Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Fruit Basket Turnover -- the MixMaster's Cut

1 -- The full-time position came through for me. I "officially" start Saturday, because that's when the new pay period starts. Paperwork underway, to be turned in tomorrow morning. I have about 12 hours to make all those important and irrevocable decisions about retirement, insurance, etc. Schedule uncertain at this time. I hope to get that worked out tomorrow, as well. I'll have to work a transition schedule, working some at each campus, for a couple of weeks. Yee-haw.

2 -- Surgery is still on for Friday morning. Today's schedule included a cardiac stress test this morning (more on this below), a visit to the ENT doctor's office to do paperwork, and a return engagement at the hospital to pre-register and do all the pre-op sh--ummm stuff. I was 20 minutes late getting to work, but by God it's all done!

I'm even nuttier than ever these days, which is saying something. All I need now is for a giant squirrel to come along looking for supper. That would be my life exemplified.

As promised, the low-down on stress tests for those who have managed to avoid one so far:

8 am -- arrive at hospital, directed to Cardio, directed from there to Nuclear Medicine in Radiology.

8:20 am -- IV line inserted into hand. Pumped full of radioactive thallium. Um, hello? Thallium? Heavy metal? and radioactive, too? My first suspicions about my doctor's ulterior motives begin to stir.

8:45 am -- go under the scanner for 18 and one-half minutes of "stretch your arms above your head, hold very still, and try not to breathe too much" while machine eyes examine my chest from every possible angle except from inside.

9:05 am -- cuss, bitch, and moan at the pain in my back and the cramps in my shoulders as I trudge back to Cardio. Suspicion deepens.

9:10 am - 9:50 am -- sit.

9:50 am -- go into Cardio, have random patches shaved onto my chest and electrode patches stuck all over. 12 + 2 for good measure. "We might need them later." For what? Consider bolting for the door.

10 am -- go into treadmill room. Electrodes attached to the 12 leads, leaving the 2 extras empty. Enquiring minds want to know. Technician unwilling to impart arcane knowledge to the uninitiated.

10:10 am -- Doctor arrives. I am informed that I will walk on the treadmill until my heart rate reaches 145. 145? Alarms blare, militia mobilizes, Special Forces deploy.

10:20 am -- final confirmation. My doctor is trying to kill me. Damned near succeeding, too. I made it 10 minutes, 2 seconds. For the last 3 minutes, I was running uphill. Collapse into a puddle of desperately gasping sweat on an examining table. Doctor cheerfully informs me I am fine, and oh-by-the-way I want to do an echocardiogram next Wednesday. I would have killed him then, but I was unable to make conscious movements. Maybe next week.

11:00 am -- back to Radiology. Gurneys and wheelchairs (occupied, of course) are lined up down the hall. Business as usual. Sit.

11:25 am -- back into Nuclear Medicine to spend more quality time under the Scanner-On-Steroids. 12 and one-half minutes this time.

11:40 am -- run, don't walk to car and make high-speed escape.

Stress tests are grossly misnamed. They should be called Test-To-Destruction Tests, or Just-How-Much-Can-One-Person-Take Tests. No visit to the gym tonight.


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