Ransom Notes: Anytime is a good time for medical checkups

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They called it a “stress test,” and it lived up to its name even before they strapped all the electrodes to me. While Dr. Andrew Davis kept telling me that I should not be a quitter while I was on the treadmill, all I could think was that he s

They called it a “stress test,” and it lived up to its name even before they strapped all the electrodes to me. While Dr. Andrew Davis kept telling me that I should not be a quitter while I was on the treadmill, all I could think was that he should get his butt up on it if he thought it was so easy. But I realized that thinking about anything other than keeping my feet moving on the treadmill caused me to lose focus, so I concentrated.

I had experienced some soreness in my chest, and a little shortness of breath, so I mentioned it to my doctor. He didn’t hesitate. He said I should get in and have this stress test, to check and see if my heart was in good working condition.

I’m generally in good health, though I have Type II diabetes and “controlled” hypertension. I’m not overweight (some of my weight has just migrated to the wrong place). Heart disease would give me the Black Man’s Trifecta, so I try (yeah, I could do better) to be careful of what I eat. It isn’t my fault that some of my friends make the best cakes. Though I knew it was good for me, I still wasn’t looking forward to the test. I have been under some stress, and I’m not as young as I used to be, so I was expecting the worst.

The nurse put in the IV for the radioactive stuff they were going to shoot into my veins for the ten-minute x-ray, which was the real challenge.

I’m not real good at being in a confined place for any amount of time. I had to lie on this table while the x-ray revolved around me, to get all of the best angles to look at my heart. It took all of my will power to not get up and leave. I started concentrating on work I was missing while I was lying on my back, and it actually calmed me (yeah, that is strange).

That’s when that evil machine, the treadmill, borne of Mephistopheles himself, reared its ugly head. I told Dr. Davis that I enjoy walking, but I walk to get somewhere, not just to be walking. He told me that the treadmill would help him to see how my heart reacts to physical stress. I walked for nearly 12 minutes, at increasing speeds, and at increasing levels of elevation. Near the end, I was nearly running uphill and had to hold tight to the handles of the treadmill to stay on my feet. Throughout, the nurse would take my blood pressure and holler out some insane number, as if the pounding in my chest wasn’t indication enough that my heart was getting a workout.

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