Legalized Medicinal Torture~

Or: How To Authorize Your Own Demise

So today was my heart testing. I’ve been waiting for at least four weeks for this test.  I’ve been stuck in a chair for eleven weeks.  Suffice it to say, I was ready for this test.  I WANTED this test. I woke up eager and rearing to go.

Now I’m a weird person.  I really don’t like doctors.  Really.  I avoid them at all costs.  All.  However, I don’t have a fear of them.  I have no medical phobias.  I just don’t like em.  I don’t like canned peaches either and I do avoid them but I have no fear of them.  I just find them distasteful.  It’s a good analogy in my opinion.  Canned peaches are well, canned, and they’re slimy.  They aren’t fresh but they sure are syruppy… yep.  Perfect analogy.

So, going this morning I had no qualms.  Zippo.  I hate needles, hate having blood drawn, and can’t stand IV’s but I’m not afraid of them  I’m just a wus.  The tech starts palpating my veins and I point to the vein between my second and third knuckle and said, “They usually get it here.”  He looked dismayed.  My first thought was, “You’re dismayed… I’m the one getting stuck here!”

Now, before I begin my whine fest, I have to tell you, this guy was a great phlebotomist.  (Or however you spell it.  To me, it always sounds like someone with phlegm from their rear so it’s hard to say it with a straight face.)  He told me it was going to hurt.  He didn’t say, “This is gonna feel like an ice pick being rammed under your fingernails,” but that is what his facial expression said.  I steeled myself for the worst.  I cured the steel.  I cooled and stacked it.  I sold it to Dagny Taggart at rock bottom prices.  It never hurt.  A smidge uncomfortable but no pain.  A basic blood draw usually drives me through the roof.  I want this guy as my personal blood taker outer.  (Keeps me from thinking about icky bottoms to say it that way)  He can just follow me to any place that has to insert instruments of modern blood letting.

Unfortunately, my medical love affair with this man ends here.  Now he becomes a nemisis.  He put me in this chair.  It has a nice metal pole going up the back.  I’m supposed to sit up perfectly straight against that back.  That’s not the hard part.  Oh no, that’s him being nice to me.  Then he swings this bar at my head um… near my head and tells me casually, “Hang your arm up there.”

I kid you not.  Like everyone can hang their arms freely over a bar at head level.  Then he says, and this is the kicker…. “Now don’t move.  At all.  No movement whatsoever.  This will only be…

Wait for it…

Are you ready?


If you want to practice this at home, find a ladderback chair and stick a baseball bat in the middle.  Then, put this in front of monkey bars at a height of just above your forehead but not higher than your head.  Then, hang your arms over the bars (you can pad them with a couple of folded towels)  Now.  Don’t move.  For thirty-one minutes.  Don’t cough, sneeze, get a scratch, forget you can’t move the hair from your eyes, nothing.

Oh, and when your arm starts twitching and shaking as though there is an earthquake or sonic BOOM… don’t let it or you could end up on an operating table for a nice roto-rooter proceedure that you don’t need.  Except he didnt’ tell me that part.  He waited.  Nice guy.  Why worry the gal into absolute compliance?  Just let her assume that she’s being still.  Let her laugh at her husband’s jokes so she jiggles a bit.

It’s a racket I tell ya.  They just WANT you to jiggle a bit or move here or there so that you have to pay for a surgery even if you don’t get it or need it.  It’s a medical conspiracy of Watergate proportions.  Or at least a way to avoid confessing that I forgot I wasn’t supposed to move and brushed my hair out of my eyes a few times until I remembered.  *gulp*

From there, the nice  *cough* man takes me to the room with the EKG and treadmill stuff.    Oh,  yeah, and the BIGGEST syringe I have EVER seen.  I kid you not it was the size of a tube of toothpaste.  Looked like a biological warfare missile but nope, it’s just how we’re going to torture you next.  Say thank-you!

This lady was the nicest medical person I’ve ever met.  Bar none.  I mentioned my little bestekid (bestemors do that) and she asked the baby’s name.  Then she rhapsodized over the name for some time.  “Euphemia!  That is just so PRETTY!”  Then she asked about kids… swore it wasn’t possible that I could have nine.  She’d have been my new best friend from that alone if she hadn’t already been.   “You just don’t look old enough!”  Ahh… everyone needs a nice vanity stroke after eleven weeks (one day shy) in a recliner.

Then she transformed into Ms. Hyde.  She carefully adjusted the blood pressure cuff and inflated it.  I’ve never endured such pain in my life.  Honestly, it was worse than labor.  Shorter… mercifully shorter… but the actual pain caused was worse.  I literally screamed.  I tend to have too much pride to do that outside of labor but I couldn’t help it.  That scream earned me a 142/82 on the blood pressure reading.  She said, “See that 142, that’s your ‘OUCH’,” and then giggled.  I guess it was funny.  I guess.

However, at this point, she redeemed herself.  For a minute.  She moved that cuff to my lower arm an I had ZIPPO blood pressure cuff pain after that.  If all nurses/techs were so thoughtful this world would be a better place.  And the national blood pressure average would drop significantly.

At this point, she flopped back to the Hyde side and whipped out a clipboard.  On the sheet that I so naively signed, she informs me that I will experience, heart arythmia, nausea, faintness, dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath, pressure, headache, pain, pain, pain… no wait, that’s how I would have written it.  Oh and there was that one little ditty, “heart attack”.  Yeah.  I could have had a heart attack.  “In thirty years we’ve never had one though!”  Gee.  Glad to hear it.  I’ll be the first.  Seems like I always am!

I signed (did you know it hurts to sign with an IV between your second and third knuckles?  It is. Thought you ought to know.  She told me before she injected this monster thing, “Tell me everything you feel as you’re feeling it.”  Ok….  Then she kicked Kevin out of the room.  I now know why.  A husband watching what is about to happen would be tempted to forget that the tech is a woman and deck her.  HARD.  TWICE.

It began.  I felt cold hands.  My breathing accelerated.  My heart accelerated.  Suddenly I say, “I feel like I’m having a HUGE niacin rush!”  They thought that was funny.  Whatever.  I couldn’t breathe, the pressure was coming from my head, hands, heart, chest, down my legs, I felt dizzy, whirling, gasping for air, choking, coughing.  It felt like I would pass out but knew I wouldn’t.  I kept thinking as I tried to tell them what was happening, “I am not going to die.  They said I won’t die.  I know I won’t die.”  But it FELT like I was going to die.  I assured myself I would live.  I didn’t believe me but I did it anyway.

I think they stopped it early.  My coughing bugged them.  The rest of my symptoms didn’t seem to be an issue but the coughing and wheezing certainly was not what they wanted to see.  At some point they draped me with oxygen tubes and insisted I breathe in the oxygen.  Somehow I got the idea they don’t always do that.  They must sometimes because the oxygen was right there but something about the sound of her voice…

Finally, she lets me leave.  It is now noon and I’ve been there for two hours.  No waiting.  I am to go get coffee immediately (can you say blech in four different languages?), have lunch, and be back in one hour.  I haven’t eaten since dinner the night before.  I’m famished.  Off we go, me coughing up an overworked lung, and Kevin racing to get me coffee, to Denny’s.

Kevin was obviously determined to fix me.   I went to the bathroom the second we got inside and returned less than 2 minutes later to a table with a cup of hot coffee and three little dealie-bobs of half and half.  The smell was awful.  I usually like coffee SMELL.  Not this stuff.  So I dump two half and half dealie-bobs inside the cup and a packet of sugar.   Oh man.  UGH.  I try one more packet.  If there was an improvment, I didn’t notice.  So I didn’t bother with more.  How many would it take!!!  Thirty?  Forget it.  I ordered a coke.

Now.  Coffee.  I took a sip.  Coughed.  Made an awful face before I could stop myself and then had to assure the waitress that it’s not her fault.  I am under doctor’s orders to torture myself with tortured coffee beans.  (What else would you call ground and burned beans?  That sounds like torture to me!)  I do not get the appeal.  Really.  Why drink burned bean juice when you can drink coke?

Speaking of Coke, did you know that it makes coffee taste better?  I’d take a sip of Coke, swallow, and then take another sip of coffee.  It didn’t make the coffee GOOD, but it did cut some of the bitter nastiness.

Another observation:  Coffee makes eggs taste disgusting.  Coffee + eggs= disgusting.  Thought you ought to know.

By the time the coffee was gone, it had done its job.  I could breathe deeply without an audible wheeze (I could hear it but no one else could) and I wasn’t coughing much.  We return to the doctor’s office for yet another imaging test.  Here is where the evil tech (the first one) informs me that I moved too much.  I can’t move.  I can’t.  No moving or you’ll end up with a false positive.  This is a FAR CRY from his original, “try not to move”.

However, in is defense (why am I defending the torture warden?), I will say that he worked harder to make me ABLE to stay still.  He lowered the bar (sometimes a necessary thing in order to help students people pass the test) to jus below my forehead so I could rest my arms more comfortably (no jiggling) and rest my head on it as well.  An EKG was hooked up the whole time which was interesting.

Breathe in… beep beep beep beep.

Breathe out… beep… beep… beep…

Breathe in… beep beep beep beep.

Breathe out… beep… beep… beep…

Breathe in… beep beep beep beep.

Breathe out… beep… beep… beep…

I didn’t move a muscle.  I do not want to go through surgery only to discover they didn’t do anything because nothing was wrong.  Surgery prep, expense, incision, the works without getting FIXED?  I think not.  I think I passed that one with FLYING colors.

Or at least I gave them the info they need to tell me if my problem is my heart or not.  Oh, and the tech says she thinks I have asthma.  Thought you ought to know.

Did I mention that Pharmacological Stress Test HURTS?

Thought I should make sure.  It did.  It hurt.  I need vast quantities of chocolate to cure me of the side effects.  Send post haste to

Chautona Havig

32o N…..

4 thoughts on “Legalized Medicinal Torture~

  1. Thank you, I didn’t mean to laugh at your expense but I just couldn’t help myself. Honey, find a way and publish this in the hospital or something. This is excellent.

  2. Pingback: Discouragement~ « Paradoxology

  3. Pingback: Farewell to Arms |

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