Sunday, 16 December 2018
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I did something recently that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I can hear some of you smart alecks out there jumping in at this point, “What did you do? – Take a shower?”

“Did you finally stop plucking the gray out of your eyebrows?” “I bet he finally broke down and cleaned his closet and said goodbye to his tie dyed clothing”

No, no, no – it wasn’t anything as monumental or epic as getting rid of any of my “vintage clothing.” Please, let’s be serious!

Here’s what I did: I submitted myself to a cardiac treadmill test – again. In the spirit of wanting to live long enough to see BYU have a football team end a season in the top 20 and/or live long enough to see a grandchild graduate from high school, I felt like it needed to done. It had been quite a few years since the last one.

I don’t want to drag you through all my personal health history. Though, I don’t know why not. I pretty much spill everything about me here anyway – up to and including my experience with a colonoscopy some years ago. Oh, by the way, I had another encounter with that procedure quite recently as well. Just in case you’re wondering, in the end, everything was fine.

A big motivation for me to get my heart checked has to do with my family history. It isn’t all that cheerful. I sometimes tell people that I belong to an elite club. Out of five brothers in the family, I’m the only one who isn’t either deceased or had heart by-pass surgery.

To get the test ordered, I visited a respected Sanpete doctor whom I trust and admire. I have visited this doctor for quite a number of years, even though the underlying message from him to me seems to be, “We’re all going to die, so what do you want to live longer for?”

He has a deadpan (not bedpan) sense of humor, with the emphasis on “dead.” But I do like him and have the goal to outlive him.

When I had the treadmill test for the first time years ago, a friend told me that it would be the longest 15 minutes of my life. If he were to tell me that today, I would tell him that I don’t believe that’s true. The longest 15 minutes of my life so far would be related to either the passing of a kidney stone or listening to a guy from the high council talk in an LDS sacrament meeting.

My friend has his own reasons for his test being awful. He suffered from muscle cramps and thought he was going to die. (Wimp)

When I got to the hospital, the cardiac nurse sat me down and promptly commanded, “Take off your shirt!” It’s been a while since a youngish female has given me that instruction.

She seemed to be interested to know how hairy my chest was. Again, it’s been a while since that physical characteristic of me has been of interest to anyone. Of course, she wanted to get electrodes hooked up to me. (I do have some hair on my chest, but I’m not a cruise ship hairy chest contest winner like my brother is.)

When instructed, I hopped on the treadmill and started walking like it was a stroll in the park. It was “easy peasy” and I chatted with the treadmill technician guy. It was a “cupcake test” – no problem.

Of course, it wasn’t long before I remembered that they were there to stress me out. They increased the speed and incline of my walk – big time. About ten to fifteen minutes later, my heart rate was extremely high and I was sweating like a marching band tuba player on the 4th of July in Phoenix. They injected the radioactive material into my IV and then let me do a “cool down.”

Long story short, I survived the test and my heart seems to be fine for the time being. My oatmeal and lemon water diet might be helping. I don’t know.

Maybe walking the dog is a good thing too. Dr. “Deadpan” and my medical support team think I’ll live long enough to keep making payments to the health care system for a while. I tell people that my goal is to live forever. Then I say, “So far, so good.”

If you’ve been putting off some sort of medical visit, let this be a reminder for you. If it’s a colonoscopy you need to do, that’s easy. Drug induced naps are simple. You don’t have to think about what’s happening while you nap.

I tell people that having that particular procedure is evidence that lethal injections aren’t “cruel and unusual punishment.” I could have “woke up dead” and wouldn’t have known the difference.

If it’s a stress test for your heart that you need, it’s really not that bad either. And if you’re a guy, the chest shave is just an added bonus.


The Bark Box

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