Friday, 13 July 2007

UNDER STRESS

I would never - that is NEVER - go bungee-jumping, skydiving or rock-climbing. But yesterday, courtesy of the NHS, I had a stress echocardiogram to check out my heart that was probably the equivalent to doing all three in quick succession.


This involves being hooked up to machines that monitor your blood pressure and heart rate while a drug called dobutamine is pumped into your arm via an intravenous drip. As the dosage increases so does the heart beat until it is racing and jumping about in your chest like something out of a Warner Brothers cartoon.

Then, once it is going like the clappers and you are fighting for breath and drenched in sweat and your mouth is dry and your focus is going and your head is spinning, the doctor begins ramming a scanner against your rib cage until - from the pain - you are convinced that you now have at least one broken rib, possibly more. This then goes on doing for the longest 15 minutes in the world...

Just before they begin this torture the team reassuring advise you that only one in 10,000 people suffer cardiac arrest during the test. Too late, you realise that you forgot to ask how near they are to having carried out 10,000 of these tests!

Well it was an experience - probably rather like having a sustained orgasm in middle of a 7.9 earthquake. Frankly, if I had a choice - knowing what I now know - I think I'd opt for the bungee-jump and see whether my heart was still beating when I reached the end of the elastic...

12 comments:

Good Dog said...

Obviously you weren't one of the one in 10,000 - which is good - but was the result okay? Or do you have to wait an age until they tell you?

Brian Sibley said...

My next appointmnt at the cardiac unit -- sorry, 'suite'!! -- is 28 November... But I assume they tell you a tad sooner if there's anything amiss. Let's hope so... :-)

Boll Weavil said...

I'm sure lots of people have words of help and advice at this time but I'm going to throw more in anyway. On balance, I'd definately for for the orgasm in the earthquake. The thing that worries me about the climbing and bungee-jumping option is what would happen if the ropes got messed up and you ended up falling off a rock face and then bouncing up and down indefinately. I'm sure it wouldn't dso your heart any good.

Suzanne said...

I have a question about this procedure... What happens if you turn out to be the "one in 10,000"??? I bet you don't even get your money back!

jen said...

You have been through the mill but still blogging.
Thank heavens.
I hope you have some treats in store now,like a holiday.As you know I was in a 5.4 earthquake in Greece 2weeks ago.It wasn't the least bit orgasmic but certainly cures constipation pronto!
The Matterhorn ride at LA Disneyland left my innards in Pluto's dogbowl on the vertical drop so, just prefer the orgasm on its own thank you very much!

Andy J. Latham said...

I think I see the head...!

As for a holiday, what would we all do if you stopped blogging for a fortnight? That would just be so unthoughtful!

Just kidding! Hope you're doing ok and have recovered from your ordeal.

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Visit Andy's Animation!

Brian Sibley said...

BOLL - It's OK, I'm NOT going bungee-jumping; for one thing they don't make elastic that strong!

SUZANNE - No money back but an NHS subsidised funeral!

JEN - Funnily enough, the Disneyland Matterhorn is the ONLY rollercoaster-type ride (hardly 'white knuckle' stuff) that I've ever enjoyed. Just don't ever do what I did once: eat a chocolate brownie and ice-cream before getting on board...

ANDY - Actually, it's TWINS!!

Brian Sibley said...

GILL writes...

"Poor you, how horrid! Though the orgasm bit doesn't sound too bad, is it guaranteed?

"Fingers crossed for good results."

Brian Sibley said...

GILL - "Guaranteed?" No, only 1 in 10,000 people ever REALLY experience it - provided they don't go into cardiac arrest! ;-)

Laurie Mann said...

Weird, I had a similar test this week (I'm going in for surgery shortly), but it was different. The stress test in the US is still done on a treadmill. While I had to walk very fast (and uphill) for the last two minutes, I was only hyperventilating a little when it was all over.

Actually, the worst part of the whole test was the blood pressure cuff - they kept using the wrong size!

After a morning of tests, I went to see Sicko, where Michael Moore said pretty nice things about the NHS. But now...well, after reading about the way your test went, I'm beginning to wonder!

Brian Sibley said...

LAURIE - The treadmill test is slightly different, the drug is used because the ultrasound scan has to applied while your heart is beating fast. Unlike the treadmill, you can't just stop if it gets too much because the drug is in your system and remains there for 15-30 minutes after the drip is removed.

The doctors and nurses who carried out the tests looked after me perfectly and did their best to be reassuring and calming but it was still scary and exhausting...

Jen said...

white knuckle enough for a wuss like me!