There's nothing quite like being half-naked in front of strangers, I always say. Heck, some of the best parties I attended in my callow youth practically demanded partial nudity, and that was before the bonfires got going!
Today, however, there were no bonfires or mysterious substances being passed around on mirrors or in glass smoking apparati. No, there was only me, Marti the nurse, a treadmill, and an ultrasound. And oh yes, for a few moments there was a doctor.
--> Not my cartoon, I'm sorry to say.
When you're in spitting distance of 50 years old, and the tests that you're about to undergo require you to strip to the waist, attach several electrodes, don a paper jacket, and THEN walk on a treadmill until your eyeballs beat to the rhythm of your heart, after which (and, to be honest, BEFORE which), your boobular region is smeared with blue goo and a cold cold wand is pressed up into your ribs while you're asked to just 'not breathe for a minute,' there's practically nothing that hollers out 'take my photo and seethe with envy! for I am fierce and to be adored!,' now is there?
But, when one has had periods of crazy-heart, by which I mean freaking messed-up heartbeats, for a period of months, one does tend to mention that to one's doctor, who assumes a concerned attitude and begins to talk about such things as 'electrocardiogram' and 'stress test' and 'low-dose aspirin regimen, just in case.'
And so, for the past month, I've been silently freaking the f*ck out about what was going to happen today. Because of COURSE my occasional skipped hearbeats meant I'd had a heart attack, and was a walking time bomb for having 'the big one' that could at any moment drop me on the floor like a cartoon piano, all busted and useless. Naturally I was a candidate for keeling over suddenly and with all the grace of a newborn foal, because hey, I'm special and would only GET big events of LifeChangingProportion, right?
Turns out, after being poked and ultrasounded and staring at pictures of MY OWN HEART BEATING, and marveling at the mitral valve's cute lil' fluttery flapping, and then sweating out an 8-minute regimen of stress on the treadmill, which ENDED with a nice 3 minute walk at 3.2 miles per hour on a 14% incline, thankyouverymuch, and then more staring at my mightily beating heart while trying to hold my frelling breath so they could get a nice shot,
That heart in my chest? Is normal.
Skipped beats and thudly restarts are, it was communicated, perfectly normal. In fact, people who have skipped beats Every Other Heartbeat are commonly not medicated, as it's not dangerous, just 'very unsettling.' My puny 1 or 2 a day? Chicken feed. Or worse, mouse feed. Nothing to worry about.
Never mind that I could plainly see the skipped beats on the monitors, that I could see the proof of some wonky electrical work going on in there; the main fact is that overall I'm maintaining a good beat, with no disturbing prolongations of any of the major waves, dang ain't that mitral valve cute, and the ventricles are working harder on exertion than at rest (as it should be!), which pretty much means there ain't no clogging going on or other alarming things happening, so, normal.
Of course, the full report isn't coming out for a couple of days, so I can still hold out hope for some rare oddity to be inhabiting my chest, but you know what? Where the basics of my plumbing are concerned, I'm perfectly happy to be normal. All the oddness can happen in my mind, where it probably won't hurt anyone for a long long time. Me included.
And so today was good.
Hope yours was too. Tiff out.