'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
HEART TESTS, PART 2
Last week I mentioned that I’ve been having some weird sensations in my chest, with bouts of rapid heartbeat and periodic weakness. My doctor ordered a nuclear stress test. (Just hearing that ominous phrase, “nuclear stress test,” made my heart flutter and feel weak.)
During the test, they injected radioactive isotopes into my veins, made me run on a treadmill until I was huffing and puffing, and then took images of my heart to see if the blood was flowing properly.
I survived the test OK, but afterward I began to climb up the sides of tall buildings and shoot spider webs out of my wrists. (Oh wait, that wasn’t me. That was how Peter Parker reacted after being exposed to radiation.)
After having the stress test, they gave me a little card explaining that I had just undergone a “nuclear medicine” procedure. I laughed and said, “What’s this, my ‘Get out of jail free’ card?”
The technician replied, “More like your ‘Get out of Guantanamo free’ card. If you set off one of the State Police radiation detectors, and they call Homeland Security, you do NOT want to be without this card. Understand?”
I said, “Set off a detector! Ha ha, that’s a good one.” He looked at me with a scowl and said, “I’m not kidding, pal.”
“Oh,” I whispered. My heart fluttered and felt weak yet again.
I had to wait two full days for the doctor to analyze the results and let me know if my heart had a serious problem. During that time I tried not to let my mind wander, but unfortunately I am a gifted mind-wanderer. Just ask the folks who attend business meetings with me. “So Bill,” someone will ask, “What do you think about this new marketing strategy?” I’ll look up, startled, and say, “Oh, did you ever notice there are no left-handed catchers in baseball?”
Anyway, I tried not to let my mind wander too much and become pessimistic during those two days. But I did catch myself spending more time than usual perusing the obituaries in the morning newspaper (“Wow, today there are TWO guys younger than me!”), and offering comments to my wife such as, “You’re still pretty enough to find another husband,” and, “Let me tell you which songs I want at my funeral.” (To which my wife said, “If you make one more dopey statement like that, you’re gonna need a funeral!”)
When I finally talked to the doctor about the test results, he said in a somber voice, “Inside one of your heart arteries we found a chunk of glazed cruller.”
“What?!” I yelled. He smiled and said, “No, just kidding. Your wife told me to say that.”
Turns out there was nothing wrong with my heart, thank God, even though the glazed cruller thing was quite believable. Then we tried to figure out what might be going on. “Are you under a lot of stress?” the doctor asked. “Yes, of course,” I replied. “That’s the American Way, isn’t it?”
“Do you drink too much coffee?” he asked. “Only every day,” I proudly answered.
So my episodes of chest discomfort might be a caffeine/stress/worry/lack-of-sleep situation. The doctor suggested a few lifestyle adjustments. We’ll see if that produces some positive results.
When my meeting with the doctor was done, he said to me, “OK, so what do you think about this plan?”
I looked up, startled, and said, “Oh, did you ever notice there are no left-handed shortstops in baseball?”
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