Sunday, March 5, 2017
This Cheating Heart...
Well, some news truly is unexpected...
I went in on Friday to see the Dishy Cardiologist again. He's decided I should have a stress test (which is far more stressful to contemplate in advance than to actually go through, if my experience holds any water) accompanied by before-and-after echocardiograms. It's mostly good news - time for a new benchmark for my maximum exercise burn, as Kevin-My-Trainer would like me to start running (!). He believes that my usual stroll on the treadmill (while watching What's My Line?, which I can't recommend too highly - I'm almost through 1962 at the moment) is no longer doing the trick, and a quick glance at the blasted scale shows he's not far wrong. However, they'd also like a better look at the heart itself, as it would seemed to have developed a tiny eccentricity as to beat - which everyone involved immediately then says "is absolutely nothing to worry about," while looking thoughtful, which is not encouraging (I've presented the whole scenario to My Dear Sister, who is of course a physician, and she agrees without even looking thoughtful, which is encouraging, so I've decided not to fret excessively. We adopted a strict don't-bullshit-me policy at the time of the open heart surgery, which has stood me in good stead).
In any case, in I go for my echocardiogram and stress test on Friday and am assigned to a perfectly delightful technician named Florence. She's a game old girl, Florence, with a tidy white wash-and-set and a practiced air of bemusement. She sussed me out right away and chatted away about the doctor she previously worked for, in New Orleans, who apparently had a thriving sideline as a cabaret entertainer en travestie, which I suppose is sort of par for the course in that part of the world. I shall have to ask Peenee about it, as he's my go-to for all things scandalous and New Orleans related...
Well, she gets me all prepped and on the table, a mass of ECG wires and a great deal of the always freezing gel that accompanies ultrasound. She's working away with her little echocardio-wand, which is creating a fuzzy picture on the various screens in front of her (accompanied by a whooshing, ka-thump-thump soundtrack provided by the object under scrutiny). And after a bit, I notice she's both thoughtful (not encouraging) and even more bemused than when she started.
"Are you sure you're fully on your side?"
More wanding, more gel, more ka-thump-thump.
"Well," she says at least, "Here's the thing. I hate to say it, but I'm not going to be able to finish the test today."
"Oh?," says I, fearing the worst...
"Oh, it's nothing to worry about, nothing at all really, it's just that I can't good pictures of your heart because it's in sideways."
"Oh, you mean nobody told you? Yup, turned right around. When you're facing forward, it's looking right."
"Now, calm down. It happens. Sometimes when they put it all back together at the end of open-heart it just fits better that way."
"WHAT.... what - really?"
So it turns out it's true. I have a crooked heart, cut on the bias, as it were, and therefore am, it seems, a very poor candidate for a standard echocardiogram.
The upside was: no stress test for me, at least not that day. The downside, however, is it turns out that what I'll be getting instead is a nuclear stress test, which is just exactly as amusing as it sounds. You get all the fun of the echocardiograms and the treadmill-running, with the added joy of having them inject you with radioactive dyes and roll you through one of those large infernal machines that go "ping!" for additional imaging. I can't wait.
So that was the start to my weekend, and how's by you all?
I've recovered most of my equanimity (well, as much as I ever had) and have been, at least today, terribly domestic - laundry and all sorts of cooking for the week. There's a nice stroganoff burbling away on the stove, and in a few minutes I'll have to go fold the colored clothes. All the while, I keep trying not think too much of my heart, which while not in exile like at least one of those of the unfortunate homosexual (pronounced with as many syllables as possible) gentlemen above, at least returned from its brief trip outside with, as it were, a different angle on the world. I suppose we should all be so lucky...