Lions and tigers and plaque around my heart - oh, my! | Street Jazz

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lions and tigers and plaque around my heart - oh, my!

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Well, I finally gave in some time back and agreed to Tracy’s requests that I go in for some carotid ultrasound testing , and and a Cardiac CT now that I have reached a certain age (what a strange turn of phrase - it could describe anything from getting Social Security to joining the Boy Scouts!) and see if the internal motors are working as well as they should be.

For those in the audience who may be unaware, an ultrasound examination of the carotid artery of the neck can improve identification of any potential heart problems.

So I go in. Naturally, you can’t eat or drink after midnight before the tests, just to make sure you make you enjoy them all that much more.

My ultrasound was pretty routine. I did ask, “So, how am I?

“Everything looks pretty good,” a lab tech replied.

“That’s not going to help me out much with the hHpochondriacs Club,”I said. They were kind enough to laugh.

The second test was a lot more fun.

The Cardiac CT involves putting one into a CT scanner, which many of us are familiar with, either through reality or television. Pictures are taken of each part of your heart, and later a computer will put a 3-D picture of the whole deal together.

The really fun part involves the special dye, which is involved called “contrast,” which goes into your veins. This helps create a clearer image. It also has an amazing side effect.

The lab tech will warn you about the (very brief) slightly bitter taste in your mouth and warm, tingly feeling in your body as it travels downwards - even into your loins. But I wasn’t warned for just how incredible the feeling was when it got to my loins.

For one, horrific, second, I was afraid that I had lost control of my bladder, and they would find a wet table when they pulled me out of the machine. But then, just like that, the feeling was gone.

Still, I checked when I left the room.

So all is well for several weeks after I leave the doctor’s office. I figure I I’ll get the results when I visit my doctor next. Ah, but no, rumpled reader, guess again.

I get a call from a heart specialist at the hospital telling me that my doctor has made an appointment for me. My imagination working overtime, I meet the doctor.

Not too much to worry about, he tells me. A little plaque around the heart. Still, for someone who walks as much I do, and tries to eat right, this kind of sucks.

He puts me on the ______ Aspirin Regimen (no, it really doesn’t have to Bayer, though it does need to be real aspirin) and sets me up for something called a “:stress test.”

“What’s that?” I asked. “Where a bunch of people stand around and yell at me?”

No, it isn’t, he explained patiently, as if speaking to a humorous yet slightly backward child. Walking. Huh? Okay.

And yet another test where I can’t eat or drink after midnight. What is the medical establishment trying to do to me, anyway?


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I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America . . . The majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them. - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

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