decided to go. Then, I decided not to, etc.

In the end, I got tired of deciding and didn't go. The next day, I called my doctor to make a checkup appointment. I wanted to make sure I had a clean bill of health before my cruise next week. I probably failed to mention that I'm taking a cruise to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I wonder if they'll be showing the film.

Yesterday, I had my doctor's appointment. I got to have an EKG (which was normal) and had to schedule a stress test for today. I hope you are accustomed to reading to the end because this is where the fun starts.

I arrived at the doctor's office pre-stressed about my stress test. It is a test after all and all tests must be passed with flying colors else it's a failure. I was literally stressed about making an A on my stress test.

I think the nurse sensed something was wrong.

If you've never had a stress test, they hook you up to a machine that monitors your vitals while you walk on a treadmill. The treadmill gets steeper and moves faster every five minutes or so. I don't really know the delay. I usually make it through 3 such increments (your heart rate must surpass 175 beats per minute).

Anyway, the nurse hooks me up and leaves because the printer is not working. I'm sitting in this chair with a tangle of cords coming out from underneath my shirt and I start passing the time messing with my heart rate (displayed on the monitor). It's currently at 90. If I do deep breathing exercises can I make it drop below 80? Yes, I can! Can I make it drop below 70? Not before the nurse comes back with two other nurses to help her fix the printer.

Then, the doctor comes in. My doctor is a pretty lady and I've been seeing her for over 15 years (every 3 months). We have a rapport. But, anyway, now I've got 4 women in the room with me and they are all picking on me. All I can do is watch my heart rate and try unsuccessfully to control it. It starts rising (my heart rate -- mind out of the gutter) and I'm starting to sweat (because of my neurosis of people watching me). It's like the Tell- Tale Heart of Gar Neurosis.

Once I get on the treadmill and start walking the nurses start cheering. Don't ask me why. It's like, "Go Gar, Go! You can do it!" At this point it's just funny because the treadmill is going at a snail's pace. I've been instructed to look straight ahead where they've got some dollar shop art painting of a baseball player which is completely boring and I have a bad habit of looking at my feet while I walk.

The nurses are cheering and my doctor is chastising me for looking at my feet. Fun was had by all. Then, the treadmill's incline is increased and the rate is sped up.

By the 3rd incline, it's hard to choose between a very fast walk or a slow jog. I lean towards the walk, but try and take big steps. My doctor doesn't like this because it looks like I'm about to fall off the tail end of the treadmill. She starts pushing me forward. She literally stands behind me and pushes me to the front of the treadmill. It's disconcerting. I don't like people behind me.

My doctor quizzes me, "Which package did you choose, the one with cheering or the one with whips?"

The nurse cheers again, "Go Gar go!"

"I think I checked the wrong box on that form," is all I can say.

I still don't know if I made an A.

1 comment:

  1. That doctor's office sounds like a fun place to work.

    The choice between pom-poms and riding crops in a room full of nurses is an interesting one....