October 04, 2012


It is raining; it is dark; and I'm traveling to the Dyersburg Regional Medical Center, for a 6:30 a.m. appointment, to have the dreaded stress test, aka Lexiscan. There are absolutely no street lights on Rte. 51 between the Ripley and Dyersburg city limits. NONE.  I never noticed. Maybe because I'm not out and about after dark. This is definitely a hazard.  I used to joke, while making the Brownsville run, that someone could go over the side of the road and not be found for days.  No joke, it has happened, most recently over the Labor Day weekend.

Anyway, I'm going to be early. Well, early for me. Up to the admissions window to check in.  Well, where is the cheeky little miss that was here before?  I never did write that letter on her.  Is it too late? Address, phone number, contacts, all the same.  No changes.  Do I want a member of the clergy notified?  WHAT?  I'm here for a test...let's hope I don't need the clergy.  But, in case I do, get the first one you can find...their denomination is the least of my concerns.

Off to radiology.  Lord, I've been stressed over these tests all weekend. The news that I'm having not one (as I was told) but four--I thought they didn't do the Lexiscan and echocardiogram on the same day--and that the cost of the tests will be over $12,000, with me liable for $2,000-plus, after insurance, add to the weight.  $2K that they wanted right then and there, I might add. Good grief! We can just skip to the me...I am terribly stressed.

"Dr. Shriv prefers the drug-induced stress test. We're going to set you up for the exams.  We need to get the intravenous hook up." Visions of  tubes, the rolling hookup, machines, instantly jump into my head. Is there a problem with the old-fashioned tread mill test? Wait a minute, hold on, not so fast. "You're being very good at trying to put me at ease but I have questions. What are the adverse effects of this test? What if something goes wrong?  Do you have what is needed to correct it?" 'Cause Sistah Girl is scared. "Don't worry about a thing." R I G H T!

No rolling hookup. A little tube is inserted into a vein; blood drawn; and off to the next test. This room holds something resembling an MRI machine but is the camera to take pictures of the heart.  "Lay perfectly still with your arms over your head.  The camera starts on the right side and rotates to the left. It'll be about 15 minutes before it is completed."  I can do this. Fifteen minutes later I'm trundled off to the waiting room where I entered into my political discussion of the day.

Called for the dreaded "stress test." I don't care what they told me about this test, I looked it up on the internet, talked to my brother who had it, and I am still scared spitless. The treadmill is the first thing I see.  Tell me again why this is a non-option?  Up on the table.  In walks the doctor drinking something.  "Excuse me...but I haven't had anything to eat or drink and you walk in here drinking something?" Laughs all around.  "We'll get you something right after the test.  As a matter of fact, it'll help clear up the medicine faster." 

Talking and huffing.  I'd been told by my brother that the test gives a blinding headache.  No headache. The nurse also listed off a series of symptoms others encountered: headaches; flush; pressure, nausea, etc.  Pressure?  Pressure in my chest?  Nooo, my pressure was in the lower region.  Good grief, please do not embarrass me on this table! And I know why they were nauseated.  An ammonia-like gas is filling up my mouth. Where is that coming from? Thank God, the huffing and gases went away within minutes, as promised.

Off the table, down the hall, around the corner. Oh, goody! Graham crackers and coffee.  I'll take it. Now for the ultrasound. That gel is cold as hell. Slosh, slosh, slosh.  A washing machine?  No, it's my heart doing its impression of a washing machine. Sounded just like one. Clean up and off to the last test.  Back to the room with the camera. "Hold perfectly still." Do I have a choice? Make a move and fall off the narrow table.  Wonder how they handle those who are a "double-wide"?

The tests are completed and I'm free to go. Thank goodness that my busy schedule was free that morning. I had promised myself breakfast at Perkins as a treat but since I'd been given the coffee and crackers, I considered fixing breakfast at home. Abby had other plans.  As I came to the exit for Perkins, she turned right into the parking lot and shut down.  The pancakes were excellent.

Be Safe. Be Blessed.

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