I know, I know, I haven’t written in a long time. Life has seriously gotten in the way of many things that I enjoy. Here I am though, writing like nothing has happened because hey… blogosphere.
Many moons ago I wrote a piece about getting checked out by a doctor on a regular basis. Keeping to my word I went to get checked out. Difference was, I was going to do a Cardiogram. I have been on a steady decline in strength and stamina lately and I have been getting fatter (Love you advancing years!). I didn’t like it, mostly the losing strength and stamina.. With those two I can be fat and still feel confidence, without it… Well off I went to the doc to get everything checked out. I mentioned shortness of breath, some nausea in the AM, a drop in strength and that I wanted to get back to the gym but needed to get checked out first. They ruled out pregnancy right away which is a relief but they got a nuclear cardiogram scheduled for me to do a stress test on my heart.
Radio/Nuclear cardiograms are an interesting experience. I have done echo cardiograms before and they are really easy, take off your shirt, get some stuff stuck on your chest, run on a treadmill and then they use a sonogram to check your heart. With radio tests, a lovely nurse comes in and sticks a radiation detector on herself… not me. Then sets up an IV. She comes back with a lead box.. and in that lead box was a lead covered syringe, filled with (holy crap the cliche is real) a greenish goo. They injected me the potentially comic hero making material, followed up by a saline chaser and I was to sit and chill for 20 minutes. Then I was taken into a room and told to lie in a medical device that was straight out of anime that checked my heart at rest. I was lying on a thin board while a detector scrolled around me in a circle, it was kind of trippy.
After they got the baseline, they put me on the treadmill. After almost 10 minutes of treadmill walking on an incline, and having some wires strapped to me they got my heart rate up to 170 BPM. I keep walking for about 5 more minutes as they inject more green goo in me. I go back into the vortex machine and they scan for zombie blood ahem… I mean they scan the blood flow to my heart. The very nice lady with the needles took out the IV and let me go. As I was walking out, she asked me if I was flying, I said yes (because I am always flying) and she gave me a doctors note. “You are radioactive, you might set off an alarm through security.” she said.
A day later as I am driving down the 280 from SFO to Cupertino, I get the call. “You have something very irregular happening with you heart. We are scheduling an appointment with a cardiologist for you.” I asked for Dr. Brown, he worked on my dad when he had his bypass surgery and he is still going along. I hung up the phone and contemplated what was ahead of me as I twisted through the roads of the 280. The drive is very therapeutic for me and I would have been in far worse shape if I was somewhere else when I got the news. I pulled into the office and tucked away the thought as I met with our advisors, did some work and prepped for the dinner that night as the opening ceremony for my meeting with Apple.
Fast forward a week, I meet my dad at Mid-West heart. After getting vitals, X-rays and some blood samples, I finally meet with Doc Brown. He didn’t show up in a flying Delorean, so that was a disappointment. The second disappointment is that he saw a minor blockage and needed that checked out. I have an angiogram scheduled for Monday, if you don’t know what it is, essentially they snake a catheter through one of my major arteries in my leg up to my heart, they use that to check my heart and look for more blockages up close. I have a low chance of issues but I was told one of the side effects is death. Having a hard time shaking that one.
I will update after the procedure.. well not right after but once I am no longer unconscious or at least doped up. The take away from this, other than the severe disappointment that I did not Hulk out or obtain any cool powers from the radiation injected into my blood, is that this is about prevention. Provided the worst doesn’t happen from this procedure, I am literally getting a 20 year head start on my dad in the heart department. When my dad was 56 and first really having his heart looked at, he was getting his chest cranked open for bypass surgery shortly after. If I get a green light and all clear from the doctor, my race is just starting. I will not only have the green light but I will be armed with one of the best Cardiologists in the country watching my vitals as I move away from the high heart risk behaviors. I need to be swimming away from the pie, as Patton once said.
I will see you all on the flip side… ohh yeah, husbands.. go to the damn doctor and get checked out!
About the Author: Tom is a director of IT for a financial start-up. He spends his days designing infrastructure and supporting high net worth advisers and their clients. Traveling much for work affords him a great perspective on life and what is important. The high travel has ensured that he goes on a lot of first and second dates. Mel Brooks honed his humor. Johnny Carson, Cee-lo, and Groucho Marx are some of his inspirations.