Take Me Somewhere Else
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything. It’s not because I have nothing to say; it’s because I didn’t want to sit in front of the computer to say it.
Since I’ve last written I’ve been deluged with dizzy spells and chest pains. Pains that are so extreme on my right hand side that the torment decided to spread out down my arm and to my back. And, if that wasn’t enough, the torment continued by getting dizzy so much that I would pass out and bang my head against tables or the side of the bathtub. No…my heart wanted other parts of my body to join the pain party. I would actually go through weeks of the pain in my chest thinking I had a severe case of the burps. It really felt like I had to let one rip – out of either hole – to feel better. But, it just wasn’t happening. I finally succumbed to the pain and headed to the emergency room. It took three hours for someone to get serious about my chest pain because they thought the skinny guy with long hair was only after pain medication. On the fourth hour the curtain around what would’ve been my death bed was thrown back and the cardiologist told me, “You’re having a serious heart attack, my friend,” No kidding. The cardiologist moved fast and before you know it my pubes were being shaved and a stent was being shoved up into my heart from my groin area.
But that didn’t do the trick. Even with a stent being strategically placed to enhance the flow of blood through this svelt body, I was still getting chest pains. Unfortunately, without insurance, there was nothing anyone could do. I now had red flags all over my name because I owe a LOT of money. My cardiologist even told me that once I got insurance, he would “fix” me. So it was all about the Benjamins.
So, finally after decades of NOT having insurance, I finally got covered back on May 01. Boy, what a difference having money to pay the enormous bills makes. I have seen a Primary Care Physician, retrieved necessary medication, and have seen my Cardiologist who was happy to NOW conduct a Nuclear Stress Test on my person to determine the cause of my constant chest pain. All because I possess a little card guaranteeing money would flow in their direction to cover the costs of all of this wellness going on around me.
I’ll be honest…I was seriously nervous about having a NUCLEAR Stress Test done. I don’t even know why they have to put the word NUCLEAR in the title. That, alone, would not give a person the warm fuzzies. But, if you’re going to have one in the future, let me tell you that it’s nothing to be nervous about.
You can’t eat four hours before the test. And nothing containing caffeine or chocolate 24 hours before. I had a hard time with this one since I was dying for a Coke (a cola) about two hours of denying my system the bubble jolt. And no smoking 24 hours before, either. Although I talked them down to four hours because if they didn’t want a bitch in their waiting room…they had better bend the rules a little bit. And they did. They were totally thinking ahead.
The first technician placed an IV line into my right arm and had me lie on a table perfectly still while this huge camera rolled over me from the right to the left. It was fucking cold in that room. I stared at the ceiling (because I really had nothing else to do while I laid perfectly still) only to notice the air vent was directly above the heart-picture-taking bed. Whose bright idea was that? This picture taking of the heart took 15 minutes. I shivered the entire time. I’m surprised they even got a good picture of my heart since I was shaking so much and all the while jiggling the thing around inside my ribcage.
The next step was the most difficult. Not that it’s anything to worry about…even though I was doing exactly that…worrying about it. They took me into another room where I was expecting to run on a treadmill. You know…the stress test. But there wasn’t a treadmill to be had. They laid me on the table and checked my blood pressure. The technician then injected a stimulant through the IV line the first technician had placed in my arm to get my blood flowing AS IF I were exercising on a treadmill. After about three minutes the first technician entered the room to inject a radioactive dye into my blood stream. Yes…radioactive. You read that right. In fact, there were “DANGER…Radioactive materials in use” signs all over the place. It took about 30 seconds before my body felt like it was going to explode. I felt like I was a water balloon that was at the level of water it could handle and yet they were shoving in more water. I was going to burst!! Both technicians told me to breathe through it slowly and that the sensation would only last about a minute. They were correct. The explosion level settled down in just about a minute. All the while the little wires they had stuck all over my chest were taking pictures of my heart as to how it was reacting to the radioactive dye.
Within three minutes….I was done. I was asked to sit in the waiting area for an hour while they provided me with tea (ick…I hate the hell out of tea) to help bring the veins back to normal and fed me cheese crackers. They gave me lunch!! After an hour, I was placed back on the table with the first technician in that cold fucking room with the huge camera where I laid for 15 minutes cursing the cold. And shaking. The technician did lay a towel across my legs to help with the cold. I pretended it worked, but it didn’t.
That was it. I was done with the test that took three hours from start to finish. I didn’t gain any super powers from the radioactive dye (like Spidey Senses) but I could totally be Mr. Freeze since I was a walking ice cube when I walked out of there.
The results show that there is nothing wrong with my heart function. The dye showed clear pipes. So my problem is either a blockage in my carotid artery or a number of other things. Which means…more future tests for me. My doctor said he could do a bypass or angioplasty…but he’d rather wait for another three months to see what my specialists have to say. And I agreed.
And then I stepped outside…into the Florida heat. I was in heaven! I wanted to roll around on the grass to soak up the warmth. But I didn’t. We hopped into the 165 degree car and headed home. I smoked a pack of smokes during the 8 mile drive and guzzled a two-liter of Coke (a cola) when I got through my door. Screw my heart. It was doing fine with its radioactive dye. I needed to make up for the 24 hours of neglecting my body of nicotine and caffeine. I’m sorry, body. Blame the heart, which is now thinking it’s too groovy for the rest of you.